LGBT campaign organization AllOut has launched a petition begging Britain not to send a Nigerian nurse, Olalekan M Ayelokun, back home where his life will be at risk.
As Gay Star News reported, The UK Border Agency (UKBA) attempted to deport Ayelokun, a gay asylum seeker, to Nigeria on Tuesday (2 October) where it’s illegal to be gay.
According to unconfirmed reports the UKBA hired a private plane to send him back, costing tax payers tens of thousands of pounds.
Nigeria jails people for up 14 years in prison for just being gay, while in some parts of the country, punishment includes death by stoning. Violence from the community against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is also common.
Alerted by GSN, AllOut, an LGBT rights group specializing in online petitions, has launched a campaign to demand the UK Home Officer minister, Theresa May, stop the deportation.
Ayelokun, a student nurse, faced persecution and even death threats for being gay, hoping to find safety in the UK.
He had his friends and lovers testify – a member of the British civil service even took the stand to affirm that he is gay. The judge still wasn’t convinced, and now as soon as it’s scheduled, the UK authorities are determined to put him on a flight straight to Nigeria with just the clothes on his back.
This is despite a pledge given in 2010 by the British Prime Minister David Cameron stating ‘those Africans seeking asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and at real risk of persecution in their home countries should be allowed to stay in the UK’.
AllOut’s campaign isn’t just about Ayelokun, he is one of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender African asylum seekers who fled to the UK.
AllOut is asking people to tell the UK Home Secretary May not to gamble with people’s lives based on the whims of a homophobic or transphobic judge, when very simple guidelines would ensure fair treatment for all.
Another asylum seeker being higlighted is Freda Nsumba, whose case was also raised by GSN.
Freda Nsumba from Uganda was beaten, forced to walk on her knees until they bled then force-fed goats’ blood as part of exorcism ritual because she was outed as a lesbian. She fled to Britain and asked for sanctuary but the UK authorities want her deported as soon as possible.
Tomorrow the UKBA is adamant that Frank Zalwango is going to be deported on a plane back to Uganda, a country she fled from because her family and community wanted her dead for being a lesbian.
Like in Ayelokun case, several witnesses including Zalwango’s partner testified to having sex with her, yet she was still refused on the grounds the judge did not ‘believe’ she was a lesbian.
She is due to be deported tomorrow back to Uganda.
These are just two of many African lesbians who escaped abuse, rape, torture and violence in their home countries. In many cases the judges simply refuse to believe the applicants were gay ordering them to be deported back into extreme danger.
Omar Kuddus, chair of GayAsulumUk who is helping many of these cases told GayStarNews: ‘there is no way that Frank has been given the opportunity for a fair hearing.’
They were hoping to find a safe haven in the UK only to be locked up in Yarls Wood detention centre while they wait deportation back to the country from which they tried so hard to escape.
A demonstration will be held today at 2.30pm (4 October) in front of the Home Office HQ, Marsham Street, London to demand a halt to the UK policy of deportation and detention of these women and many others who face a similar threat by the UK authorities.
The protest is being organized in conjuction with Movement for Justice.