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Meeting of No Borders South Wales tonight (plus people from the ShareDYDD destitution network).

no borders march 15

emily-yehEmily 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.

MY1

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.

Her case has gone global, with reports in the media in Taiwan, China, Pakistan and Qatar, among others.

MY must stay!

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 southwalessolidarity@hotmail.com

From Shrouk:

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

Politely explain to the airline that UKBA are trying to remove Mrs Saleh and her children against their will. Explain why they would be at risk if they are removed, or why it is a breach of their human rights to be removed, and why they need to stay in the UK. Keep it simple, clear and calm. Concern is better than anger, as the person you speak to will be more likely to respond sympathetically.Remember you are not accusing the airline of deporting (UKBA are doing this), but are saying they should not be a part of this because of the reasons above, and because it is bad for their reputation. One way of saying it could be ‘You are very worried for the El-Attar’s safety on the flight and after landing, and you are worried for the safety and comfort of other passengers, and for the reputation of the airline’.Ask that your concerns are recorded, and are passed on to the pilot/flight staff.Feed back any response you get

Please also ring Thomas James at our MP’s office on 029 2061 3539 and ask them to ask the MP to speak to the home secartary to delay deportation process. After calling an MP’s office we have found they are compiling representation to home office right now and emails of support would be helpful. please email thomas.james@parliament.uk. thank you.

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, [3] 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 cardiffsolidarity@riseup.net

We note the recent spat between Labour and Plaid councillors over claims of reporting Asian business’s to the UK Border Agency and over claims of racism by the UK Border Agency.

The polices of Border Agency,  the UK Government and European Governments, mean that the UKBA focuses on business’s where they think they will find poorer people with darker skin.   And this makes these polices  racist.

In 2010 196,00 people migrated to the UK. The majority of these are from the Europe, but India and Pakistan account for 15% of those arriving.  Of the top ten countries that send the most people to the UK, countries that are significantly poorer than the UK account for 26% of these people

According to the ‘The Migration Observatory at Oxford University’ in 2010  39,030 people were removed from the UK .

The top ten countries where people are removed to account for nearly 50% of those removed.  Of these, there is a clear bias towards countries poorer than the UK. (India, Brasil, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam)  Only 2 countries in the top ten (USA and Malaysia) are similar to the UK

No Borders activists have watched UKBA Officers at work on Queen Street, inviting the public to ‘discuss’ their immigration status with officers.  In a period of 2 hours the officers only picked people of colour for their discussions.

The real story is that people in Riverside and all over Cardiff face uncertain futures, destitution and incredible hardship because of the policies of the UK Government and all European Governments.  People have to work ‘illegally’ to survive and can be exploited by unscrupulous employers.

It may well be a councillor’s duty, as an elected government official, to pass on information to the relevant authorities about illegality and it’s great to hear councillors speak up about the policies and operations of the Border Agency.

But we think it would be amazing if wasn’t just at election time!

On  Tuesday 12th October on BA flight 77 the policies of the UK and the Europe Union claimed another life. Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan with a family in the UK, was killed on a flight from Heathrow .  Whilst the Home Office initially claimed that Jimmy ‘fell ill’ and ‘passed away’ in hospital, eye-witnesses tell a very different story.

Jimmy was being forcibly deported and was being accompanied by three private security personnel from Group 4 Security (G4S).   Around take-off Jimmy began to complain and make some noise, probably due to the fact that he was being forcibly deported to a country that he fled from. The G4S guards then twisted his arms behind his back and pushed his head down into his lap whilst putting their weight on his back. According to eye-witnesses they exclaimed, “he will be quiet once we are in the air”. Jimmy then began to moan and cry out that he was suffocating, prompting G4S to continue putting weight onto his back. After around 40 minutes he slipped into a coma. The plane was stopped on the run-way and an ambulance called.

Unfortunately Jimmy was proclaimed dead upon arrival to hospital.

On Monday 18 October, the Institute for Race Relations released its report entitled ‘Driven to Dersperate Measures’ .  It cites the deaths of 77 asylum seekers as being directly due to the UK’s migration laws.

More than 28 were suicide cases such as Osman Rasul, an Iraqi Kurd who jumped from a high-rise tower after being left destitute and penniless after his first asylum claim was denied. Others include Abdullah Idris, a Sudanese asylum seeker who was found hung in his cell on Christmas Day 2007 and Ama Sumani a Ghanian woman who was deported from her hospital bed in Cardiff whilst receiving life-giving treatment. This act was described as an act of ‘atrocious barbarism’ by the Medical Journal ‘The  Lancet’.

As there is no legal way for an asylum seeker to enter the UK others have died attempting to cross into the UK.  There have also been deaths at the hands of racists on the streets, deaths whilst working in the black economy and deaths after being deported back to home countries. Also included are the survivors of racial attacks, UKBA raids and those who were destitute. The report is highly disturbing and reflects a small percentage of those who have suffered for the crime of moving.

These cases highlight the realities of border controls and, in particular, forced deportation. Two years ago Medical Justice compiled the report ‘Outsourcing Abuse’ It detailed cases of serious  violence and abuse during deportation and catalogued hundreds of injuries sustained in the process. Broken bones and punctured lungs are among them. Medical Justice warned that a death would happen soon if the whole system was not reviewed and radically changed. The No Borders network has regularly reported  on the abuse received by people at the hands of the Asylum system, including the assault on Suren Khachatryan and the treatment of Genevieve Adetoro .

One thing that certainly does need looking at is the use of private companies to enforce border policy. The Danish company Group 4 Security runs several detention centres in the UK and on the day that its staff were suffocating Jimmy, it was lobbying for greater involvement in custodial security in UK Police stations. They have a history of abusive and racist behaviour towards people being deported and No Borders amongst others have campaigned against them for years.

No Borders South Wales stands against all deportations and the detention estate in general. We continue to fight for freedom of movement for all.  We encourage anyone who finds this article a drive to do something to get involved.

Further Guardian article about Asylum seeker deaths: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/racism-asylum-seekers-uk-laws

Another example of forced deportation: A video of a man being restrained on a deportation to Kenya. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2010/oct/19/deportation-heathrow-kenya-flight-footage

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