Celebrated human rights campaigner Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera who was invited to speak at a Pride event in Northern Ireland, has been denied a visa by UK authorities over supposed concerns regarding her financial status.
Nabagesera was scheduled to speak at the Foyle Pride Festival in Derry next week to discuss her battle to try and secure LGBT rights in Uganda, a country where homosexuality is openly vilified and administratively persecuted. However, in what is apparently a first for Nabagesera who has traveled the world giving such talks, UK authorities have this week decided to deny her permission to enter the country.
Despite travelling throughout the world and being recognised for her continued commitments for human rights in Uganda, the founder and Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, was refused entry into the UK over concerns over her financial status at home in Uganda, a query which has never arisen before, making the UK the only country in her international tour to deny this inspirational character entry.
It has been speculated that authorities questioned whether Nabagesera’s lack of financial stability meant that once having gained entry to the UK she may try to stay.
Foyle Pride organizer Shay Gillespie is also quoted on the blog as saying, “Foyle Pride has invested heavily in bringing Kasha to Derry despite having a very limited budget and relying on donations and the support of local businesses, money and resources that will now be lost. I can’t understand why the UK is the only country to deny her entry and deny the opportunity for the people of Derry and Northern Ireland as a whole the chance to hear this inspirational woman speak. We intend to publish an online petition on our facebook page and urge everyone to go and register their disgust. Gay Rights have come a long way in this country but actions like this demonstrate how far they need to come. ”
Paul Canning over at LGBT Asylum News has a statement from the UK border authority in which the agency makes it clear the onus is on the individual to prove they meet immigration criteria. The statement also stresses, however, that an individual denied entry at the discretion of border authorities is allowed to reapply at any time. The statement does not comment directly on Nabagesera’s case. You can read the statement here.
Nabagesera may be known to readers as the most recent recipient of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Nabagesera, as an out lesbian campaigner in Uganda, has fought for the rights of others in her country at great personal risk and reports receiving death threats on a regular basis.