Tag Archives: petition

Robert Kityo – a gay asylum seeker from Uganda detained by the Home Office on 10th November 2015

Robert Must Stay – A Right To Be Gay!

Latest Update – 9th December

Today Robert and his legal team heard that the Home Office have refused his Fresh Claim for asylum despite the huge amount of information within it which shows that Robert is an integral part of the LGBT community within Manchester.

However, they have conceded that there is enough new material that a judge should consider this case in court.  Whilst disappointing, it is good that the Home Office concede that a judge should consider Robert’s appeal against the decision, read the evidence, hear Robert and his witnesses and come to a decision.

We don’t yet know when this appeal will be heard – we do know, however, that the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Manchester is very busy so it may be some months before Robert has his case heard.


Background

Robert KityoRobert Kityo is a young gay man from Uganda who is seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom due to the homophobic Ugandan regime’s treatment of LGBT people which imprisons us for life simply for how we love.

The Home Office believe Robert can live discreetly in Uganda despite his being an out and proud member of Manchester’s LGBT community.

Robert_Kityo4For the last two years Robert has been an active and very visible member of the LGBT community in Manchester. He is:

  • A volunteer for the LGBT Foundation – helping staff two Pride festivals, volunteering in the office and even being a model in some literature on gay men’s health.
  • A member of the city’s LGBT Metropolitan Congregation of the United Reformed Church.
  • Active in a group for black LGBT people, Rainbow Noir.
  • Involved in producing programmes for Gaydio – the city’s LGBT radio station.
  • Involved in a variety of projects for LGBT people in Salford.

The Home Office were given a huge bundle containing details of Robert’s community involvement, legal arguments and witness statements from many people – including the Anglican Bishop of Manchester – yet they don’t think there is enough material to put before a judge!

The Home Office don’t think that Robert is openly gay so would not be at risk on return to Uganda! A glance at his Facebook page shows how ridiculous this argument is.

Robert_Kityo3Worse, the Home Office made their decision to reject Robert’s claim on 8th October but didn’t inform Robert or his solicitors so they could make representations. Instead, they waited until Robert routinely attended his local immigration reporting centre today (10th November), served the decision on him without warning, and immediately detained him. They are now preparing to remove him from the UK and return him to the homophobic hell which is Uganda.

Robert’s lawyers are making legal moves to compel the Home Office to reconsider or, at the very least, to refer the matter to the courts where an impartial decision can be made and where Robert’s many friends and supporters will be able to give evidence on his behalf.

Petition

Please sign the petition to the Home Secretary asking her to both accept Robert’s submissions as a Fresh Claim for Asylum (which gives him the right to appeal to a court) and to grant him asylum in the UK.

You can do this by clicking on the link below and completing the online petition form which will then appear in a new window:

http://www.change.org/p/rt-hon-theresa-may-mp-robert-must-stay-a-right-to-be-gay


Update – 11th November

As the petition reaches almost 1000 signatures, Robert is very touched that so many people have taken his case to their hearts.  His legal team have sent a pre-action letter to the Home Office – the first stage in a Judicial Review – and have given them until Friday to respond. If, as we suspect, they don’t respond it is likely that legal action will commence next week. Please do keep spreading the word about Robert’s plight; share the petition on Facebook (if you haven’t already done so), or on your webpage if you are a member of a church or community group.

Update – 13th November

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition – we now have almost 1,700 signatures which is amazing considering the petition only started on Tuesday. Robert was told yesterday evening (12 Nov) that he will be transferred to Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, ML10 6RF, Scotland, tomorrow (14th Nov).

The Judicial Review proceedings will start on Monday (16th Nov) – there is a chance the application may be submitted today (13th Nov) but that might not be possible. Additionally we are working with some reporters to get his story out to a wider audience.

Please hold Robert in your thoughts and prayers; we are hoping to arrange people from local United Reformed Churches to visit him at Dungavel House to help him keep his spirits up. And please continue to share the petition with your friends, on Facebook and anywhere else where you think it will make a difference – every time someone signs it, an email is generated to the Home Secretary!

Update 14th November (1)

During the early evening yesterday (13th Nov), in response to a pre-action letter which Robert’s lawyers had sent to the Home Office notifying them of an intended application for Judicial Review, the Home Office notified Robert that they have withdrawn their decision to reject his fresh submissions as they accept it is arguable that insufficient scrutiny was given to the new evidence which Robert submitted.

Robert was informed of this around 5pm and was told by the official who gave him the letter that it was “likely” he would be released from detention, however the letter itself only concedes that the Home Office will “review” their decision to detain him.

