Protesters call for release of gay Ugandan refugee

Campaigners picketed Dutch embassy in London and handed over petition demanding asylum for gay man fleeing persecution in Uganda

Campaigners demonstrated outside the Dutch embassy in London yesterday (2 April) demanding freedom and asylum for a gay Ugandan.

Members of the Movement for Justice group called for the Netherlands to release Kalanzi Marvin Richard, who was refused asylum in the European country and was imprisoned after refusing to sign deportation papers.

The protesters, who included Ugandan lesbian and gay asylum seekers and refugees, also handed over a petition of more than 700 signatures to the embassy.

Antonia Bright of the Movement for Justice said: ‘Kalanzi’s case stands for thousands more.

‘What the Dutch Government is doing is part a wider move by EU governments, including Britain, to undermine the right of asylum.

‘We will keep fighting until Kalanzi is free and we have won an amnesty for asylum seekers and other immigrants across Europe.’

Kalanzi lived openly as a gay man in Uganda and his life would be in danger if he is deported back to the country where a bill advocating the death penalty for homosexuality is currently in parliament.

‘Kalanzi lived openly and proudly as a gay man in Uganda, despite the abuse and threats he faced,’ said gay Ugandan refugee Abbey Kiwanuka, who knew Kalanzi when they were still living there.

‘His sexuality was common knowledge and anti-gay bigots campaigned for his arrest. As a result he was imprisoned, beaten and tortured.’

He added: ‘LGBT people in Uganda are subjected to a vicious anti-gay campaign led by politicians and pastors.

‘Violence toward LGBT people is rampant. The new Anti-Gay Bill is back to Parliament. In spite of this the Dutch authorities are still trying to send Kalanzi Marvin back there.’

The Dutch immigration authority has already agreed to look at Kalanzi’s case again.

Last week a demonstration for Kalanzi’s release was held in the Dutch city of the Hague and a demonstration is planned in Rotterdam, where he is being held, later this week.

by Matthew Jenkin
Source – Gay Star News