A gay Ugandan-born asylum seeker is facing deportation to his place of birth, where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Abbey Kyeyune, who has been living in the Manchester since 2014, told The Independent Home Office officials decided he had failed to sufficiently “prove” his sexuality.
He fled Uganda after his family members discovered that he was having a relationship with another man, and became physically violent towards him.
After leaving Uganda, Mr Kyeyune was told that the Ugandan authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. He also discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested and detained because of his sexuality.
Mr Kyeyune is being detained at Campsfield House, and is due to be deported on a flight to Uganda on Monday.
He said he could not return to his family, and had no other friends that he could stay with in his native Kampala.
I can’t go back home, because my family will kill me”, Mr Kyeyune said. “I have been very happy in Manchester. I have many friends there, and I have been going to church a lot.”
LGBT rights across the globe
LGBT rights across the globe
Russia’s antipathy towards homosexuality has been well established following the efforts of human rights campaigners. However, while it is legal to be homosexual, LGBT couples are offered no protections from discrimination. They are also actively discriminated against by a 2013 law criminalising LGBT “propaganda” allowing the arrest of numerous Russian LGBT activists. (Picture: Riot police hold an LGBT activist during a Moscow rall.)
Men who are found having sex with other men face stoning, while lesbians can be imprisoned, under Sharia law. However, the state has not reportedly executed anyone for this ‘crime’ since 1987. (Picture: Chinguetti Mosque, Mauritania.)
3/7 Saudi Arabia
Homosexuality and transgender is illegal and punishable by the death penalty, imprisonment, corporal punishment, whipping and chemical castration. (Picture: The emblem of Saudi Arabia above the embassy in London.)
Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
The official position within the country is that there are no gays. LGBT inviduals, if discovered by the government, are likely to face intense pressure. Punishments range from flogging to the death penalty. (Picture: Yemen's southern port of Aden.)
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal and in some northern states punishable with death by stoning. This is not a policy enacted across the entire country, although there is a prevalent anti-LGBT agenda pushed by the government. In 2007 a Pew survey established that 97 per cent of the population felt that homosexuality should not be accepted. It is publishable by 14 years in prison. (Picture: The northern Nigerian town of Damasak.)
Homosexuality was established as a crime in 1888 and under new Somali Penal Code established in 1973 homosexual sex can be punishable by three years in prison. (Picture: Families use a boat to cross a flooded Shebelle River, in Jowhar.)
Although same-sex relationships have been decriminalised, much of the population still suffer from intense discrimination. Additionally, in some of the country over-run by the extremist organisation Isis, LGBT individuals can face death by stoning. (Picture: Purported Isis fighters in Iraq.)
The Home Office has previously claimed that a lesbian woman could not be gay because she had children, while a bisexual man has said he felt compelled to submit intimate photos of himself to help prove his case.
Updated guidance on LGBT asylum claims was recently published by the Home Office, which forbids “detailed questioning in regard to sexual practices” and requests for “sexually explicit evidence”.
However, Mr Kyeyune’s Home Office interview occurred before this new guidance was in place.
In February, the Home Office was criticised after it suggested deported gay men could live safely in Afghanistan if they “pretended to be straight”.
Philip Jones, who started a Change.org petition to stop Mr Kyeyune's deportation, and runs a support group for LGBT asylum seekers in Manchester, said Mr Kyeyune had a strong support network in Manchester.
“When he first started coming to the meetings, he was a bit quiet and subdued. I think, because of how he’d been treated at home, he found it difficult to get over the shock of having to flee.“
“But I think he just needed to meet people like himself. And I got the sense that he was really coming to terms with the situation, and enjoying being a gay man amongst other gay men.”
Karen Doyle, a spokesperson for Movement for Justice, an advocacy group for asylum seekers’ rights, said: “LGBT asylum seekers are put in the impossible position of trying to 'prove' their sexuality.”
“Ask any UK-born LGBT person to remember the names of all the people they have slept with and dates, describe exactly the process of realising that you are LGBT… it's an impossible burden of proof for anyone to bear, let alone if you have suffered severe trauma and abuse because of your sexuality.
The truth is that, especially post-Brexit, the drive is to get immigration numbers down. That means deporting as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Decision makers see their job not as helping someone to tell a difficult story but to get that person to trip up, find the faults, make them anxious and ultimately to say no.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who genuinely need it, and every case is carefully considered on its individual merits.
”Where people establish a genuine need for protection or a well founded fear of persecution refuge will be granted. If someone is found not to need our protection, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily. Where they do not, we will seek to enforce their departure.”