It is time for the USA to Look at Uganda as an example and to stop blaming UNHCR for what it cannot do, given Hostile Host Countries that reject LGBTI Asylum seekers. The USA and Canada and EU have done NOTHING of significance to Protect LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers. A slow trickle is deathly!
A recent combination of threat and rhetoric by the Ugandan government steeped with a dose of persecution from the religious realm, has sparked an insidiously heightened and dangerous anti-LGBTI climate in Uganda. This lethal mix seems poised for the "perfect storm." What is evident and manifesting is a seemingly orchestrated campaign to "rid" Uganda of their falsely touted "gay scourge," all for political power and gain. The marriage between government and religious extremism signifies a symbiotic quest at the expense of a harmless vulnerable minority, LGBTQI+ community, and sets the stage for violence and forced displacement.
Here is a call for PROTEST against gays on February 24, 2023, by the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Department of Religious Affairs, All District Kadhis: "A Notice on peaceful Demonstration Against Homosexuality in our Community," a complete misnomer and dog whistle for violence
There is mass panic in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community now subjected to heightened threats and it is no wonder, given the threat that has come directly from government and the Muslim Mufti of Uganda.
I addition to the above, we have received the following INTEL:
Creating torture houses, under guise of safe houses to affect disappearances in not uncommon in Uganda. One only has to read the years and years of U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports to note that there is a strong possibility that this could in fact be the FINAL SOLUTION for the attempted genocide and eradication of the Ugandan Gay community, especially given the frustration that NGO’s and brave activists have been fighting back for years, even succeeding in the courts. Janet Museveni, the wife of President Yoweri Museveni who has been Uganda's dictator of 33 years, has her fingerprint splashed all across this dangerous measure... and although this intelligence is not verified directly by AHRC, we determine that it is entirely feasible.
Uganda has been dangerous for LGBTQI+ people and already in an heightened mode since 2009 when the U.S. Evangelicals showed up on the continent preaching hate and promoting the idea that Uganda should 'eradicate all gays,' thereby inciting the "KILL THE GAYS BILL", the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014, which was signed into law by Museveni, and which was voided that same year due to Parliament's misstep in failing to pass the legislation with the requisite quorum.
This caused a mass flight by Uganda's LGBTQI+ community, and now this latest onslaught is exacerbated by the very public stance on the part of the Ugandan government to shut down all LGBTQI+ and Human rights related organizations- which we reported here.
The newly invigorated anti-gay climate has been a direct result of the handy work of Education Minister Janet Museveni, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, and The Muslim Council of Uganda, all fervent homophobes, riling anti-gay sentiment as also evidenced the Ugandan Monitor article:
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa is stirring the country for persecution and violence against gays by his fabricated warning that "dissident gay groups and their networks are targeting learning institutions." The lie being asserted, contends that "Parents across the country are concerned about the safety of their children amid reports of growing homosexuality in learning institutions." Tayebwa has instructed the House Education committee to speed up investigations into “the menace of homosexuality in schools", further stating, “Our children are in danger, homosexuals have infiltrated our schools and attempts are being made from all corners to lure innocent children into these immoral acts,” as Mr Tayebwa told the Monitor. He further asserted that “As Parliament, we are going to investigate this issue, but the head teachers, parents as well teachers must work together and protect our children from these vultures. Every school must come up with measures to deal with the problem and clear notices, warning learners about the dangers of homosexuality. " Janet Museveni, the Education minister, also came this month and pledged more support to schools in fighting against homosexuality.
This sparked further comment by others in power, latching on to the popular notion that Gays in Uganda are to blame for all the country’s ills. This all a typical scapegoating that serves to enhance political popularity and creates a symbiotic relationship that traverses education, politics and religion, setting the stage, in my opinion, for a political takeover by Janet Museveni when her aging husband, President for over 30 years pops off or is forced to retire. At this time thousands of Uganda's LGBTQI+ community have been forcibly displaced, fleeing the country to become refugees and asylum seekers in conditions that render minimal protection, starvation, and further violence. Very few solutions are available.
Given all the constraints by virtue of Africa's country conditions facing LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers, these solutions must come from Western governments such as the U.S.A..
We have seen miracles for Ukrainian refugees, Russia's gays, but MINIMAL for Africa's LGBTQI refugees on the part of the United States and other countries. Generally, unlike their European counterparts, Africans cannot afford tickets and visitor/ student visas that yield paths toward the U.S. In fact more and more LGBTI Africans are trying to get to the USA using South America as a route and then working their way up, for months, through the continent to the Southern U.S. Border in extreme desperation, only to now land amidst the new Biden asylum ban that specifically excludes them, albeit having undertaken this extremely onerous and deathly path. The most significant attempt at receiving protection is for LGBTI Africans is to cross borders within Africa itself. However usually they are crossing over into countries where, yet again, they are criminalized and ostracized by hostile host governments. This simply adds to the danger and yet is the only route for most.
