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Movement for Justice have organised a demonstration outside the Home Office in Cardiff today for Maimuna Jawo and Josephine anad against the treatment of people who are in the UK after seeking refuge from the practise of FGM.

Grant Maimuna Jawo Asylum Now! Grant Josephine Asylum Now!

Women fighting to end FGM must be protected!

The demonstration, at 31-33 Newport Road is due to start at 1:30pm and is supported by No Borders South Wales – some of us will be there in solidarity.

“Maimuna’s fight is a collective fight. It will take building a movement to win, and by winning we will build a stronger and more determined movement. Maimuna’s struggle is our own struggle for freedom, and we know that when we stand together we can build on our strength as fighters and win.”

Sanctuary now for all women who flee FGM!

 

News arrived on Tuesday afternoon that the Saleh family had been given removal directions for 8am the next morning. Friends of the family immediately scrambled to get to the hated ‘Barnardo’s’ detention centre ‘Cedars’, near Pease Pottage. By midnight we had some idea of numbers – around 20, or 25 tops – and all met up nearby for an impromptu picnic and a chat about what to do. Everyone was on the ball, everyone determined to do whatever they could to hold up that bus.

While we were talking two devastating pieces of news came through. An injunction had been passed to stop the Saleh family’s deportation but after a phone call from the UKBA explaining that the Border Agency had spent £60,000 on chartering a plane to deport the family, Judge Eady had reversed his decision and cancelled the injunction.

While we were reeling from that we were told that Mrs Saleh, a personal friend to some of us and the mother of one of our closest mates, had slit her wrists.

People fell to their knees, weeping. Others held each other tightly. As phone calls were made to scrape together further news, a picture emerged. Mrs Saleh was alive and, despite the mental and physical harm done to her by this situation, was still due to be deported. In her desperation she had written a message in blood on the wall of her cell: “I only wanted to save my children.”

We turned up at Cedars in drips and drabs, approaching on foot from the north in small, discrete groups who could duck into hedges and cover the white of their faces as headlights swelled in the darkness. At around 1.30 the first group was stopped by a police car near the entrance to the centre but others slipped past and melted into shadows and hedges. Police followed, trying to pick people out with torches but couldn’t seem to get a handle on our numbers. People moved up and down the road, drifting around the gates to the centre, and gradually moving to block both gates. A line of police formed up on the left gate but left the other gate alone as a small number of people were already clinging securely to the bars – they stayed there all night.

There was a stand-off for a good hour and a half. More police arrived and blocked the left gate, asking demonstrators to get off the drive but not trying to move them. The right hand gate, with people still clinging on, was further blocked by the arrival of a police car. The atmosphere was tense, as whispered plans were formed and reformed. More cop vehicles arrived on the scene, and a dog unit could be heard, gradually moving around behind the demonstrators at the left gate. People kept milling around, with no consistent numbers on either gate but lots of movement between the two. Police numbers seemed to be around the 30-40 mark.

The bus arrived at left gate around 3am. A line of us linked arms and tried to stand in its path but were roughly pulled apart and moved aside by police – the manhandling was quite intense considering our low numbers and some of the cops seemed rather wound up, barking at us to “back off” while holding us two-on-one in assorted wrist and arm locks.

That was when the screaming started. As the ruck was broken down one of ours was lying face down on the edge of the drive with two pigs on top of her, wailing at the top of her lungs for a medic. The medic was restrained a couple of metres away but the cops would neither let him go, nor get the injured woman the attention she needed. As the bus went into the centre everyone held at left gate except for this woman was shoved onto the grassy area between left and right gate. The medic kept an eye on the injured who was now frozen in a dodgy kneeling position, and kept asking the cops to let him through, call one of their medics, get an ambulance or at least support the person’s drooping head as the back injury could have been some kind of spinal. None of the cops seemed to give a toss but eventually an ambulance was called, although one of ours had already called one.

As the bus pulled through the gates a shadow darted across in front of it, dived beneath the chassis and locked itself on to the vehicle’s front axle. Immediately the call went up NOT to drive or try to drag the hero away. The bus was immobilised!

