UGANDAN PRESIDENT SIGNS ANTI-GAY LAW: TRAGIC OUTCOME FOR LGBTI REFUGEES IN UGANDA – ORAM REFUGEE
27 February 2014 (San Francisco, California)
– Despite international criticism from human rights defenders, governments, and the United Nations, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, this week. The law imposes up to life imprisonment on people for engaging in homosexual acts, and even punishes those who advocate for LGBTI rights or provide services in Uganda to LGBTI people. ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration – is profoundly concerned about this tragic development. This law will significantly impair LGBTI refugee protection in Uganda, and has already escalated violence against LGBTI individuals in the country. Many will now have no choice but to flee for their lives.
“Even before this law was enacted, LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda faced extreme discrimination,” explained ORAM founder and Executive Director Neil Grungras. “Who will they turn to now if refugee service providers can’t help them without fear of being arrested and imprisoned for “promotion of homosexuality”?” Grungras added, “Both Ugandans and LGBTI refugees who come to Uganda from near-by countries will now have to flee elsewhere, risking their lives with absolutely no guarantee of finding safe haven.”
This new law will not impact only native Ugandans. Uganda is also a major destination for forced migrants across the Great Lake region. However, as ORAM’s field research Blind Alleys showed, upon arriving in Uganda, LGBTI refugees must live in secrecy, cutting themselves off from others in order to survive.
ORAM urges UNHCR, governments and refugee professionals to implement the following recommendations:
To the fullest extent possible under the law, create a safe environment for LGBTI refugees to express their claims.
Expedite LGBTI refugee claims, and fast-track resettlement referral of recognized LGBTI refugees currently in Uganda.
We urge UNHCR in countries bordering Uganda and elsewhere in Africa to extend protection to LGBTI Ugandans fleeing persecution.
We call on all countries where vulnerable LGBTI individuals flee to employ accurate, LGBTI-sensitive interviewing techniques in their asylum procedures.
“More than ever, the international refugee protection system needs to stand up and lead the effort to ensure LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers in and from Uganda have access to the protection they deserve”, said Grungras.
ORAM founder and Executive Director Neil Grungras is available for interview and expert comment. Please email@example.com, + 1 (650) 630-9832 (UTC/GMT -8).
More about LGBTI refugees in Uganda ”Blind Alleys,” an ORAM publication with ground-breaking research on the struggles of LGBTI refugees in Uganda, is available at:
3-pager factsheet with key findings and refugee quotes http://bit.ly/1aevN8U.
Full report in English http://bit.ly/1fvfy9t (Summary in French http://bit.ly/1j64tfL)
Photos available to media (Credit: ORAM) http://bit.ly/1fvhjn5
More about LGBTI refugees “Blind Alleys: The Unseen Struggles of LGBTI Urban Refugees in Mexico, Uganda and South Africa” is available at: www.oraminternational.org/en/publications Educational documentaries As I Am and No Place for Me, uncovering the struggles of LGBTI refugees in their own words, are available at: http://www.oraminternational.org/en/videos
About ORAM About ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration ORAM is an international non-profit organization devoted to capacity-building and advocacy on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, including those fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
ORAM enables the international community to protect exceptionally vulnerable refugees through capacity-building, cutting-edge research, innovative resources and tools. ORAM also provides refugees with legal assistance and the information they critically need to access refugee protection systems.
ORAM advocates for the vulnerable, fosters strong connections with refugee professionals, and responds to the most pressing issues within the world’s ever-evolving refugee landscape.