A Nigerian LGBT activist and nominee for the UK’s largest Diversity Award risks deportation because the Home Office doesn’t believe she is a lesbian.
Aderonke Apata, an asylum seeker based in Manchester has been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model LGBT at The National Diversity Awards.
She is one of the 21,000 people who were nominated in order to be recognised for dedicating their lives to enhancing the equality agenda in the UK.
In spite of terrible violence and human rights violations, Aderonke has chosen to stand up not only for herself, but for others who have experienced injustice.
In Nigeria being gay or transgender is illegal. Aderonke’s campaign says she was arrested, tortured and extorted by the Nigerian Police and forced to endure the murder of three members of her family and girlfriend. She reportedly fled to the UK to seek refuge after being sentenced to death by a Nigerian Shar’ia court.
Aderonke was detained at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre for over one year. She worked to organize peaceful protests to expose the deplorable conditions of Yarl’s Wood and call for reform.
Following her release, Aderonke continued to demand human rights for LGBT people seeking asylum in the UK and to expose inhumane conditions of UK detention centres. Her courageous efforts have sparked public outcry and prompted Home Secretary Theresa May to order investigations to reforming asylum processes to protect the dignity of LGBT people.
Aderonke’s activism resulted in over 300,000 petition signatures from around the world calling for a halt to deportations of LGBT asylum seekers until the process is reformed to protect the dignity and safety of LGBT people.
The Royal Court of Justice is now reviewing Aderonke’s case. “If it is not approved, she will be sent back to Nigeria – and to a certain death. Being legally recognized as a lesbian is a matter of life in the UK or death in Nigeria,” says her campaign.