Lesbian Ugandan’s landmark deportation trial starts in Germany
A hearing in a Bavarian courthouse began on Monday over the asylum application of a lesbian woman from Uganda.
The woman faces violence and prosecution in her home country. The judge will decide whether the 41-year-old asylum-seeker should be deported, the dpa news agency reported.
LGBT+ people in Uganda can face life imprisonment for engaging in sexual relations, as well as discrimination in private and public spheres. An October 2019 proposed law — referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill — floated the introduction of the death penalty for LGBT+ people. The legislation was later voided.
Case could be a precedent
Advocacy groups say that the case may act as a precedent for LGBT+ refugees in Germany and Europe.
“The court’s decision will be decisive not only for the woman concerned but for countless women who have come to Germany and are in the same situation,” LeTRa, a Munich-based counselling service for lesbians, said in a press statement.
“Life threatening danger [for LGBT+ people] is mostly not recognized by Bavarian authorities,” they added. “This verdict could change that.”
LeTRa has organized a demonstration in front of the courthouse as the hearing takes place.
Will asylum be granted?
The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany, the largest LGBT+ nongovernmental organization in Germany, says that for homosexual people to have asylum cases approved in Germany, it has to be proved in court that “acts of persecution [in the asylum-seeker’s home country] are so severe that they constitute serious violations to basic human rights.”
Most asylum applications from Uganda are rejected, according to figures from Germany’s Agency for Migrants and Refugees. In 2017, of 327 applications for asylum from Ugandans, 220 were rejected, meaning only 17.1% of people were granted protection.
The German government does not gather statistics to show how many of these asylum-seekers left their countries because of their sexual orientation.
A verdict is not expected on Monday.