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Germany tells asylum seekers Uganda is a safe place to be gay

Local authorities in Munich refused refugees asylum because 'Uganda's government does enough to protect gays'

Germany tells asylum seekers Uganda is a safe place to be gay

German local authorities refused two gay refugees asylum because they consider Uganda a safe place to live for LGBTI people.

Kyabangi and Sekulima (their last names have been omitted for their safety) fled Uganda because they were threatened and fell victim to homophobic attacks.

They met in a detention centre in Munich in 2011 and became close friends, and are now fighting together to stay safe.

Speaking to German newspaper Abendzeitung München, Kyabangi said when she was 15 noticed she liked girls better than boys but kept it secret for years. She went away to Kampala when she was older, fell in love for the first time, but then her girlfriend was shot in the street.

She says she went home to her village, and came out to her mom who accepted her. But then the villagers tried to push her into marrying, so she went back to Kampala.

Working in a kiosk and had found a new girlfriend, her neighbors found out and plastered Kyabangi’s face all over the quarter.

Her kiosk was burned down and she was chucked out of her flat. Thankfully, a church helped her out with a passport and money so she could flee the country.

Sekulima was an aspiring manager when he lost his job because his boss found out that he is gay.

He has been attacked multiple times – on one occasion two men beat him up because they thought he would turn their brother, whom he was just friends with, gay.

The second time a group of teenagers stabbed him and told him ‘piss off’.

‘Stuff like that happens all the time in Uganda,’ Sekulima told the newspaper, ‘Every day.’

In 2013 the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni passed a bill arranging for homosexual people to be punished with lifetime prison sentences. It also binds citizens to report homosexuals to the police.

This was repealed but the government is pushing for a new bill that will punish LGBTI people in the same way.

The German authorities have refused Kyabangi’s and Sekulima’s applications for asylum – the reason being that apparently Uganda’s government does enough for the protection of homosexual citizens.

‘Gay friends were accepted as persecuted refugees in Finland and the Netherlands. When German politicians visit Uganda they condemn the discrimination,’ Sekulima said. ‘But they tell us there is no problem.

‘I don’t want to live like an animal any longer. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’d rather die.’

Lawyers are fighting the refusal, in the hope that asylum will be granted.

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