Three Ugandans denied Denmark visas for Pride event

Three LGBT rights activists from Uganda have been denied visas to enter Denmark despite having been invited to take part in the Copenhagen Pride event.

Three Ugandans denied Denmark visas for Pride event
A Pride event last month in the Namibian capital Windhoek. Photo: Hildegard Titus/AFP/Scanpix

The Ugandans – a gay man and two lesbian women – were invited by the LGBT Denmark organisation to speak about their work on a Danish-supported project for homosexual people in the African country.

But the three were denied visas, partly because authorities were concerned they would not returned home after the 15th-20th August event, reports the Politiken newspaper.

LGBT Denmark’s project manager Susanne Branner Jespersen told Politiken that the decision not to issues visas by Danish authorities could be considered discriminatory.

“It is absurd that no consideration is taken as to what they are coming here for and that we have vouched for them. We have made our own assessment as to who we believe will travel home again, since we are well aware of the risk of people from countries like Uganda not doing so,” Jespersen said.

According to Politiken’s report, the decision not to issues visas to the three Ugandans was based in part on their young age, marital status and the fact that they are not land owners – although the latter is disputed by Jespersen, who said that the two women do in fact own land in Uganda.

“It is not possible for homosexuals to marry in Uganda. So this is a rejection on the basis of a status they cannot possibly achieve. That is a discriminatory practice in itself,” she said.

Jespersen added that marrying someone of the same sex in Uganda carries the risk of “life imprisonment”.

Denmark’s visa processing in Uganda is outsourced to Norway’s embassy in Kampala, which processed and rejected the applications, according to the report.

LGBT Denmark and one of the two female applicants have submitted appeals against the decision.

Amnesty International, which has also invited the three activists to speak at Copenhagen Pride, called the visa rejections “shameful”.

“The Danish government supports both in words and actions LGBT rights in Uganda and many other countries and it is therefore important that it also supports human rights activists that actually put their lives at risk for the rights of homosexuals in Uganda,” Amnesty Denmark’s programme manager Helle Jacobsen told Politiken.

Opposition politician Sofie Carsten Nielsen of the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party told new agency Ritzau that the government should intervene in the issue.

“It is important, because there are countries around the world, including Uganda, that do not recognise that homosexual, bisexual and trans people have the same rights as others,” Carsten Nielsen said.

In 2016, seven Ugandans were granted asylum in Denmark and 33 rejected, including a number in which homosexuality formed part of the basis for application, according to Politiken’s report.

READ ALSO: Denmark maintains positive record on LGBTI rights

For members


Can you travel in and out of Denmark if you lose your residence card?

Non-EU nationals who legally reside in Denmark are issued with a plastic card which functions as a residence permit and must normally be presented when entering the country. What do you do if you misplace it?

Can you travel in and out of Denmark if you lose your residence card?

I’ve lost my residence permit. What do I do?

Everyone who is granted a Danish residence permit receives a residence card – they are issued automatically and delivered by post 2-3 weeks after the permit is granted.

The residence card is proof of your right to reside in Denmark and must be kept on you at all times – although in practice, most people only ever have to produce it when returning to Denmark after a trip abroad.

You can – indeed, should – apply for a new card if you have lost your residence card, but also for other reasons such as a change of name or if you have reached the age of 18 and need the card for the first time.

If you have lost your residence card, you must complete a police declaration form declaring a lost passport or identity document. This can be downloaded via the website of the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), the agency which processes the application.

It is available in three languages: Danish, English and German. Here is a direct link to the English one.

The declaration must be signed and stamped by the police – so you’ll need to visit your local station. It can then be submitted along with your application for a new residence card. 

You can find a link to the application system along with a checklist for the paperwork on SIRI’s website. Required documentation will include a copy of your passport. Note a fee is payable either using a Danish bank card (Dankort) or the MobilePay app, except in certain cases (like if you are sent a card with erroneous data).

You may also need to book an appointment with your local Borgerservice (Citizens’ Service) to have biometric data recorded for the ID.

If you received your original card within the last 10 years, however, this step won’t be necessary because biometric features (fingerprints and facial images) are stored for 10 years. If you later become a Danish citizen, by the way, this data is deleted.

I’ve applied for a replacement residence card but have a trip abroad coming up soon. What can I do?

If you need to travel outside the country before your new permit is delivered, you can apply for a one-time re-entry permit for a specific trip.

This requires an in-person appointment with SIRI although there is no fee for issuing the re-entry permit. You can book an appointment with your closest SIRI branch office here.

When you go to the appointment, you must bring a passport and a completed and printed application form. The form can be downloaded from SIRI in Word or pdf format.

The re-entry permit takes the form of a visa sticker in your passport.  Conditions apply to its being granted, such as legal residency in Denmark and possession of a valid passport.

Normally, you can only be granted a re-entry permit for a specific trip, valid for 90 days. SIRI will usually ask for documentation of your journey (flight tickets, for example).

If you are already outside of Denmark when you lose your permit, you can submit your application for a re-entry permit at the nearest Danish diplomatic mission. A list of these can be found on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The application is normally processed immediately when you submit at a SIRI office, but will take longer when applying from abroad.

READ ALSO: Danish residence cards promised to ‘no surname’ foreign nationals