It was a good half hour before the ambulance arrived for our injured one, during which time no support or first aid was given by the police, no medic was called from Cedars, our medic was prevented from assessing the woman and the cop assigned to ‘looking after’ her pretty much just wandered around with her hands in her pockets.

Then, after around 45 minutes, the Fire Brigade arrived to cut away our lock-on hero. People tried to persuade them they were enabling an illegal deportation and that the family would face honour killing, violence and rape if they complied with the police. Unfortunately the fire crew did not show their usual courage and made no attempt to delay their work. This horrific system is made up of thousands of people ‘only doing their job’. Lock-on guy was busted for aggravated trespass but has now been released on bail without charge. Perhaps the CPS is unsure whether a lock on in this case counts as disruption of a ‘lawful’ activity, as the deportation itself is so dodgy…

Then came a quiet spell. Some of us watched silhouettes – possibly those of the family – waving from a first floor window. Others attempted to engage individual cops with the issue. Mostly we got blank faces, and cowardly rubbish about ‘following orders’. However, we pressed on, talking to them anyway undeterred by their refusal to talk to us. Eventually some of them wavered, clearly interested now. We attempted to persuade them that they, as individuals, had full autonomy at every moment of their lives but were using their energy and choices to protect an activity they couldn’t actually defend in conversation. Another cop was welling up when we explained that Mrs Saleh’s 17 year old daughter now faces FGM, rape and forced marriage. She was wiping tears away as we told her about our friend in Cardiff, desperate for her mother not to be sent away to her death, and wondered aloud what we would do without our own mothers. We explained that her shield of passive aggression, training and discipline was a barrier to her expressing the healthy emotions she clearly felt about the situation, that we were there because we felt something and she was there because she wasn’t allowed to. I hope a degree of soul searching has followed that conversation.

More cops arrived on site, and around 5.30 we got the message that the family had been moved from their rooms to board the coach. This was make or break time.

The cops around left gate had surged and now an escort van was waiting for the bus in the driveway. We were hideously outnumbered. Someone counted 30 cop vehicles on Brighton Road – more than one car for each of us – and who knows how many cops. The bus moved to the gate at around 6.30am, running very late. It had been held up for hours but was now implacable. One of ours tried to stand in front of the escort van and collapsed rather than be moved away. Physically restrained and overwhelmed, we could do nothing but shout and struggle as the coach drove past.

We piled into cars and tore down the motorway but could find no trace of the bus. One car went to Heathrow but no-one would tell us anything, the others went to Gatwick and came up blank but ran into a ton of armed cops, who weren’t too pleased by the sudden appearance of ‘No Borders’ types and gave our crew some hassle. Sadly, the Saleh family was deported at 8am but we couldn’t even confirm this for hours.

We now have more details. The day after the Director of Prisons issued a damning report ordering G4S to stop using force on minors in detention centres, Mrs Saleh’s 17 year old son was beaten up under the noses of sell-out charity Barnardo’s for resisting deportation. The family called us from an airport in Italy before being bundled onto a Denim Air charter flight and landing in Cairo that evening. They received some form of hassle from Egyptian airport staff and are now lying low, waiting for the next move.

Before their plane even touched down an appeal launched by Mrs Saleh’s solicitor was gathering serious momentum. Due process has been undermined in deporting this family before their judicial review hearing. A judge has reversed an injunction based on the cost of the family’s charter flight after being leaned-on at the 11th hour by some UKBA scumhole. And a minor was beaten up at a Barnardo’s-run detention centre within 24 hours of fierce condemnation of such practices by the Director of Prisons. These people are going to learn that they are not invulnerable and there are serious legal consequences to their actions.

Love and rage to all people facing detention or deportation, and to everyone fighting this sick, sick border regime.

PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION in Support of SALEH FAMILY!

Saturday 27th October, 11.30am

Aneurin Bevan Statue on Queen St, Cardiff.

Bring signs, banners, instruments and friends!

A new report: “Chance or choice? Understanding why asylum seekers come to the UK” has been published by the Refugee Council. The report is the result of research undertaken by Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at the University of Swansea.

