Following the campaign by MFJ in London and with support across the Netherlands, Kalanzi was freed from imprsonment. Within weeks of his release he was granted asylum. The case has been important to the possibility of widening the protections for refugees in particular lgbt asylum seekers; if we can do this, then we can fight for immigrant rghts for all – whether lgbt or not, we move so we can make our lives better and survive and that is no crime. Thanks to everyone who supported, signed petitions and demonstrated at the Netherlands embassy in London.
Now Kalanzi is speaking up and encouraging others to fight for their rights too. The best way to celebrate is to tell everyone about how we won, and strengthen and teach more people how to fight. Organising our communities together as people with and without citisenship, we have the power to build a better, more human society.
Build the movement!
Free Kalanzi Marvin Richard – 24year-old Gay Uganda Activist, standing for freedom and justice and detained in a Dutch Prison (Netherlands).
The Netherlands is known as one of the foremost countries in the World for recognising and protecting the rights of LGBT people. However, behind closed doors, the Human Rights of gay men and Lesbians are being abused by the Dutch authorities, who are deporting Gay and Lesbian asylum seekers back to countries where their sexuality is not accepted and where they face torture, imprisonment, forced marriage and death at the hands of anti-gay mobs.
KALANZI M. Richard Lived openly and proudly as a gay man in Uganda, despite the abuse and threats he faced. His sexuality was a common knowledge in his country and anti-gay bigots campaigned for his arrest. As a result he was imprisoned, beaten and tortured.
Kalanzi fled Uganda and came to the Netherlands early in 2011 and applied for asylum upon his arrival. The Dutch IND (immigration authorities) acknowledged his sexuality as a gay man from Uganda, but they disputed how he got to the Netherlands, hence his asylum was refused. Kalanzi was forcefully requested to sign a letter agreeing to his deportation of which he refused to do. He was taken to Rotterdam Prison on 28th June 2011 and until today he doesn’t know when he will ever be released.
In Uganda there is a particularly toxic climate for LGBT people. The Parliament has brought the Anti-Gay Bill back in the house, and this time they are more than willing to pass it. This legislation would sentence LGBT people to life imprisonment or execution, and violence toward LGBT people is rampant in the country. Despite this the IND is still trying to deport Kalanzi Marvin back to Uganda. The IND often come to the prison to ask him to sign the deportation letter, but he has continuously refused and he was assured on the last occasion that if he doesn’t sign the papers he was going to rot in the prison.
We cannot let this happen to Kalanzi. LGBT asylum seekers like Kalanzi must have the right to live openly and in safety; this is basic Human Right. Many people like Kalanzi are stuck in Dutch prisons as though they committed crimes: escaping from persecution is not a crime. Kalanzi must be free to live and love as who he is.