Robert’s expectations were that his release was only hours away, however no decision over that “review” of his detention seems yet to have been made, and so Robert remains in detention at Pennine House but has not been transferred to Dungavel House as was previously scheduled for today.

In summary, the only decision from the Home Office so far is that they have withdrawn their rejection of Robert’s fresh submissions; and their only concessions are that they will further review Robert’s new evidence and that they will review his continued detention.

Update – 14th November (2)

Robert was released from detention at 1.30pm on Saturday 14th November. We await further decisions from the Home Office as they re-scrutinise the new evidence which Robert submitted in October.

Update – 9th December

Today Robert and his legal team heard that the Home Office have refused his Fresh Claim for asylum despite the huge amount of information within it which shows that Robert is an integral part of the LGBT community within Manchester.

However, they have conceded that there is enough new material that a judge should consider this case in court.  Whilst disappointing, it is good that the Home Office concede that a judge should consider Robert’s appeal against the decision, read the evidence, hear Robert and his witnesses and come to a decision.

We don’t yet know when this appeal will be heard – we do know, however, that the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Manchester is very busy so it may be some months before Robert has his case heard.


Press and media coverage


For any further enquiries about Robert’s campaign, or to provide additional information to the campaign team, please use the message form below. [Note: the message form is NOT the petition.]

Jacqueline Nantumbwe – detained by Borders Agency 24th January 2014, released 11th February, detained again 22nd July, released 29th July

Logo_White_smallsizeLatest Update – 29th July 2014

Good news!!  We have just heard that Jacqueline has been released and is making her way home from Yarl’s Wood.

It seems that someone with some sense in the Home Office has finally read the report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and has ordered her release.  It’s too early to know what else may happen in her case now this report has been received and, crucially, read.

People often are cynical about the value of campaigns and emails and letters to the Home Secretary.  Nevertheless, in a few short days nearly 200 of you emailed Theresa May and urged her to look again at this case.  Your emails worked.

Jacqueline is very happy.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks as she settles in to a temporary address (she’s probably lost the National Asylum Seeker Service address she was in before detention), tries to find out if she’s entitled to asylum support again, and as we see what happens next in her case.  She will be without funds initially but we have had some offers to help with that – so, again thank you very much indeed.

Now read on for a full timeline of Jacqueline’s case from the beginning.


 

Logo_White_smallsizeBackground to the case of Jacqueline Nantumbwe (Home Office Reference  N1178674/002)

Jacqueline is a lesbian woman from Uganda, where homosexuality is a crime and politicians and religious leaders are campaigning for the death penalty.

She was forced into an arranged marriage with a man. Jacqueline was discovered with her then girlfriend, Rose, and Jacqueline was imprisoned, tortured and “correctively” raped as punishment for being gay. Rose was not heard from again.

Jacqueline fled Uganda and came to England in 2006, applying for asylum in 2012, but her initial application was turned down because she had been too scared to request asylum straight away.

The Home Office re-assigned Jacqueline to the North West in 2013, away from her new partner of 5 years, who must stay in London. They have both been refused asylum thus far on the grounds that they have not sufficiently proven their lesbianism, despite Jacqueline being an active member of various local LGBT groups.

It has been suggested that gay couples seeking asylum submit sexually explicit home videos as evidence. Jacqueline needs your signatures on her petition. Please stand up for LGBT rights and save Jacqueline from deportation and the reprisals she would face in Uganda.

During Jacqueline’s time in the North West she has become a loved and respected member of our church; she sings in the choir each week; she is very good at befriending newcomers to church; and she has made many friends through her links with the lgbt and asylum support organisations in the Manchester area.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 24th January

Jacqueline was detained this morning by the UK Borders Agency.  We’re not sure if this is because they are hoping to start immediate deportation proceedings against her, if they’ve chartered a flight to Uganda and are rounding up Ugandans or if it’s a mistake.  (Any of these reasons are entirely possible!)

As you know, Jacqueline is a member of our congregation.  She worked in Uganda as a midwife engaging in public health campaigns and as a midwifery tutor.  She is lesbian and fled to the UK for protection.  She hasn’t been believed by the Home Office despite her partner, Harriet,  being here too – Harriet hasn’t been believed either.

Jacqueline is currently working with the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit to prepare a new case but has, this morning (24th) been detained at Dallas Court where she goes every fortnight to report.  At the moment she has no legal case in the system but the Immigration Aid Unit have been working with her to prepare a new claim which should be submitted soon.  Until that case is submitted Jacqueline is liable to be deported – at present no deportation instructions have been issued.

