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Emily Yeh has lived in Newport for 18 months, arriving to seek sanctuary from Taiwan. She refused to be an intelligence officer for the Taiwanese government as she became morally uncomfortable with the work she was asked to carry out.
She was detained on Tuesday 10th December, “Human Rights Day”, and held at Newport Central Police Station. As soon as news came out that she was to be forcibly removed from the police station to a detention centre, some 25 friends turned up to show solidarity and kept a presence there for over 12 hours. She is now in imprisoned in Yarl’s Wood, a detention centre run by Serco, on behalf of the UK Home Office, who intend to forcibly remove her from the UK.
Since then, her friends and other activists have set up a campaign (originally referring to her as M.Y. to protect her identity) calling for her to be returned to Newport – where she can continue to build a new life for herself within the community where she has become such an important and valued member. In Taiwan she would face a very uncertain future. There is a website and a Facebook page with daily updated information.
Hundreds of emails and phone calls later – most during a phone blockade of EVA Airways, who were due to fly her out of the UK – Emily is still in the UK, but has been taken ill; with bad stomach pains, blood in her urine, and a diagnosis of kidney stones, and possible epilepsy.
Emily is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support she has received, and, as she attempts to recover from her illnesses, almost definitely made worse by the stress of her situation, she is in talks with her solicitor, who is also fighting for her to stay in the UK, as is her right under the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Her friends have reported that Emily claims that staff at Yarl’s Wood had “pushed (her) off her seat” and that there were “bad things said to her/about her”. If confirmed, this would be a serious allegation against the staff there, especially after when much controversy has already surrounded Yarl’s Wood, after hunger strikes, fires and the recent sexual abuse some of the woman detainees have suffered at the hands of its staff.
The campaign still hopes and plans to continue trying to persuade the airline not to take Emily, and for the Home Office to release her so that she can be returned to Newport where she belongs.
If you want to get in touch with the campaign, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
People from Cardiff joined the ‘Dignity not Destitution March’ in Bristol this weekend, in solidarity with destitute asylum seekers. Marches and demonstrations were also held in Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow.
This weekend, Cardiff Migrant Solidarity are announcing the creation of a new resource called Share Dydd. Share Dydd aims to offer hospitality, in theform of accommodation, meals, welcome and solidarity, to destitute asylum seekers in Cardiff.
Asylum seekers become destitute because they have been refused sanctuary by the Government and all financial and other forms of support has been withdrawn from them. In very limited circumstances refused asylum seekers can apply for ‘Hard Case’ support, or Section 4, as it is known. However many asylum seekers don’t apply for Section 4, because they are afraid, as it means they will have to agree to return home to countries where there is on-going conflict, violence or human rights abuses.
They remain here, cold and hungry on the streets of Cardiff.
We hope to launch Share Dydd this later in the summer
For more information please email email@example.com
Thankfully Ms Saleh and family wasn’t deported yesterday, it appears pressure on the airline had some effect:
The family are now held in Cedars detention center (RH11 9AD, Tel: 01293844900) and have been told that the UKBA will try to deport them again to Egypt on another flight.
A video of the dawn raid yesterday morning has been released:
The video of the dawn raid on the Saleh family makes for upsetting viewing, but is the typical kind of brutal action the UKBA do on a daily basis. There is an excellent article in New Internationalist about this case.
If you wish to contact an MP the Home Office reference is: S1391610/1. We recommend:
Theresa May – Home Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.020 7219 5206 or 0118 934 5433
Mark Harper Minister for Immigration 020 7219 5056 or 01594 823482 Email. email@example.com
Mrs Saleh has been seeking sanctuary from an abusive and cruel husband whose acts endangered her and her children’s lives for over 15 years to the extent of death and rape. The Egyptian authorities ignored this domestic abuse as her husband has close links with police, judges and other officials.
Mrs Saleh should be granted international protection under the UN Refugee Convention as she holds a real and well-founded fear of persecution of her own life and that of her family. We call upon the Immigration Minister to grant Mrs Saleh and her children the right to remain in the UK on compassionate grounds.
My mother’s house was raided earlier today at 6am by UKBA officers and they dragged my family (including my 2 younger siblings) out of bed. For the past 5 years my family have been claiming asylum in the UK based on domestic violence. They were arrested to be deported at 3pm today and snatched them from me right in front of my eyes. They are currently handcuffed in Heathrow Airport even though their case is still going and we even have a court date next month.
