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UK called on to grant asylum to 200 Uganda gays outed by newspaper

James Dornan MSP has called on the Ugandan High Commissioner in the UK to hold equality talks during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
James Dornan MSP has called on the UK to help the 200 Ugandan gays outed by a newspaper.
Photo via James Dornan MSP's official website.

The UK is being called on to offer asylum to the 200 Ugandan gay people outed by a tabloid newspaper.

James Dornan, a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), has written a letter to the Scotland’s Minister for External Affairs asking him to make it clear that asylum should be offered to anyone ‘living in fear of their life simply because of their sexual or gender identity’.

The Red Pepper splashed 200 names and faces on Tuesday (25 February), sparking fears of mob violence.

The MSP, who visited Uganda in 2012, described the law enacted this week as a ‘depressing step backwards’ for what he calls a ‘breath-taking country’.

He writes: ‘In your role as Minister for External Affairs I would ask that you make representations to Her Majesty’s Government and urge them to offer asylum to those 200 men and women who have had their identity splashed across a tabloid newspaper.

‘Further, I would ask you to push the UK Government to make it clear that asylum will be offered to anyone who is living in fear of their life simply because of their sexual or gender identity, and make clear that Scotland stands ready to welcome them.’

Dornan has also written a letter to the Uganda High Commissioner Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, calling for equality talks when Glasgow hosts the 2014 Commonwealth Games later this year.

‘I deeply regret that the passing of this bill takes Uganda a step backwards. LGBT Ugandans have spoken out about the fear that they constantly live under, and how the passing of this bill into law will only make their lives worse.

‘This is not the Uganda that I recognize from my visit a couple of years ago,’ he says.

‘The spirit of the games is one of solidarity, companionship and cooporation and it is in that spirit that I would invite you to meet with me and representatives of Scotland’s LGBT community to discuss our experience of extending equal rights to gay people during your visit to Glasgow.

‘I offer this invitation not to seek to lecture Uganda on their affairs, but instead to share our experience and what it has meant for Scotland’s people.

The new law in Uganda punishes homosexuality with up to life in prison for ‘repeat offenders’.

When contacted by Gay Star News following the passing of the bill in December 2013, the UK Department for International said they would not consider giving Uganda any aid.

After allegations of embezzlement in the prime minister’s office, the UK said they would drop donations until Uganda could prove the money was going towards helping people out of poverty.

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