UK Denies Visa for Ugandan LGBT Advocate

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2011

Britain’s Border Agency (UKBA) has denied a visa for Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) founder and executive Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, who was scheduled to open a pride celebration in Derry, Northern Ireland later this month. Paul Canning reports that a UKBA spokesperson said that her visa was denied because Immigration officials feared that she might not return home after travelling to Britain. According to that spokesperson:

Each application to enter the UK is considered on its individual merits and in accordance with the immigration rules”.

“The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they meet the immigration rules. This may include providing evidence of financial ties to their home country which would indicate that they intend to return home at the end of their proposed visit.”

“Our rules are firm but fair and where insufficient evidence is provided visa applications may be refused, though the individual is able to apply again at any time and any new evidence will be considered.”

UKBA denies that Nabagesera’s LGBT advocacy was a factor in their decision.

Despite UKBA’s decision, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has strong ties to the LGBT community in Uganda, and she has travelled abroad numerous times as part of her advocacy, returning every time to her were back home. She spoke last weekend at an international meeting of Amnesty International in Geneva. Earlier this year, she wasawarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights by a consortium of ten international organizations. In May, she debated Ugandan MP David Bahati, the sponsor of draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Voice of America television. Last week, Nabagesera led a major educational campaign in Uganda to counter the widespread homophobia in that country. In other words, none of this looks like the profile of someone who flees a country at the first opportunity. Nabagesera clearly has ties and commitments in Uganda, and her commitments have been recognized internationally. All of this makes UKBA’s decision very puzzling and troubling.

David Roberts

August 18th, 2011

I really don’t understand. Unless their is some evidence she is a criminal or terrorist, what could possibly be the big deal about allowing her to participate and travel freely for a few months? Am I missing something?

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2011

The key reason cited is in the second paragraph of the first statement.

This may include providing evidence of financial ties to their home country which would indicate that they intend to return home at the end of their proposed visit.

I read that to mean that they fear she will use her LGBT activism to claim asylum as a cover for becoming an economic refugee.

paul canning

August 18th, 2011

The speech by Kasha given to AI is A-Ma-Sing

paul canning

August 18th, 2011

Jim’s right – and she’s given the same answers to all the other bureaucracies in countless other countries who have all given her a visa. The UK is appalling on this score. We have denied visas to countless ‘global south’ worthy people, such as world renowned theatre and film directors. And every time it is *their fault and not the stupid bureaucrats …

David Roberts

August 18th, 2011

The key reason cited is in the second paragraph of the first statement.

Right, I got that but I was questioning the veracity of the stated reasons. This kind of border control seems out of character for what I would have expected of the UK.

g_whiz

August 18th, 2011

In other words “Your country has a horrible human rights record and we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to get away from it. But sorry, the Inn’s full, and we’re not going to risk the possibility of you trying to stick around illegally.” Its probably the most cynical thing I’ve read all day.

paul canning

August 19th, 2011

@David Roberts

I live in UK and work on these issues. Believe me, it is totally ‘in character’ :0

anteros

August 21st, 2011

Kasha is the very brave activist who snatched the microphone from an anti-gay preacher while he was spewing hate at David Kato’s funeral… a stunt very few would dare attempt. Much respect to her.

Adam

August 22nd, 2011

As a UK citizen, I’m appalled at this decision, but sadly not surprised. :<

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