Target: The UK Home Office, Home Secretary Theresa May, Prime Minister David Cameron
Goal: Offer asylum to Ugandan lesbian refugee and mother Aidah Asaba
Aidah Asaba, who is 27, came to the United Kingdom in October 2013 seeking asylum. Uganda had recently passed its now infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill that criminalizes same-sex relationships and any public depiction of gay or lesbian lifestyles. Furthermore, Asaba’s family frequently beat, tortured, and attacked her after learning that she was a lesbian. At one point, she was locked in a room with her father as he punched her repeatedly. Asaba shared her story and told that even after escaping her abusive family, she was targeted by community leaders for ‘spreading’ homosexuality and being a supposed threat to other Ugandan women. Asaba could not go to police and had no legal protection against her family or other community members, because to seek help would mean to reveal her identity as a lesbian woman.
Asaba’s family forced her to marry a man. During her arranged marriage she endured rape and physical violence repeatedly, later forced to have her rapist’s child.
When Asaba finally escaped Uganda in 2013, she was forced to leave her four-year-old daughter behind. As part of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, her family was required to inform the police about her fleeing the country for reasons regarding her sexuality. If she returns to Uganda, she could be prosecuted for her violations of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Despite her hardships and the real threat posed to her life if she is deported, the UK placed Asaba in an asylum detention center in January 2014. The UK is now denying her request for asylum partly on the basis that Asaba did not regularly go to gay clubs. They found her claim to be a lesbian inconclusive and the UK Home Office has fast-tracked her deportation, denying Asaba the time she needs to prove her sexuality and her need for asylum. Both Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Africa Out and Proud Diamond Group have backed Asaba’s story and corroborate her story.
“I fear for my life if they will take me back to Uganda, my life has become worthless,” she is quoted as saying. “I wish I wasn’t born, it is too much for me to bear. I cannot believe I am going to meet my death in Uganda because of my sexuality… I am only praying for a miracle to happen such that I can live my life without fear of being persecuted or killed because of my sexuality. Please I beg the UK Government to help me.”
Sign the petition below to urge the the UK to halt the deportation of Aidah Asaba.
Dear Prime Minister David Cameron,
Ugandan refugee Aidah Asaba faces violence and intimidation in her native country for who she is. Britain can offer her refuge from this life of ongoing brutality. Her life depends on your decision to offer her asylum.
We urge you to halt Asaba’s deportation and allow her time to find credible evidence of her identity as a lesbian and as a victim of ongoing homophobic violence in Uganda. She is supported by two recognized human rights groups and the main argument against granting her asylum is that she has not behaved ‘gay enough.’
To return Asaba to Uganda is to ensure continued violence and legal action against her simply for her sexuality. We find this inconsistent with the goals of the United Kingdom as a humanitarian state that has previously offered asylum to Ugandan gay, lesbian, and transgendered refugees. Please, halt the deportation of Aidah Asaba and allow her to build her case for asylum further.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VOA via Wikimedia Commons