Community News

LGBT+ Catholics support gay Ugandan facing deportation

Besi Besemar April 17, 2017

Godfrey Kawalya is a gay Ugandan refugee living in Britain since 2002. He was expelled from secondary school in Uganda in his teens and was rejected by his family because of his sexuality.

After leaving school, Godfrey found construction work in Uganda, but his company sacked him when they discovered he was gay.

While in Uganda he was an active member of the political opposition to the current President. He was forced to flee from Kampala to the rebel-held territories in Northern Uganda, where he was abducted, robbed, tortured and stabbed.

When he escaped from the rebels, the¬†friend who gave him shelter was killed by the Ugandan Army who came looking for “the gay man”.

Eventually, with help from some nuns,¬†he escaped to Kenya. From there he was brought to England by people-smugglers,¬†who kept him as a slave labourer¬†until he paid off their “fees”.

Since re-gaining his freedom Godfrey has been active in six LGBT+ groups, and has been a member of the Pastoral Council for LGBT+ Catholics Westminster (former Soho Masses), while continuing his political activism against the current Ugandan regime, taking part in many demonstrations and rallies, including some outside the Ugandan Embassy in London, much of which is well documented on social media, and very visible to the Ugandan government.

On August 25, 2015 the Home Office refused his claim for asylum on the grounds that they did not believe he is gay. However, even if he were not, the law takes the view that refugees who are in danger of death or persecution because they are perceived to be gay in their home country must be granted asylum. It appears that the Home Office did not act justly in refusing asylum to take this into account.

Several appeals, supported by the LGBT+ organisations he has been active in, and by Peter Tatchell, have now failed, and he will inevitably be deported back to Uganda where campaigners claim he faces a very high risk of being killed when he arrives, both because of his sexuality and because of his political opposition to the President.

To sign the petition requesting the UK Government, in particular the Home Office, to grant Godfrey refugee status, and prevent him from being deported to Uganda to face almost certain death, click here: