Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (Right)
Canada has been accused of unnecessarily delaying the granting of asylum to Malawi’s Tiwonge Chimbalanga.
Chimbalanga was one of two individuals arrested in late 2009 on charges of homosexuality who were later pardoned.
According to a report by LGBT Aslumn News, Chimbalanga – who identifies as female – was recently recognised, robbed and beaten and remains in constant physical danger.
She is said to be threateningly mobbed by people when trying to go about her business in public, such as when going to the doctor.
According to David Jones, an American volunteer with CEDEP-Malawi, “[Chimbalanga] is still confined, and living with emotional trauma and physical danger” and “is hiding in a house in a neighbourhood of Lilongwe”.
The first step in Chimbalanga’s application for asylum in Canada is now dependent on a visa to travel to that country. Her supporters fear, however, that she may be beaten again or even killed before she is able to leave Malawi.
Chimbalanga and her then partner Steven Monjeza were arrested in December last year after they held a public marriage ceremony.
Monjeza was found guilty of “having carnal knowledge of Tiwonge through the anus, which is against the order of nature” and Chimbalanga guilty of “permitting buggery”. They were both sentenced to 14 years in prison with hard labour.
The couple were pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika in May following intervention by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
Chimbalanga and Monjeza split up soon after and remain estranged.