Fleeing for a life.

Author:Polley, Samuel
Position::People: focus
 
FREE EXCERPT

A constant war rages across the globe; a battle for equal rights regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, social status, or sexual orientation. In the last year discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans (LGBT) community has hit the news sporadically with the the Sochi games was overshadowed by the anti homosexual propaganda laws and Uganda, after some deliberation, decided to sign in a law to make homosexuality illegal.

I met with two young men who represent many who have faced discrimination because of their sexual oreintation and feel they no longer have any choice but to flee their countries to one where they feel safe. They explain why they had no choice but to travel to Switzerland and plead to stay.

Switzerland, whilst being conservative on many matters, is fairly liberal towards the gay communities. During WW2 Zurich became a gay capital with the Nazi regime putting pressure on anyone perceived to be 'different' in Berlin. Today, as one of the relatively few countries in the world that give rights to homosexual civil partnerships, there is a vibrant gay community in Switzerland. For those that flee to Switzerland, though, whilst being grateful for the chance to claim asylum and escape difficult circumstances, it is not necessarily an easy journey.

Eviction

Daniel * arrived in Switzerland from Uganda for a business summit two years ago. He is an eloquent, well-educated, smartly dressed young man, with an air of confidence, easily overcoming his pre-interview nerves. In Uganda he had a good job and his own business, but socially his situation was troubled.

Along with his boyfriend and a group of friends, Daniel was arrested whilst enjoying a night out. Scared and confused, Daniel was kept in prison for 10 days, longer than the legally allowed 48 hours. He had been singled out and treated differently to the other petty criminals in prison with him. He tells me "I was questioned about my sexual encounters. I had to tell them the details, if I didn't I would have been beaten!" He had no choice but to comply and accept the treatment dealt out to him, until finally being bailed out by a friend.

Outside prison, rumours about his arrest had spread to his area. He was informed that he had been "expelled" from the zone by the area Chairman, and was forced to stay with various friends in other parts of the city. Daniel's private life had made him homeless.

Traveling to Switzerland meant skipping bail. The police were missing...

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