Her solicitor is currently working on a bail application – to which she is entitled.  She poses little risk of flight as she has been reporting regularly, as required, she lives with a settled British person, and she has strong links with us and a number of other community groups like the Lesbian and Gay chorus.

I’m asking you to do two things.  First, and most importantly pray for Jacqueline:

  • that she keeps strong, focused and calm in the disorientation of detention
  • that her solicitor will be able to work on getting her released
  • that she will not be deported.

Second, please sign the change.org petition for Jacqueline.  This will, eventually, be part of her fresh claim to the Home Office.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 27th January

Yesterday (26th) Jacqueline was moved from the holding centre at Manchester airport to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.  She will be held in detention until she is either removed from the UK or until she is granted bail – which can only happen following the submission of her Fresh Claim which she has been working on with the Immigration Aid Unit.

Yarl’s Wood is not a pleasant place.  It is full of people who are isolated and desperate, staffed by people who are poorly paid and has been criticised heavily for how the staff treat the inmates so it’s hard to keep your spirits up.

Inmates are given a mobile phone so they can keep contact with friends and lawyers.  However, all calls and texts to these phones are monitored.  Jacqueline still has her normal phone.  The Home Office get a little anxious when a person has a lot of support from the settled population and we’ve seen, time and time again, that when we stand up for and give evidence on behalf of our friends they are given leave to remain in the country.

So, I am asking that we each do three things:

1: Send a short text to Jacqueline telling her she is in your thoughts and prayers and giving your name.  Text her on her Borders Agency phone which is monitored: 07979 477999.  Tell her she is in your thoughts and prayers.  This will both cheer her up and let the Borders Agency know she is loved, valued and supported.  Don’t expect a reply as, if this idea works, she will be inundated with texts from many people!

2:  If you haven’t already signed the petition please do so here.  It had just 250 names on it on Friday morning (24th), it’s now approaching 1,600 thanks to the power of social networking and thanks to the promotion of Jacqueline’s case by Lesbian and Gay Choir in Manchester, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF), Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST), Rainbow Noir and the Lesbian Immigration Support Group (LISG) – all of whom have connections with Jacqueline.  If you are on Facebook or Twitter ask your friends/followers to sign and share.  There is a synopsis of Jacqueline’s plight on the petition and it doesn’t make easy reading.

3: If you feel you know her sufficiently well from church and are willing to write a statement on her behalf please let Andy know (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk) and he will help you write the statement.

But, most of all, please do take the time to drop her a text on 07979 477999.  Now.  Thank you.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th January

Jacqueline’s legal team will be submitting her Fresh Claim today (29th) – it is huge and contains lots of new statements from people from church and every other aspect of Jacqueline’s life. It also includes the electronic petition now signed by over 2,275 people and a paper petition so that, in total, over 3,000 people have pledged their support.

You can add your name to the petition if you wish, and if you haven’t already done so, via the link here.

The Home Office may respond very quickly to the Fresh Claim. If they don’t decide by early next week a bail application will be made. Jacqueline is in good spirits and buoyed up by the prayers, support and texts of people who have been kind enough to contact her.  However, it will be a tough fight to get the Home Office to consider the Fresh Claim properly and there may not be a right to appeal any refusal in court – it all depends if they accept that it amounts to a Fresh Claim – ie it introduces new material not previously considered.

Now we’re asking that you continue to pray for Jacqueline and that, if you have a moment, you drop her a text to say she’s in your thoughts and prayers. You can text her on 07979 477999. Don’t expect a reply as she is getting lots of texts and it costs money to text back.  We believe that the UKBA monitor calls and texts to the phones they provide detainees so, as well as encouraging Jacqueline, the texts also alert the authorities that she has support and many people are taking an interest in her case.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 30th January

It has been a very busy week in our campaign to help Jacqueline.  As you know, last Friday she was detained when she went to report at Dallas Court.  On Monday she was moved to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and, for the time being, she remains there.

No moves have yet been made to deport her; her fresh claim – with lots of new evidence about her sexuality – has been submitted; her MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, is looking into the case; and her petition has really taken off with people spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter in particular.

Last Friday morning only 250 people had signed Jacqueline’s petition: it now stands at 2,750 people!  This is amazing and has happened due to the power of people using various social networking tools.  Over 200 people have also taken the time and trouble to text her and let her know she’s in their thoughts and prayers and this has really encouraged her.  Yarl’s Wood is a grim place and contact with people outside is very important.