Flight details: 3PM flight to Cairo, Terminal 3 – Heathrow airport. Flight no. MS778
Airline: Air Eqypt: 02070 134955 or 02087593635 facebook
New group Cardiff Migrant Solidarity have set up an anti-deportation campaign for Chijioke Elijah, A Nigerian Activist who was arrested in Bridgend on Tuesday 26th June. Chijioke Elijah is currently being detained at Colnbrook IRC and has been given removal directions for 5th July.
Chijoke was forced flee Nigeria in 2005 following an extremely violent attack on him, which left him scarred and unconscious. He believes this was as a result of his activity with MASSOB a political organisation that works for the resurgence of the state of Biafra from Nigeria. His family and friends are extremely concerned that he may be deported to Nigeria imminently and are very worried about his safety there. Recent news articles show that the Nigerian police are regularly using lethal force to control crowds at MASSOB protests.
For the past two years Chijioke has been engaged to Lisa, a British citizen. Lisa and Chijioke are very much in love and Lisa’s family has welcomed Chijioke with open arms. If Chijioke is returned to Nigeria his relationship with Lisa will come to an abrupt end. With children and grandchildren in the UK Lisa is unable to relocate to Nigeria to be with Chijioke.
Chijioke would also be at risk because of the recent attacks on Christians in northern Nigeria. After an attack by gunmen at the start of the year, which killed over 20 Christians,  the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram told all Christians to leave Gombe state, where the attack took place. As a pastor in his former church, Chijioke would be particularly at risk as attacks on Christians in Nigeria increase.
Cardiff Migrant Solidarity is calling for people to write letters to the UKBA and the Home Office on his behalf to try and reverse their decision to return him to Nigeria. His campaign is also online at NCADC where you can find a template letter.
Chijioke says, “I can’t go back to Nigeria. My life is in danger there. I have a family here and I don’t want to be separated from them. My partner Lisa is devastated and her children were crying all day yesterday when they heard what had happened.”
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the European Week of Action against the Deportation Machine; No Borders South Wales dropped some banners in the city of Cardiff. The UKBA in Cardiff has recently been at the heart of an investigation into racism in the Border Agency as a whole. We remind them that deportations and detention are racist and discriminatory and lead to suffering, misery and death.
As Europe tightens and co-ordinates its border controls using increasingly intrusive surveillance, violence at the hands of Frontex and deportations, detention and discrimination, activists step up at a local and international level to challenge this system of abuse.
No Borders South Wales has suffered its own members being deported in the past and continues to fight for freedom of movement for all.
Mashal Jabari has been released, the emergency campaign spearheaded by the Welsh Refugee Council has managed to release a 14-year-old Afghan orphan from detention.
Staff at the Cardiff office of the UK Border Agency had insisted that he was 18 and held him in adult detention ahead of deportation next week. He was released from Campsfield House IRC early yesterday evening following a Judicial Review where the Judge ruled that at present – until another full age assessment is completed – Mashal is to be considered 14 years of age and placed with Read the rest of this entry »
The Welsh Refugee Council is calling on the UK Border Agency to release Mashal Jabari, 14 years of age, from Campsfield detention prison, and to suspend removal directions until a full assessment of his age can be made. It is very unusual for the Welsh Refugee Council to comment on individual cases, which adds extra urgency to the compelling compassionate grounds for why this boy should be allowed to remain.
Zaki Jabar, aged 15, arrived in the UK alone and extremely traumatised in November 2008. He came from Afghanistan and when he left his father was missing presumed dead and his mother was sick. His family had been attacked after his father had given assistance to the American forces, and Zaki had seen his sister killed. He was placed in foster care in Leicester by Rutland Social Services and given Refugee Status. He is currently sitting his GCSEs. He was anxious to trace his younger brother Mashal.
Mashal Jabari arrived in the UK in October last year, and claimed asylum on arrival. By then he knew that both his parents were dead. He was assessed as being over 18 even though he said he was 14. He was sent to Cardiff where he was Read the rest of this entry »
Along with our protest in Cardiff on Wednesday, at the same time there will be a protest outside the Nigerian Embassy in London. The following statement has been published by No Deportations to Nigeria and is signed by ourselves:
Yet another joint mass deportation flight to Nigeria is scheduled for 3rd February, 2010. If it went ahead, the flight will carry to Lagos dozens of refugee women, men and children from a number of EU countries, including the UK. The flight will be operated by the EU external borders agency, Frontex, and funded by the EU directly, as opposed to individual member states, under a new scheme agreed at the EU summit in Brussels last year. Unlike previous flights, which were given code numbers PVT007 and PVT008, the code number given to Wednesday’s flight is ‘JEUC’, which presumably stands for ‘Joint EU Charter’.
