LGBTQ exile dies in UK

A young Namibian, who had sought asylum in Britain to escape discrimination at home, has taken his own life.

26 April 2021 | Social Issues

JANA-MARI SMITH

WINDHOEK



A young Namibian, who reportedly fled Namibia and sought asylum in Britain because of discrimination experienced due to his bisexuality, has committed suicide.

While devastated family and friends declined to go on record about Romeo Tjijandjeua Nguase's death, it was confirmed that a funding drive is under way to return his body to Namibia for burial.

The 22-year-old refugee from LGBTQ persecution in Namibia allegedly sought asylum in the UK three years ago.

“So sorry that our asylum system failed you Romeo, you should have been safe here. Rest in peace and power,” a friend wrote online last week.

Members of his football team wrote about his last game before lockdown, where he had displayed “some amazing ability and created our only goal in a 1-1 draw.”

Yesterday the ministry of international relations and immigration confirmed they were informed of his death, and that he was an asylum seeker.

The ministry could not yet confirm the cause of death, or the reasons for his seeking asylum in the UK.

They were working to contact family to “find out how they would like to proceed with the body.”

The embassy in the United Kingdom, through the ministry, added “it should be noted a person who has claimed asylum has forfeited their citizenship.”



Tragedy

Multiple British media outlets reported that Nguase died by suicide on 16 April after he became severely depressed and isolated in the wake of a forced relocation from Glasgow to the city of Hull.

It was reported that in Glasgow he lived close to relatives and had been severely unhappy about the relocation. In Hull he was reportedly placed in accommodation that was below standard and he was struggling financially. Moreover, he did not have sufficient access to resources to help him cope with his struggles.

Nguase, according to several reports, fled Namibia three years ago. Relatives who were close to him were quoted by British newspapers that he was forced into self-exile after facing abuse from family and friends due to his status as a bisexual man.

It was reported that he first moved in with friends in Manchester, but then became homeless for a short period.

Later he moved to Glasgow after he claimed asylum.

Following his relocation, he experienced severe depression and isolation.

The MailOnline on Thursday last week quoted a relative who said Nguase had made a failed suicide attempt in early April, for which he was hospitalised. It was reported that his next of kin was not contacted, and that Nguase received no support for his mental health.

An inquest is under way, the Home Office in Britain confirmed last week.



Discrimination

In Namibia, the battle by LGBTQ communities to be protected against state-sanctioned homophobia and to receive equal treatment under the constitution and laws continues.

Recent events have spotlighted the gross violation of the community's human dignity and constitutional rights, according to legal experts and the LGBTQ fraternity.

In recent weeks the discrimination against LGBTQ families and individuals has been at the centre of widespread debates, as Namibian Phillip Lühl and husband, Guillermo Delgado battle to bring new-born twins Maya and Paula home.

Government has refused to issue travel documents to the twins, who are legally the children of Delgado and Lühl.

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