Guatemalan trans activist saved from deportation at the last hour

Fernanda Milan gains last minute reprieve from being sent back to Guatemala, where her life was in danger

Guatemalan trans activist saved from deportation at the last hour
20 September 2012

At the last hour Danish authorities have put on hold a Guatamalan transwoman’s deportation that activists say would have put her life in danger. 

Fernanda Milan was due to leave Denmark last Monday (17 September) and it wasn’t until the afternoon of that day that she heard that the Refugee Board had decided to reopen her case.

‘When the Refugee Board chooses to reopen the case, it shows that we were right,’ said Stine Larsen from the T-Refugee Project, a group of activists fighting for Milan to remain in Denmark. ‘We know that Fernanda is in danger in Guatemala because she is transgender and a human rights activist.’

Milan came to Denmark after she was attacked and threatened by police in Guatemala because she is trans.

On arrival in Denmark Milan was placed in a male detention center and raped by ‘many’ men. She ended up working in a brothel, where she was rescued by anti-human trafficking organization Reden International, who have housed her in a women’s center since February 2011.

Following the news that Milan was due to be deported back to Guatemala, protests were held in London and Denmark earlier this month.

Now, T-Refugee Project and Milan are working on convincing the Danish authorities that her case for political asylum in genuine.

‘This is half the battle,’ Milan said. ‘We have proven that it works to fight for justice. We are only halfway, but the resumption gives me strength to fight for my life again.’

In a video for the Save Fernanda Milan campaign, she said:

‘As far as being a transgender person in Guatemala is probably the most dangerous. Being an activist is double dangerous because of the media attention comes into you so that makes you a target and more vulnerable to attacks and extra-judicial execution and discrimination.’ 

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