Canada Denies Visas for 10 Ugandan Gay Activists Invited to Toronto’s World Pride Conference

Concerned that they would seek asylum upon arrival, Canada has denied visas for 10 Ugandan gay activists hoping to attend the World Pride human rights conference in June, the Star reports:

MugishaGay rights advocates say the decisions by the Canadian visa posts in Nairobi and London speak to the hypocrisy of the Stephen Harper government, which, in February, joined other Western nations in condemning Uganda for passing one of the world’s harshest anti-homosexuality laws.

“We are shocked and appalled. These individuals from Uganda are some of the most courageous heroes,” said Andrea Houston of #ENDhatelaws, a coalition founded in response to homophobia/transphobia across the globe, amid the controversy over anti-gay laws passed in Russia prior to the Winter Olympics.

“They are here to share their stories and have every intention to go home after the conference, because they all have work to do in Uganda. The assumption is they are here to claim asylum. The question is: Why can’t they, coming from the most hostile place in the world to LGBTQ people?”

The visa denials began in April.

Well-known Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha is the only one who will come to the conference, and has a multi-entry visa according to the paper.

A review of the visa decisions showed the Ugandan’s applications were rejected for a combination of reasons: lack of travel history, family ties in Canada and in Uganda, and insufficient funds for the trip.

In eight of the applications, officials concluded they did not believe the applicants had a legitimate business purpose in Canada. In six, the officers said the applicants did not have the money to “carry out your stated purpose in going to Canada or to maintain yourself while in Canada and to effect your departure.”

Comments

  1. Gigi says

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!! I live in one of the best countries in the world (Canada), yet we’re run by a conservative government so…we’re not perfect. Hopefully they’ll change their position on this matter.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “KInda feels like 1939. ”

    I think I get your reference, BUBBA. You’re referring to the countries (including the United States) that sent Jewish refugees back to Germany to be murdered.

  3. Philly says

    @GIGI, I agree.

    The Harper government – just like Bieber – is the exception to Canada! We are a people of peace and embrace diversity.

    This hypocrisy in welcoming (and encouraging)immigration to Canada, yet refusing asylum for gay Ugandans speaks volumes of the Harper government: It ain’t Conservative, it is nothing wright-wingnuttery at its worst, and detrimental to the good reputation of our nation. So very anti-Canuckian!

  4. AG says

    They should apply for a US visa. The progressive Obama administration will issue visas to poor Ugandans with no travel history right away.

    To those who never applied for US or Canadian visas, it was sarcasm.

  5. says

    It’s a galling mistake. This is not what Canada is about, Mr. Harper. Andrew Houston of Toronto has been making an impassioned case for this – it’s World Pride and we need their voices here, and we need to do what Canada has traditionally done for centuries – been a beacon of hope and freedom and justice to those still living under oppression.

  6. Janit says

    Didn’t you all know? The West MUST accept asylum seekers from anywhere and everyone. Yup, it’s our job to fix all the world’s problems. We must police the world. We must give our money away in billions of dollars of aid to countries that hate us and everything we stand for. “Asylum seekers”? Yup. Illegal immigrants? Sure. Let’s just be the world’s dumping grounds forever.

  7. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  8. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  9. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  10. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  11. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  12. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  13. steve talbert says

    Asylum is the least we can do. Cutting off all aid to government entities is also what we should do.

    As a 15th grandson from the mayflower and all other direct ancestors here before revolutionary war, I say we are strongest as a country when we welcome the people who want to be here are go through great hardship to try. Less plutocrats buying a ticket in instead.

  14. thrutch says

    In the case of 6 of them were they did not have the funds necessary to effect their departure, that normally means, there is no ticket purchased yet to leave Canada or the funds are not present to buy a ticker back on arrival. Going straight by the border security policy that means denying them visas. i have not explanation for the others adn personally would want them to come and claim asylum

  15. thrutch says

    In the case of 6 of them were they did not have the funds necessary to effect their departure, that normally means, there is no ticket purchased yet to leave Canada or the funds are not present to buy a ticker back on arrival. Going straight by the border security policy that means denying them visas. i have not explanation for the others adn personally would want them to come and claim asylum

  16. Jmac says

    Canada’s refugee system is horribly backed up by people abusing the system, refusing to accept just anyone with no background check is not a bad thing. Go through the proper channels to get here, our economy can’t support an unending stream of asylum seekers

  17. Jmac says

    Canada’s refugee system is horribly backed up by people abusing the system, refusing to accept just anyone with no background check is not a bad thing. Go through the proper channels to get here, our economy can’t support an unending stream of asylum seekers

  18. Neil says

    @PHILLY,

    They have not been refused asylum. They haven’t even asked for asylum. It’s an unfortunate outcome of their visa applications, but they haven’t been denied because the government thinks that they are seeking asylum, per se.

