Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders client John "Longjones" Abdallah Wambere has been granted asylum in the U.S.
With escalating attacks against the LGBTI Ugandan community, including John himself, in recent years, culminating in the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act this February, John's identity as a gay man and his advocacy for the LGBTI community made it impossible for him to return to Uganda, GLAD stated.
"In May we helped John apply for asylum in coordination with attorney Hema Sarang-Sieminski, and on Sept. 11 the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services approved his application pending a routine security check," the group said.
"I am overwhelmed. I must say that I am blessed, but there are many stories out there. I call upon everyone who helped me to continue to support LGBTI people around the world and all asylum seekers in the U.S. And my thoughts are with Uganda; I have sleepless nights while I worry about my community there," said Wambere.
Read John's full statement here: www.glad.org/uploads/docs/cases/in-re-wambere/wambere-statement-on-gaining-asylum.pdf .
Gary Buseck, GLAD Interim Executive Director/Legal Director, stated: "Asylum is a life-saving system that protects vulnerable members of the LGBTI community forced to flee places like Uganda, Russia, and Jamaica, where it is fundamentally unsafe to be out.
"We are relieved for John and pleased that the U.S. has recognized the moral necessity of providing a safer haven for someone in John's situation. We're hopeful that the U.S. will continue to grant asylum to LGBTI people from around the world who can't enjoy the most basic freedoms in their countries of origin and whose lives are threatened simply because of who they are.
"John, who was in Massachusetts advocating on behalf of his community when the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed, will now be able to continue his important work on behalf of the Ugandan LGBTI community here in the U.S, free from fear of arrests and incarceration.
"It is your ongoing support that allows us to do this critical work for equal justice for all in our community."