The United Reformed Church has expressed its support for the campaign to halt the deportation of refused asylum seeker, Brenda Namigadde to Uganda, based on grave concerns for her physical safety as well as her spiritual and emotional well being.
The recent murder of the Ugandan gay activist David Kato significantly increases the dangers of her return to Uganda, say human rights advocates.
“Deporting Ms Namigadde to the life-threatening persecution she fled eight years ago because of her sexual orientation is counter to the gospel values of love-informed justice and compassion which Christians subscribe to,” said Simon Loveitt, the public issues spokesperson of the United Reformed Church.
He continued: “It is also contradicts the tradition of providing sanctuary to persecuted minorities and individuals over centuries in the UK and runs counter to the unanimous judgement of the UK Supreme Court last July, which ruled that homosexual asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if being repatriated would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality.”
At its 1999 General Assembly, the URC passed an anti-homophobia resolution stating: “Assembly condemns violence against homosexual people and urges all members of the United Reformed Church to be vocal in their opposition of homophobia” and, in November 2009 the denomination publically expressed its concern at the Ugandan Anti-Homosexual Bill.
Ms Namigadde, who fled Uganda eight years ago after violence and threats against her and her partner, Janet Hoffman, has had her application for asylum in the UK turned down by an appeal judge (partly because the judge did not believe there was any evidence that she was a lesbian).
The High Court will hold an appeal hearing tomorrow (2 February 2011) to decide whether Brenda Namigadde will be granted asylum, or whether she will be deported to Uganda.
The United Reformed Church comprises one hundred thousand people in 1600 congregations. It has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists and members of the Churches of Christ. Worldwide, more than 80 million Christians are members of the Reformed family of churches, the largest Protestant tradition.
The name ‘Reformed’ is used because the churches began to emerge with reformation movements in sixteenth century Europe.
For more on the Brenda Namigadde campaign, and to sign the letter of support, go to: http://www.allout.org/brenda