A gay Ugandan man to be deported from Canada due to inability to verify his sexual orientation.
A 25-year-old gay man who has been living and working in Edmonton, Canada, since 2018 is about to be deported back to Uganda after his refugee application was denied. The man, identified as “Sue” to protect his identity, came to Canada as an international student and had been working as a nurse, but his work visa expired.
According to Global News Canada, Sue is now being forced to leave Canada and return to Uganda, where same-sex behaviour has been criminalised, and a death sentence is possible for someone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, which was passed in March 2023 despite widespread opposition, also criminalises promoting or abetting homosexuality, raising concerns about free speech and LGBTQ+ organisations.
Sue is concerned for his safety and has nowhere to go, as even the place he thought would comfort him is forcing him out. According to the report, his application for refugee status, as well as subsequent appeals, were rejected allegedly because the immigration authorities could not verify his sexual orientation.
Speaking to Sue’s lawyer, Michael Battista, with Battista Migration Law Group based in Toronto, said Sue talked about his experiences in Uganda, shared evidence of his participation in the LGBTQ community in Edmonton, and presented an affidavit from a well-known Ugandan LGBTQ activist to verify his sexual orientation. Still, decision-makers have not considered it so far.
Battista added that Canada has moratoriums that block the deportation of members of other communities around the world to places where they’d be in danger.
“I’m not sure why Canada hasn’t put a moratorium in place for the deportation of LGBTQ Ugandans, but given the deterioration of the human rights situation in that country, it would be, I think, a very good policy move on the part of the government of Canada.”
Sue narrated how the whole process, which started in April 2022, has drained him emotionally and financially.
“I thought it would be the other way around, that I’d be comfortable, as I am, in Canada. The fact that I have to prove my sexuality beyond reasonable doubt is quite ridiculous to me.”
“This whole thing is a horror. I feel like I’m in a nightmare, and I really want to wake up, but I cannot,” he added. “I’m just praying and hoping that the government can intervene.”