    When people apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) the visa officer has to apply certain criteria to it.

    These include that the visit has a legitimate purpose. Some were refused on this basis, though I think they have a legitimate purpose.

    Your application for a TRP has to satisfy the officer that your visit is indeed temporary and that you will return to your country when the visit is done. This is a judgement call. They weigh certain criteria. If you have a history of visiting other countries and then returning, that’s a good sign, but some of these applicants didn’t. If have ties (relatives and maybe friends) in Canada, it’s also bad because you may have more reason to stay in Canada than return. If you don’t have a job or some kind of property or obligations in your home country it can also be bad, because you may not have motivation to return.

    You also have to have the means to support yourself during your visit (so you don’t work illegally in Canada, for one thing). Some applicants were also found lacking in this aspect.

    While I would like to see all of these applicants at the World Pride events, the visa officers have to follow the rules. They did not apply for refugee status, they only applied for temporary visitor status and they need to qualify for that to get visas.

    I know a lot about this because my common-law husband has been staying with me in Canada for 4 years as we prepare and await the outcome of a permanent resident application. Even though he is American and thus exempt from getting a visa, he has to meet all of those requirements to stay with me.

  19. Neil says

    @PHILLY,

    They have not been refused asylum. They haven’t even asked for asylum. It’s an unfortunate outcome of their visa applications, but they haven’t been denied because the government thinks that they are seeking asylum, per se.

    When people apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) the visa officer has to apply certain criteria to it.

    These include that the visit has a legitimate purpose. Some were refused on this basis, though I think they have a legitimate purpose.

    Your application for a TRP has to satisfy the officer that your visit is indeed temporary and that you will return to your country when the visit is done. This is a judgement call. They weigh certain criteria. If you have a history of visiting other countries and then returning, that’s a good sign, but some of these applicants didn’t. If have ties (relatives and maybe friends) in Canada, it’s also bad because you may have more reason to stay in Canada than return. If you don’t have a job or some kind of property or obligations in your home country it can also be bad, because you may not have motivation to return.

    You also have to have the means to support yourself during your visit (so you don’t work illegally in Canada, for one thing). Some applicants were also found lacking in this aspect.

    While I would like to see all of these applicants at the World Pride events, the visa officers have to follow the rules. They did not apply for refugee status, they only applied for temporary visitor status and they need to qualify for that to get visas.

    I know a lot about this because my common-law husband has been staying with me in Canada for 4 years as we prepare and await the outcome of a permanent resident application. Even though he is American and thus exempt from getting a visa, he has to meet all of those requirements to stay with me.

  20. Neil says

    @PHILLY,

    They have not been refused asylum. They haven’t even asked for asylum. It’s an unfortunate outcome of their visa applications, but they haven’t been denied because the government thinks that they are seeking asylum, per se.

    When people apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) the visa officer has to apply certain criteria to it.

    These include that the visit has a legitimate purpose. Some were refused on this basis, though I think they have a legitimate purpose.

    Your application for a TRP has to satisfy the officer that your visit is indeed temporary and that you will return to your country when the visit is done. This is a judgement call. They weigh certain criteria. If you have a history of visiting other countries and then returning, that’s a good sign, but some of these applicants didn’t. If have ties (relatives and maybe friends) in Canada, it’s also bad because you may have more reason to stay in Canada than return. If you don’t have a job or some kind of property or obligations in your home country it can also be bad, because you may not have motivation to return.

    You also have to have the means to support yourself during your visit (so you don’t work illegally in Canada, for one thing). Some applicants were also found lacking in this aspect.

    While I would like to see all of these applicants at the World Pride events, the visa officers have to follow the rules. They did not apply for refugee status, they only applied for temporary visitor status and they need to qualify for that to get visas.

    I know a lot about this because my common-law husband has been staying with me in Canada for 4 years as we prepare and await the outcome of a permanent resident application. Even though he is American and thus exempt from getting a visa, he has to meet all of those requirements to stay with me.

  21. Neil says

    @PHILLY,

    They have not been refused asylum. They haven’t even asked for asylum. It’s an unfortunate outcome of their visa applications, but they haven’t been denied because the government thinks that they are seeking asylum, per se.

    When people apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) the visa officer has to apply certain criteria to it.

