Friday, 03 June 2011 21:12

Ugandan Lesbian Branded By Hot Iron Has To Come Back In Uganda

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Betty Tibikawa, 22, which looked for asylum in United Kingdom will not obtain it and will be deported to Uganda. She had already been "punished" in her country for her sexuality branded with a hot iron.

The Guardian told Tibikawa had just finished high school and was due to go to university in Kampala when she was attacked by three men who taunted her about her sexuality. They pinned her down in a disused building and branded her on her inner thighs with a hot iron. They left her unconscious and when she finally managed to get home she was confined to bed for two months. An independent medical report has confirmed that her scars are consistent with being branded with a hot iron.

"I can't sleep and I'm having terrible nightmares about what will happen to me if I'm sent back to Uganda. My family have disowned me because I'm a lesbian and I'm convinced I'd be killed if I'm sent home.

"I was 'outed' in a Ugandan magazine called Red Pepper in February of this year saying that I'm wanted for being a lesbian," she said. "This has put my life at increased risk."

Moreover, in Uganda, the Parliament still did not come to a conclusion about the 'Kill the gays' law which can pass soon and condemned gays and lesbians to the capital punishment.

Emma Ginn, coordinator of Medical Justice, said: "Despite compelling medical evidence, the UK Border Agency disbelieves Ms Tibikawa's story. UKBA do not dispute that Ms Tibikawa has scars caused by a hot flat iron, but conclude that she did not suffer any ill-treatment in Uganda. We condemn the fact that they intend to deport Ms Tibakawa to a country where being gay is illegal and puts your life at risk."

Gauri van Gulik of Human Rights Watch also said: "Our research has shown that many cases of women like Betty are not taken seriously by the UK Border Agency. Unfortunately women who suffer this kind of violence have serious difficulty claiming asylum."

 

And a British spokesperson of the UK border agency said: "The government has made it clear that it is committed to stopping the removal of asylum seekers who have genuinely had to leave particular countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identification.

"However, when someone is found not to have a genuine claim we expect them to leave voluntarily."