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UK asylum seeker needs even more proof he's gay

Valerie Ediage seeks asylum in the UK, but The Home Office needs more proof he's gay.
Photo credit:
bbc.com

An asylum seeker who left his country of Cameroon to settle in the UK says he fears that he will be deported because The Home Office says they don't have enough evidence to prove he is gay.

Valerie Ediage, 30, who lives in West Bromwich arrived in England six years ago, fleeing his homeland for fear that if he were to remain there, he would be imprisoned or worse. 

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and offenders could spend up to five years in jail.

The Home Office, the department of the UK government which handles immigration, declined to comment about Ediage’s case according to BBC News, but said in order for applicant seeking asylum to be approved they need to show they face “face persecution, inhumane or degrading treatment to qualify for protection.”

Ediage volunteers at a support group for gay people in Coventry and says he left Cameroon for exactly the reasons The Home Office describes as qualifications; he “lived in fear,” and had to hide who he was.

"In the UK I live freely," he said. "I go to Gay Pride... gay pubs - you can't in Cameroon. You fear prosecution and torture."

He lives with his partner, also from Cameroon, who was granted UK residency.

Ediage is awaiting the approval of his latest application, saying that he has supplied the agency with enough proof of his sexuality, including intimate photos with his partner and letters of support from members of the LGBT community.

"They [the Home Office] say I haven't given them sufficient evidence but I have given them everything," he said.

Aimee Challenor, the equality spokesperson for the UK's Green Party, a political organization which advocates for LGBT rights, endorses Ediage.

"Valerie has been a committed member of our community in Coventry,” said Challenor. "He has been instrumental in setting a LGBT migrant support group in Coventry, he has attended Pride parades in Birmingham….I cannot see how the Government has made this decision."

The Home Office reiterates that in order for an applicant to be approved for UK protections, they must establish that going back to their home country would result in persecution, degrading and inhumane treatment.

The orgnization says they are committed to improving the asylum process for those wanting asylum based on their sexuality and, “decision-makers are provided with dedicated guidance and training on the management of such claims".