Campaigners in the fight to keep Nigerian LGBT activist Aderonke Apata in the UK are calling on those who support her right to stay to vote for her to receive a high-profile award.
If 47-year old Aderonke were to win the National Diversity Award for LGBT Positive Role Model, campaign leaders say, it would strengthen her campaign and help her chances of receiving asylum in the UK.
“Aderonke deserves this exemplary award not only for her extraordinary courage as a lesbian Nigerian asylum-seeker, but also because her experiences have led her to stand up for the dignity and justice of thousands other LGBT people in search of safety, security, and happiness,” says a spokesperson from Manchester Migrant Solidarity.
Aderonke currently faces a death sentence for adultery, imposed by the sharia courts, if she returns to Nigeria. She also fears for her life as a known LGBT activist and had to bribe police to allow her to escape the country. She faces 14 years’ imprisonment from the national courts of her homeland. Her partner was murdered in the country before she fled to the UK 10 years ago. Her asylum case has still not been resolved.
We’ve been covering the case of Aderonke for a while, after one of our contributors (Amy Ashendon) interviewed her for LGBT History Month Magazine. Gavin Kelleher also wrote a powerful opinion piece about LGBT asylum seekers and the lengths they have to go to in order to be granted right to remain.
Aderonke wishes to remain in the UK to ensure her safety and to allow her to continue living with her fiancee. Aderonke’s petition is steadily gaining support across the country, including from veteran LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, and now has over 26,000 signatures. You can watch Aderonke speak about her plight below and demand #AsylumforAderonke on Twitter.
You can vote for Aderonke at the National Diversity Awards website.