Saturday 25 November 2017

Woman who says she fled Nigeria after family threatened to kill her over lesbian relationships fails in legal challenge to refugee status refusal

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

A WOMAN who says she fled her native Nigeria after her family threatened to kill her over being involved in lesbian activity has failed in a legal challenge to being refused refugee status here.

The woman, aged in her thirties, alleges she is bisexual, was introduced to same-sex relationships while a teenager in Nigeria, and continued to have same sex relationships along with heterosexual relationships.

She claimed, after her sister discovered her with a girl in August 2011, her family, who are Christian,  threw her out and threatened to kill her. She she fled to Lagos to another sister who told her to leave after being told by their parents what she had done, she says.

She claimed she then met a man, referred to as T,  who let her live with him for a time. She claimed she later she had a relationship wth a girl whose Muslim father threatened to have her stoned after he found out about them.

As a result of these events, she claimed T arranged for her to travel to Ireland in 2011. She claimed she met another man, H, on arrival here and lived with him until she told him in July 2012 she was bisexual.  She also claimed H was the father of her son, who was born here.

She sought refugee status on grounds including an alleged well-founded fear of persecution in view of laws in Nigeria which fail to afford ppropriate protections to persons in the LGBT community.

A Bill prohibiting same-sex marriage, and providing for 14 years jail for those who marry a person of the same sex, was approved by the Nigerian Senate last year, the court heard.

She appealed to the High Court against a 2012 decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal upholding the refusal of her application for refugee status on grounds including  that several of her claims were not credible.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Robert Eagar said the tribunal had reasonably found several of the woman's claims lacked credibility.

The finding by the tribunal the woman had not said why T took her in and there was no clear evidence why he would do so was reasonable, the judge said.

It was also reasonable for the tribunal to find the woman's account she remained in T's yard for two days despite being threatened she would be stoned to death by T's landlord, the Muslim father of the girl she allegedly had a relationship with, did not "add up".

The tribunal also reasonably that the woman's claim that, within hours of arriving in Dublin, she met "another perfect stranger", a man, who had agreed to let her stay with him and later became pregnant by him "beggared belief", he said.

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