A 35-year-old gay man from Uganda has been denied asylum in the UK after he failed to prove that he was a homosexual. Robert Kityo, who has been staying in Manchester since 2011, now faces the possibility of deportation to his home country, where homosexuality is illegal.
Kityo was reportedly denied asylum by the Home Office on the grounds that he could live discreetly as a gay man in his home country. "It is not accepted that you are a homosexual and an openly gay man," The Independent quoted an official letter that was sent on behalf of Home Secretary Theresa May.
Kityo, who is a well-known LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activist, fears for his life if he is sent back to Uganda, where in the past the police there had reportedly ill-treated him on grounds of his sexuality. "I'm very scared. I'm a gay man and in Manchester I am able to be who I am. I have made many friends here who accept me and love me. But I'm frightened that I will be killed if I am sent back to Uganda. It isn't safe to be a gay man in Uganda," Kityo said.
Kityo was detained by immigration officials in Pennine House immigration detention centre at Manchester Airport on 10 November but was later released as the Home Office wanted to take a more detailed look at his case. In support of Kityo's claim, more than 30 people have sent letters to the Home Office, while more than 1,900 people have signed a petition. The Bishop of Manchester has also backed Kityo's asylum claim.
Kityo's legal team had sent a new application in September seeking asylum for him but the Home Office said: "Most of the people who have written the letters and statements appear to have known you only since 2014. This undermines your case for being an openly gay man."
"The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration last year praised our guidance and training on handling sexual orientation claims, stating that it was clear and concise," The Home Office said. It added: "We worked closely with organisations such as Stonewall, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to develop this training, which is now mandatory for our caseworkers."
Kityo, who had arrived in the UK on a student visa, said a warrant had been issued for his arrest if he returned to Uganda. He also said that his homosexual partner had been jailed in Uganda. However, his claim was denied back in 2013.