A gay Nigerian asylum seeker whose life is in danger has been refused refuge in UK after a UK Judge deemed that having sexual relations with men was not good enough evidence of homosexuality. This is despite the coalition governments pledge that: “We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation”
It is also in direct contradiction of David Cameron's pledge in 2010 that: “those Africans seeking asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and at real risk of persecution in their home countries should be allowed to stay in the UK”.
Olalekan M Ayelokun (Ola) was refused asylum on the 30th March 2012 by a Judge who claimed he was “…satisfied that he (Ola) has simply done this (had sex with men) in order to fabricate a claim of homosexuality and not because he has any genuine homosexual feelings" This was despite witnesses who attended the hearing who had known the defendant & socialised with him as a gay man for over a year as well as those who gave evidence that they had previously had sexual relations with him.
This ruling indicates that even if video or photographic evidence of the defendant having sexual relations with men had been presented to the judge this would not have been deemed sufficient evidence of homosexuality and calls into question the governments policies and the application of the law when it comes to gay asylum in the UK
In Ola’s native Nigeria being gay carries the death penalty (in the Muslim north) and 14yrs in prison (in the Christian south). To qualify for a refugee-status under the 1951 Refugee Convention (the Geneva Convention) one should have a well-founded fear of being persecuted if they are a ‘member of a particular social group’, who share a common characteristics and have a distinct identity due to the perception in the society of origin. On this ground Ola should be protected against persecution by the Refugee Convention. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, forbids sending someone to a situation where he or she has a ‘real risk’ of being subjected to ‘torture or an inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.
Ola has now lodged a further appeal (14th June 2012) to the upper tribunal but has yet to hear if his appeal will be granted. A campaign is currently underway to save Ola from deportation and campaigners are looking for the support from individuals & organisations although the campaigners are currently at a loss as to how to 'prove' Ola's sexuality in law given that a Judge found that actually having sexual relations with men & living & socialising as a gay man is insufficient proof of sexuality.