Now her Fresh Claim has been submitted it is important that pressure is put upon the Home Office so that they consider it carefully.  We know from previous campaigns that the more interest is shown by the public in a case the more carefully it is considered.  To this end we’d like to invite you to email the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to raise your concern about Jacqueline.  I’d rather not draft a letter for people to simply cut and paste – it’s better that different styles of letters are received.  However, here are some pointers:

  • Say you are writing to express concern about Jacqueline Nantumbwe who has been detained in Yarl’s Wood.
  • Say who you are, what you do for a living, and your connection with Jacqueline – i.e. she attends your church.  (If you don’t attend the Metropolitan Church, you could write “she attends the Metropolitan Church which has a particular ministry with LGBT people).
  • If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, state that in your email too.
  • Say she is a lesbian who has provided ample proof of her sexuality, attends various lgbt groups in Manchester, and should be believed.
  • Say she, along with all lgbt people, are in mortal danger in Uganda.
  • Ask the Home Secretary to look into the case and ensure that the Fresh Claim is examined carefully.

The email can be sent to Ms Theresa May via mayt@parliament.uk

It would be useful if you could bcc the email to Andy Braunston at pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk so we can keep track of how many emails have been sent.

Please do remember to keep Jacqueline in your prayers and, if you’ve time, drop her another encouraging text on 07979 477999.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 9th February

The Home Office indicated to Jacqueline’s legal team that they will make a decision on her Fresh Claim by tomorrow – Monday 10th February.  We’ve no idea if this is a realistic timescale, or not, as the Fresh Claim was huge.  In any event her legal team are ready to submit an application for a Judicial Review of a refusal as things can move very quickly when someone is detained.

Jacqueline has now applied for bail and her hearing is on Wednesday (12th).  Her application is being heard at the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in Birmingham but Jacqueline, herself, will appear by video link.  She has a stable address where she has lived for some months; she has reported as required to Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Manchester; and she has people who are offering a surety to the court. So she really isn’t a flight risk.

Jacqueline has had a number of people visit her which has really encouraged her.  Here is a note from three of her friends who went to see her in the week:

“We spent a good afternoon with Jacqueline on Thursday.  A combination of her being very upset, telling us how it is and how desperate she is to be out, good conversations about action to support her, and general chats too about all sorts including  her 14/15 years working as a midwife in the health service in Uganda and laughter for example when she was talking about the serial Selfridges and we understood it was a serial about Suffragettes that none of us knew about! What world do we live in!

Our general impression was – She is enormously grateful for all the support she is getting, she kept saying that she does not know how to say thank you. As you can imagine it is very tough being in Yarl’s Wood; she told us that ‘Every Door Closes Behind You’; she is constantly being watched and shut in. Your actions to support her are really helping her keep strong. She told us that she does want a campaign if she is not granted asylum as a result of her fresh claim and we have reported that back to others who will call a meeting should that be needed.

Kay, Judith, and Helen

Please keep Jacqueline in your thoughts and prayers as this week could be quite stressful for her with a Home Office decision imminent and a bail application being considered by the court.  She has been incredibly moved by all the people who have texted her – over 400 people have taken the trouble to do this. If you are able to do so again – or for the first time – please do send her a short greeting on 07979 477999.  Don’t expect a reply as she’s had hundreds of texts!

She is also moved by the 3,500 of us who have signed her petition – 3,250 have done so in the last two weeks!  Thank you also to the 200 or so of you have managed to email the Home Secretary raising your concerns around Jacqueline.  If you’re able to do this please do.  Here are some pointers:

  • Say you are writing to express concern about Jacqueline Nantumbwe who has been detained in Yarl’s Wood.
  • Say who you are, what you do for a living, and that you are concerned about Jacqueline
  • If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, state that in your email too.
  • Say Jacqueline is a lesbian who has provided ample proof of her sexuality, attends various lgbt groups in Manchester – including the LGBT choir, the Metropolitan Church (which has a special ministry with LGBT people) and groups at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation –  and should be believed.
  • Say she, along with all lgbt people, are in mortal danger in Uganda.
  • Ask Ms May to look into the case and ensure that the Fresh Claim is looked at carefully.
  • Please be polite and respectful!

The email can be sent to Ms Theresa May via mayt@parliament.uk  It would be useful if you could bcc the email to me at pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk so we can keep track of how many emails have been sent.

Once again, please accept my thanks on behalf of Jacqueline for all the tremendous support you’ve offered her so far.  We will keep you updated on the progress of her case.

Andy Braunston

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 10th February

Jacqueline Nantunbwe, our parishioner who has been held for just over two weeks in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre is to be released tomorrow morning (11th)!

The Home office concede that her fresh claim for asylum needs more detailed examination and so it’s not lawful to continue to detain her. She should be returned to home here in Manchester tomorrow (11th).

