Malawi ‘bisexual’ mum fights deportation from UK

Malawian woman and a mother of three, Angeline Pirira Mwafulirwa is claiming refugee status in the UK, saying that as a bisexual she faces serious threats to her safety in Malawi because of her sexuality.

She has provided evidence to the authorities that she has had same sex partners since her arrival in the UK.

Mwafulirwa says that the Malawi Constitution makes homosexuality illegal in the country, and that the LGBT community in Malawi has often been subject to imprisonment, police violence, and exclusion from housing and health services as a result of their sexual orientation.

Mwafulirwa: Claims to be bisexual

Mrs Mwafulirwa further claims that, if the family is deported, then her children are at risk from her ex-husband and his family, who may attempt to take custody of them and that overzealous members will subject her two daughters to female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Home Office has refused to grant asylum to Mrs Mwafulirwa and she and her family were taken into custody at their house in Glasgow, Scotland.

Their deportation flight was cancelled last week.

Details of Mrs Mwafulirwa’s stay in the UK are sketchy. She first arrived there in 2006 with her husband. However, she separated from him after starting a relationship with a woman.

Mrs Mwafulirwa has three children aged 12, 10 and 2 years old. The first two were born in Malawi, while the last born was in the UK.

Two charitable organizations in Scotland, Unity Centre Glasgow and Waverly Care, are supporting Mrs Mwafulirwa in her asylum bid. The first mentioned organization supports refugees, while the latter is a leading HIV charity.

Recent developments, as reported by the Socialist Worker, are that Mrs Mwafulirwa was brought for an interview to the Home Office in Glasgow. Ten minutes later she emerged to cheers from a crowd of her supporters.

She said, “When I saw all the people who had come to support me I felt really relieved. The Home Office people agreed to look at my medical report and I hope they will decide favourably.”

Margaret Woods of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said, “Today shows that protest works. We’re now organizing for a Scotland-wide march on Wednesday 6 June.”

Mwafulirwa’s case bears striking similarities to that of Florence Mhango, who was also a resident of Glasgow. She too separated from her husband in the UK, and claimed asylum.

She said that if she was returned to Malawi then her daughter, Precious aged 11, would be taken away by her ex-husbands family, subjected to  Female Genital Mutilation  and forced into marriage by the time she was 14.

The case attracted a lot of attention in Scotland, being backed by various politicians, celebrities, and charitable organizations. Eventually she lost her case, even after appealing directly to the Home Secretary. It is not known if Mrs Mhango was deported or remains in hiding.

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