“His life will be in serious danger if he is deported back to Burundi due to the ethnic clashes and the serious institutional homophobia”. The human rights activists are appealing to the United Nations and the European Parliament to save this young man's life.
Rome, February 8th, 2010.
We have just received news that Alvin Gahimbaze, (whose case we have been following) has been removed from his home by the British authorities and taken to the London detention centre to await deportation back to Burundi after the Border Immigration Agency turned down his application for asylum.
EveryOne Group, (which had already contacted the British Home Office and its representatives in Italy through the British Embassy in Rome) is appealing to the British Government to release the young man as soon as possible and cancel the deportation order. “Alvin”, explain the group's co-presidents, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau “is a young man from the Tutsi ethnic group who fled Burundi with his sister when he was still a boy. The rest of his family was massacred during the ethnic clashes and he has lived in the United Kingdom since 2000. Though his sister has been granted permanent residence in the UK, Alvin now faces deportation.
Alvin has no contacts or means of survival back in Burundi, a country he fled from with his burden of violence and mourning when he was little more than a child. The political situation in the country is totally unstable, human rights are constantly being violated, and survival – in his situation – would be practically impossible.
“What is more” say the human rights activists, “Alvin is a homosexual. He informed the UK authorities of this aspect of his personal life, but his application for asylum was still turned down. We must remember that the Burundi President, Nkurunzia, has issued a law that declares “homosexual acts” illegal. The “crime” foresees prison sentences of up to two years and heavy fines for gay men and women. Gay people in Burundi often fall victim to violence, prevarication and all kinds of humiliation”.
The UK's policies where asylum seekers are concerned still fall short of a respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of the individual. Despite the campaigns undertaken by our group and other European human rights associations there is still a lot of work to do to assert the rights of refugees which are guaranteed by the Charter of Nice and the Geneva Convention.
We are appealing to Navy Pillay the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to intervene and ask the British Government to comply with the regulations concerning the safety of persecuted and discriminated-against citizens and guarantee the humanitarian protection and aid they are entitled to.
We are also appealing to the Members of the EU Parliament (and in particular to the members of the LGBT Intergroup led by Graham Watson and the LIBE committee) to put pressure on the British Foreign Office to grant Alvin Gahimbaze asylum and protection. “Alvin is suffering from depression, his physical and mental state is extremely precarious due to the constant stress and terror of being deported back to Burundi where he risks imprisonment, inhumane and degrading treatment, torture and further injustice - if not worse.
“We are asking international civil society”, conclude Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau “to take action to ensure that a human life is spared from xenophobia, homophobia, political cynicism and indifference.”
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