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she has a long way to go yet with her case, but this news is what we were hoping and praying for.  And there is no doubt that the 3,600 people who signed the petition, the hundreds who have texted her while in detention, and the 100 or so who have emailed Theresa May, have helped here!

Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported Jacqueline in any way.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 22nd July

As you know Jacqueline was released from detention in February following the submission of a Fresh Claim.  When she went to Dallas Court today (22nd July) she was told, in one sentence, that her claim had been refused and then, in the next, that she was being detained as she has no right to be in the country!

She is now being held at the Pennine House Immigration Removal Centre at Manchester Airport with plans, presumably, to move her to Yarl’s Wood in the next few days.

However, in parallel with her fresh claim, her solicitors had commissioned an expert report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture which greatly aids her case and backs up several of her key claims.  The Home Office had not been served with this report at the time of Jacqueline’s detention as it was only written very recently.  Her solicitors will be submitting this report tomorrow, both as a further submission on her case and as a precursor to a Judicial Review.  The report means that, under the Home Office’s own rules, Jacqueline should not be detained, so we hope that she will be released very quickly.

Please do keep Jacqueline in your prayers as it’s very frightening to be held in detention.  Please also pray that her case managers at the Home Office will act justly, and speedily, in her case.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 24th July

Jacqueline was hoping for positive movement on her case today.  Her lawyers had submitted an expert report which substantially backs up her asylum claim and, which by the Home Office’s own rules, means she shouldn’t be detained.

Inexplicably, the Home Office have ignored this and are now preparing to move Jacqueline from the holding centre at Manchester Airport to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Milton Keynes.

Her lawyers are going to vigorously challenge this decision not to release her and will prepare a bail application.  Now she has been detained, Jacqueline has lost her National Asylum Support Service accommodation (which would have been withdrawn anyway as her asylum claim was rejected).

There are three things Jacqueline needs:

  • your prayers – she is very low.
  • People to stand surety – (offer a sum of money to the court in the event she absconds)
  • A bail address in or around Manchester

Anyone who offers a Surety needs to prove to the court they could afford the financial loss if Jacqueline were to abscond.

It is likely that Jacqueline’s asylum support will take some time to reactivate so someone offering a bail address would also need to provide food for Jacqueline too.

Those offering a surety and a bail address need to attend court – likely to be in Birmingham.  One is normally released as a surety after a few months.

If you are able to help please let me know.

Andy

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 25th July

Jacqueline is now in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

Her lawyers are challenging her detention and trying to get her bail.  Yesterday we asked for people to be sureties for her – and we have had an offer – and for someone to offer a bail address.  So far we haven’t had an offer of a bail address but two people have offered to help with food costs if someone could offer a bail address.  Please let us know if you can help in this way.

But now I’m asking you to write to the Home Secretary.  We’re getting Jacqueline’s MP involved but the problem seems to be that the Home Office official isn’t following the Home Office’s own guidelines concerning detention.  I’ve given some pointers about what to say below and I would be grateful if you could email the Home Secretary, as soon as possible.

Here’s what to cover in your email:

  • put something like “release torture survivor Jacqueline Nantumbwe  from detention” in the subject field
  • Politely highlight that since Jacqueline was detained on Tuesday her lawyers have submitted an independent report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture to the Home Office which holds that Jacqueline has been raped and tortured: scarring on her body and her post traumatic stress disorder back up her claim.  She is also assessed as being depressed and suicidal.
  • Please highlight that Chapter 55 of the Enforcement Rules preclude (apart from exceptional circumstances) someone being detained who has independent evidence of torture.
  • Politely ask for Jacqueline to be released forthwith and urgent consideration given to this new evidence.
  • Remind Mrs May that we have a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to the persecuted.
  • Please end with your full name.
  • Please bcc me in the email – pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 29th July

Good news!!  We have just heard that Jacqueline has been released and is making her way home from Yarl’s Wood.

It seems that someone with some sense in the Home Office has finally read the report from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and has ordered her release.  It’s too early to know what else may happen in her case now this report has been received and, crucially, read.

People often are cynical about the value of campaigns and emails and letters to the Home Secretary.  Nevertheless, in a few short days nearly 200 of you emailed Theresa May and urged her to look again at this case.  Your emails worked.

Jacqueline is very happy.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks as she settles in to a temporary address (she’s probably lost the National Asylum Seeker Service address she was in before detention), tries to find out if she’s entitled to asylum support again, and as we see what happens next in her case.  She will be without funds initially but we have had some offers to help with that – so, again thank you very much indeed.