The findings say what anyone who has any knowledge of the experience of refugees already knows. That people seeking sanctuary have little, if any, choice over which country they claim asylum in, and that few know what to expect before they arrive. The result being that harsh policies which make the life of a refugee tougher after they have arrived in the UK have no demonstrable influence over whether people Read the rest of this entry »

Today was an international day of action for trade unionist Yahya Al-Faifi, who is under threat of deportation to Saudi Arabia. There were protests outside the offices of the Home Secretary in Whitehall, outside the UK Border Agency in Cardiff, as well as outside the British embassy in Brussels.

Yahya and his family fled  Saudi Arabia after threats of fatal attack because of his trade union activity, eventually settling in south Wales. However, Yahya has had his application for asylum refused and he now faces the very real possibility of being deported back to a country with a horrific human rights record where trade unions are illegal.

It is very likely that if deported it will be BMI Airlines who are called on to do the governments dirty work, as they have previously Read the rest of this entry »

bmi-baby1Following the successful day of action against BMI last month, we’re calling on people to do the same again and shut down BMI on Thursday 20th November.

A CALL TO ACTION

Everyday, an average of 180 migrants are deported from the UK. That’s one person every eight minutes.

These people haven’t done anything wrong.

They are criminalised for doing what humans have done for thousands of years: moving in search of a better life. Moving to escape war, persecution, torture, physical abuse, poverty…

Governments across the world do not want us to see those being deported as people. They want to shroud them under statistics and treat them as pieces of meat.

Airline companies are a key link in the deportation industry. Without them it would be impossible for the state to implement this aspect of the migration regime and there can be no migration controls without deportations.

People being deported are often handcuffed on the flight and there have been numerous reports of physical assaults on people being deported by the security personnel who escort them.

On 20th September 2008, No Borders South Wales activist Babi Badalov was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan. In an email following the deportation, BMI CEO Nigel Turner said that:

“I do not have the time or resources to investigate each case myself nor do BMI”

But BMI were given plenty of information and time to ‘investigate’. Despite hundreds of telephone calls, emails and faxes to BMI raising objections and concerns, they chose to ignore this and ensured that the deportation took place.

BMI employees told those ringing on the day that they could not refuse to carry people being removed and it was out of their control. However, other airlines have refused to carry out deportations in the past. XL Airways announced in 2007 that they would no longer carry refused asylum-seekers who were being forcibly removed from the UK.

BMI is the UK’s second largest full service airline. By taking part in deportations they do the governments dirty work for them and in the process make money from human misery. In 2007 BMI reported profits of £15.5 million. How much of this was soaked in the blood of migrants who they deported against their will?

Following the successful day of action against BMI on October the 20th, No Borders South Wales are calling for another day of action to shut down BMI on the 20th of November.

We call on BMI to no longer take part in the forced deportation of migrants.

We are focusing this campaign around the 20th day of each month, after the date that BMI took Babi away from those who loved him and those he loved.

Please contact BMI and register your disapproval at their role in deporting people to places they do not wish to go back to, for whatever the reason this may be. Urge BMI to follow the other airlines who have taken an ethical stance and who refuse to carry out any more deportations.

On 20th November let’s once again hit BMI with everything we’ve got! Ring, fax and e-mail the company as much as possible on this day and every month thereafter until BMI no longer take part in this cruel practice.

BMI flights operate from the following UK Airports:

Aberdeen, Belfast (City), Birmingham, Bristol, Durham Tees Valley, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle International, Norwich.

BMI Contact Details

Head office
Donington Hall, Castle Donington, Derby. DE74 2SB

E-mail Nigel Turner, BMI Chief Executive Officer at:
nigel.turner@flybmi.com

Switchboard
Telephone: 01332 854 000
Open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm

Customer Relations
Telephone: 01332 854 321
Fax: 01332 854 875
Open: Mon-Fri 9:30am-4:30pm

Reservations and general enquiries
Telephone: 01332 854854 & 01332 648181
Fax: 01709 314993
Opening hours: 7am-9pm

Bmi baby reservations
Telephone 01332 648181
Opening hours: 8am-8pm

For further contact details you can download the leaflet we put together for the October 20 day of action.

STOP DEPORTATIONS!