    These include that the visit has a legitimate purpose. Some were refused on this basis, though I think they have a legitimate purpose.

    Your application for a TRP has to satisfy the officer that your visit is indeed temporary and that you will return to your country when the visit is done. This is a judgement call. They weigh certain criteria. If you have a history of visiting other countries and then returning, that’s a good sign, but some of these applicants didn’t. If have ties (relatives and maybe friends) in Canada, it’s also bad because you may have more reason to stay in Canada than return. If you don’t have a job or some kind of property or obligations in your home country it can also be bad, because you may not have motivation to return.

    You also have to have the means to support yourself during your visit (so you don’t work illegally in Canada, for one thing). Some applicants were also found lacking in this aspect.

    While I would like to see all of these applicants at the World Pride events, the visa officers have to follow the rules. They did not apply for refugee status, they only applied for temporary visitor status and they need to qualify for that to get visas.

    I know a lot about this because my common-law husband has been staying with me in Canada for 4 years as we prepare and await the outcome of a permanent resident application. Even though he is American and thus exempt from getting a visa, he has to meet all of those requirements to stay with me.

  22. northoftheborderguy says

    well.. not that this is entirely related… but was watching an episode of “Border Security” and they included this woman from France who had landed in Vancouver to meet her “bf” who she’d “met” on facebook and was meeting him in person for the very first time. She was a complete bohemian. zero money. lied to the border guards. and was going to stay with her “bf” who was currently living in a homeless shelter. Um.. I dont think so. back to Paris you go. buhbye.

  23. northoftheborderguy says

    well.. not that this is entirely related… but was watching an episode of “Border Security” and they included this woman from France who had landed in Vancouver to meet her “bf” who she’d “met” on facebook and was meeting him in person for the very first time. She was a complete bohemian. zero money. lied to the border guards. and was going to stay with her “bf” who was currently living in a homeless shelter. Um.. I dont think so. back to Paris you go. buhbye.

  24. Neil says

    @PHILLY,

    They have not been refused asylum. They haven’t even asked for asylum. It’s an unfortunate outcome of their visa applications, but they haven’t been denied because the government thinks that they are seeking asylum, per se.

    When people apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) the visa officer has to apply certain criteria to it.

    These include that the visit has a legitimate purpose. Some were refused on this basis, though I think they have a legitimate purpose.

    Your application for a TRP has to satisfy the officer that your visit is indeed temporary and that you will return to your country when the visit is done. This is a judgement call. They weigh certain criteria. If you have a history of visiting other countries and then returning, that’s a good sign, but some of these applicants didn’t. If have ties (relatives and maybe friends) in Canada, it’s also bad because you may have more reason to stay in Canada than return. If you don’t have a job or some kind of property or obligations in your home country it can also be bad, because you may not have motivation to return.

    You also have to have the means to support yourself during your visit (so you don’t work illegally in Canada, for one thing). Some applicants were also found lacking in this aspect.

    While I would like to see all of these applicants at the World Pride events, the visa officers have to follow the rules. They did not apply for refugee status, they only applied for temporary visitor status and they need to qualify for that to get visas.

    I know a lot about this because my common-law husband has been staying with me in Canada for 4 years as we prepare and await the outcome of a permanent resident application. Even though he is American and thus exempt from getting a visa, he has to meet all of those requirements to stay with me.

  25. northoftheborderguy says

    well.. not that this is entirely related… but was watching an episode of “Border Security” and they included this woman from France who had landed in Vancouver to meet her “bf” who she’d “met” on facebook and was meeting him in person for the very first time. She was a complete bohemian. zero money. lied to the border guards. and was going to stay with her “bf” who was currently living in a homeless shelter. Um.. I dont think so. back to Paris you go. buhbye.

  26. Neil says

    @NorthoftheBorderGuy, you, she’d have had zero reason to want to go back home. I have had enough problems before telling border guards that I was going to meet my boyfriend who I’d only talked to online and was going to stay at his house, etc. At first I didn’t even want to say I had a boyfriend in case the border guard was homophobic.

  27. Unhappy Hoser says

    Just look at all of the other things the Cdn Gov is trying to pull off.
    Those 10 people might have something really important to say to the rest of the world, now they will not have the chance.
    Canadians can only hope for a better future.

  28. Jason says

    As a Canadian it sickens me to know our government (who is funded and propped up by American Republicans with oil money) would ignore our constitution (the most modern and progressive constitution in the world – the first and only one to specifically make anti-gay discrimination illegal). The reasons stated “because you might seek asylum” is the very reason we should grant those visas!

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