Hundreds of Nigerians have been forcibly deported from various EU countries over the past few years. In 2009, there were 17 joint flights to Nigeria operated by Frontex, deporting a total of 849 men and women and their dependants from Austria, Italy, Ireland, the UK and other European countries. The UK took part in four of these flights and organised two of them (one jointly with Ireland).
Many of the deportees are victim of cult and gang violence, torture, rape, female genital mutilation, armed conflict and Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday’s charter flight to Iraq was returned to the UK with the majority of the Iraqi deportees returning to UK immigration detention centres. Sadly 10 of those on board were left in Baghdad.
The Stop Deportation Network together with The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees have issued a press release with the following statements from those who have been returned to Brook House detention centre, Gatwick:
“when we landed in Baghdad an Iraqi man got on dressed in army uniform, with seven other guards with Kalashnikovs. He asked the immigration officers why they brought us here then asked us if we wanted to come back. He said those of you who want to come back you get off, the rest of you stay where you are.
He told the immigration officers to go away and not try to send people back by force again.
So they took us back to Italy and we had to change planes there. About three people refused to move plane and they were beaten by security guards. They’ve got injuries from that. There were 130 security guards on the plane. Why did they need so many? There were even some arguments between the British and Italian securities.”
‘K’, who did get off in Baghdad, said this morning he did not do go voluntarily and did not Read the rest of this entry »
On the morning of 15th October, 39 people who had sought asylum in the UK were deported to Baghdad, Iraq on a chartered flight.
The Air Italy flight left from Stansted Airport, named “Operation Rangat” by the UK Border Agency. This was the first forced mass expulsion of people to southern Iraq from the UK.
An eyewitness told the International Federation for Iraqi Refugees “When my friends started shouting they couldn’t go back these big security guards handcuffed them and strong-armed them out of the bus onto the plane. They were treated like prisoners: it was like watching the footage from Guantanamo“
Violence and bloodshed continue in Iraq, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year. There are also widespread food shortages and lack of access to clean drinking water in many areas of Iraq.
Prior to such charter flights, deportees and any legal representatives are not told the date or flight on which they are being deported. This frustrates migrants’ opportunities for legally challenging a deportation and makes it Read the rest of this entry »
Over twenty people gathered in central Cardiff on Wednesday to coincide with the ‘ethnic charter flight‘ that deported Nigerian families at 6pm. There was also protests by Stop Deportation Network in London and Residents Against Racism in Dublin.
We distributed hundreds of copies of a leaflet explaining ‘ethnic charter flights’, our opposition to them and deportations in general with specific reference to Nigeria. The was no police presence and the reaction from people passing by was Read the rest of this entry »
There has been news of an ‘Ethnic Charter Flight’ to Nigeria on 29th April 2009 via Ireland. Immigration detainees have received removal directions on flight PVT007 to Dublin at 18:00 connecting with PVT008 to Lagos at 21:00.
Please join us to demonstrate against this mass forced deportation of Nigerian people:
Wednesday 29th April at 5:30pm at the Aneurin Bevan statue (Castle end of Queen Street), Cardiff.
All welcome. Bring placards and banners if you can.
‘Ethnic charter flights’ are planes booked by the UK Border Agency specifically to deport large groups of people of a particular nationality. The exact details of the flights, including where Read the rest of this entry »
Titi Nzamba Bolele and her three children were snatched from their home in Adamsdown, Cardiff early in the morning of 26th January by seven immigration officers and taken to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre, Bedfordshire, where they were detained for 18 days whilst there were unsuccessful attempts to deport them to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-zone, before being returned home.
“It was a very painful experience in the prison. We found ourselves in a place where, wherever you come out, they open the door, they lock after you, they open the door, they lock after you. And the children were not okay. They were asking me, ‘We want to go to school’. There were no schools. They were not eating good food. They couldn’t really play. They are being really stressed.”
According to Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), in “Briefing Paper on Children and Immigration Detention“, every year around 2,000 children (the UK government refuses to release the exact numbers) are detained for the purposes of ‘immigration control’, under exactly the same conditions as adults. The UK government removed its immigration opt-out to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in September 2008. The Convention stipulates that detention shall only be used Read the rest of this entry »