These dangers are not due to any fault of UNHCR, but rather because host countries and potential host countries also criminalize LGBTQI people, thereby making these venues hotbeds for violence, difficult or impossible to register as refugees, and hence denied all the services incumbent for proper protection and resettlement. Hostile hosts make it virtually impossible for UNHCR to provide protection for LGBTQI refugees. And yet UNHCR, although with tied hands, continues to do its best given the extreme environments they are expected to operate in? Where is the USA and where is the EU? Blaming the only protection hand that is under resourced, over extended, and subject to impossible conditions. Where is the U.S. other than pointing fingers at UNHCR - and absolutely NOWHERE to be seen with REAL durable solutions! AHRC believes that the United States has the solution, but has failed to undertake authentic and appropriate briefings from all stakeholders, allowing the gatekeepers of the past 20+ years to rule the milieu, so that they can continue to capture the only funding to pay themselves their big salaries. Do not blame UNHCR- ! Blame PRM and USA State Department! Blame President Biden's administration! Blame the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons in the Biden administration. What has been done to create special paths for our LGBTQI African community. Let me point out that a 'one at a time' sponsorship approach with onerous requirements, is NOT the ticket, though the pilot sponsorship program is indeed appreciated- it is barely a tickle or massage - it is not a solution! Where is the GLOBAL LGBTQI+ community and NGO's and funders ? Still shuffling emails and not even engaging with those who are nose to ground? Doing the actual work? There are a handful of us struggling, unfunded or barely funded, to pick up the pieces of this increasing disaster - AND now with what is going in Uganda, this will get worse. And when Ghana passes its new ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY legislation, it will be even worse. We implore the U.S. State Department to take down the gatekeepers and get in touch with the real stakeholders.... it is time... before its is too late! Please note AHRC has the ability to provide an in depth briefing to include several African Countries serving the protection landscape, inadequately, to include Kenya, Uganda - which refuses to register LGBTQI refugees, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi and more..
CONTACT: nathan@africanHRC.org or email@example.com Melanie Nathan, February 23, 2023.
Let us Talk a BIT about the ASYLUM BAN and ASK for special PATHS for LGBTQI+ ASYLUM seekers and Refugees from African Countries: On 2/21/23, the Biden administration proposed a rule that would illegally ban many refugees from seeking asylum in the United States. Groups have been anticipating this rule and voicing their strong opposition for weeks. Human First also issued an in-depth asylumban fact sheet. Human Rights First experts have quickly reviewed (and issued a statement, here), and are sharing a basic overview for partners and allies (and we, and partners, will have more to share soon). Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis.
Under the proposed rule, asylum seekers who enter the United States between ports of entry or who present themselves at a port of entry without a previously-scheduled appointment will be presumed to be ineligible for asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in a country they traveled through on their way to the United States, subject to certain exceptions. Like the Trump administration’s asylum transit ban, this rule would deny refugees asylum and block and rapidly deport refugees without access to asylum hearings through expedited removal.
The asylum ban violates U.S. law and treaty obligations. None of this has a basis in the U.S. asylum statute, which has clear provisions providing for access to asylum.
8 U.S.C. 1158(a)(1) provides that people seeking refugee protection may apply for asylum regardless of manner of entry.
8 U.S.C. §1158(a)(2) and 8 U.S.C. §1158(b)(2) delineate specific exceptions where an individual would not be eligible for asylum, including where a person was “firmly resettled” in another country or if the United States has a formal “Safe Third Country” return agreement with a country where refugees are both safe from persecution and have access to fair asylum procedures.
8 U.S.C. §1158(d)(5)(B) provides that the administration may not issue regulations that are inconsistent with these provisions. Barring asylum seekers based on transit through a third country is inconsistent with these provisions and violates U.S. law, as federal courts have held when enjoining the Trump asylum transit ban.
The proposed rule also runs afoul of the Refugee Convention’s prohibitions against imposing penalties on people seeking refugee protection, and will certainly lead to refoulement to persecution and torture. The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has confirmed that States may not “condition access to asylum procedures on regular entry" under the Refugee Convention and Protocol.
The asylum ban will have a disparate impact, favoring wealthy and white immigrants who can procure visas and arrive by plane. It is deeply troubling to have one set of rules for people at the southern border and a different set of rules for people who are able to get themselves here on planes. This scheme needs to be understood in the context of the U.S. and rest of the developed world: using visa regimes divert people who could otherwise make asylum claims through regular travel routes. Who is able to get a visa to the U.S., or who can get here without needing one: those from wealthier and whiter nations. President Biden just gave a speech on racial equity and lauded this administration’s commitment to racial justice; yet this NPRM significantly undermines that commitment. The asylum ban will inflict grave harms on Black, Brown and Indigenous asylum seekers, as Human Rights First explained in this fact sheet. The ban also builds in nationality-based discrimination in access to asylum, as each administration can choose which nationalities are, or are not, afforded some limited access to parole initiatives.
The proposed rule would recognize exceptions to these requirements that are considerably more generous on paper than the Trump administration. But in practice, such exceptions are impractical and will not keep the rule from denying asylum, and returning to danger, refugees who qualify for asylum under our laws. By imposing this policy in expedited removal, the rule would lead to the rapid deportation of asylum seekers who are unable, in that fraught, due process deficient process, to prove to asylum officers that they meet requirements that have no basis in the statute and are irrelevant to their fears of return.