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South Korea gives refuge to Ugandan lesbian at mortal risk if she returns home

South Korea gives refuge to Ugandan lesbian at mortal risk if she returns home

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni is notoriously homophobic (Photo: Facebook)

A Ugandan lesbian at risk of persecution in her home country can stay in South Korea, a court ruled this week.

The Seoul High Court overturned a Supreme Court ruling and said her life had been threatened since her sexuality had become known, according to local media.

Uganda is one of the worst places to be gay in the world. In 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni introduced a law punishing same-sex activity with up to life imprisonment.

‘Should she return to Uganda, there are risks that she may be persecuted by homophobic people or the Ugandan government,’ the judge said in his verdict, according to the Korea Herald.

The Ugandan woman entered Korea in early 2014. She was reportedly arrested by police in Uganda for being a lesbian, released on bail and fled to Korea.

She applied for refugee status later that year, claiming her life was at risk from the Ugandan government or other people if she were to return to her native country.

Her application was originally denied and has been going through the courts since then.

Discrimination in South Korea

South Korea is not known for welcoming refugees. This week, South Korea denied refugee status to hundreds of Yemeni asylum seekers who had fled their war-torn country.

They had arrived in Jeju as the tourist island does not require visas. Their presence sparked a public outcry.

South Korea’s justice ministry allowed nearly 400 to stay on humanitarian visas for a year, denied visas to 34, and delayed judgement on 85 cases.

South Korea has also displayed intolerance to the LGBTI community in recent weeks. Pride events in Jeju, Incheon, and Busan were all disrupted to varying degrees by conservative Christian protesters.

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