The financial crisis is setting in, more and more people are finding themselves crippled by debt, while the banks who caused the mess in the first place are bailed out with public money by the government. Things are likely to get worse as people find it harder to get a stable job and affordable housing. We live in a world built by the creativity and co-operation of working class people, run for the benefit of the rich. The media and politicians, like the new Minister for Borders and Immigration Phil Woolas, would have us blaming migrants and ethnic minorities for our problems. We are told that migrants come here and take British people’s jobs. We are told that they are given and easy ride and preferential treatment with respect to benefits and social housing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Asylum applicants are only entitled to around seventy percent of the lowest form of income support and are not allowed to work. Migrant workers and families are usually only allowed into the UK if they will maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds. Refused refugees who agree to ‘voluntary’ return home do not receive any money but £35 worth of vouchers per week, only redeemable in certain supermarkets. Other refused asylum applicants will receive no welfare benefits, are not allowed to work and are unable to access social housing. Even some migrants who have been allowed to remain in the UK for a certain period will only be allowed to do so on the condition that they have ‘no recourse to public funds’.

The vast majority of refugees who seek asylum in the UK have their claims rejected, largely due to a culture of disbelief within the Home Office, who have explicitly stated that they aim to deport more people than claim asylum. Hardly a system that is likely to do all it can to make sure people’s applications are properly heard.

Many fear returning homes because of the persecution they would face, others are unable to because their countries are war zones and are too dangerous. Take Iraq for instance, where a US and UK led invasion has completely destabilised the country and even conservative estimates of civilian casualties have the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

Unable to ‘legally’ work, with meagre benefits cut and housing provision taken away, thousands of refugees around the UK are forced into destitution every year.

It amounts to nothing more than trying to starve people out of the country.

Some turn to working ‘illegally’, where they risk being imprisoned and deported for doing nothing other than trying to keep their heads above water. Others get by through mutual aid and the support of community networks of friends and neighbours. Support is also provided by a number of voluntary organisations. As a means of making such support more visible, we have put together a list of organisations in the Cardiff area. If you know of any other similar organisations in south Wales please let us know and we’ll add them to the list.

It’s really good that some people care, cos the Home Office sure doesn’t! No Borders South Wales believes that access to welfare, health, social care, education and housing services should not be denied due to your immigration status. We call on such services to be provided according to need and they should not be used to enforce racist immigration laws.

Cameroon national and victim of torture Jean Pierre Gueutchue, was given very last minute removal directions today for tomorrow, 6:15am. Once again this goes against the usual 72 hours notice most deportees are given.

Jean Pierre Gueutchue a Cameroon national, is currently detained in Campsfield IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK tomorrow Monday 6th October 2008 at 06:15hrs on British Airways flight BA 302 to Paris and then Air France flight AF940 to Douala, Cameroon. 

This will be the third attempt to remove Jean Pierre, who fled Cameroon after being tortured for his political activities, arrived in the UK in 2003 where he made a claim for asylum. All his appeals have been turned down and a fresh asylum claim was refused On Tuesday 15th July. 

Jean Pierre suffers flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares about being tortured and is being medicated for depression, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances. 

Please take urgent action 

  • Telephone British Airways on 08444 930 787. Let them know their image and business will suffer if they continue with deporting Jean Pierre to an unsafe and potentially life threatening situation. 
  • Fax British Airways medical clearance on 0208 7389644. Let them know that Jean Pierre is being treated for mental health problems and that you are concerned that he isn’t fit to fly 
  • Fax Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer British Airways on 020 8759 4314  and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Jean Pierre Gueutchue.  Use this model letter, you can copy/amend/write your own version. Please include all the details: Jean Pierre Gueutchue a Cameroon national, due to be forcibly removed from the UK tomorrow Monday 6th October 2008 at 06:15hrs on British Airways flight BA 302 to Paris and then Air France flight AF940 to Douala, Cameroon. 
  • Fax Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office on 020 8760 3132 (note new number) asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK. Use this model letter, you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include the HO ref M1206111). 

 

TOMORROW MORNING

If it is the case that Jean Pierre does fly on the BA flight then please: Ring Air France from 8am tomorrow on 0871 66 33 777 and ring their Customer Relations line from 9am tomorrow: 0870 142 4343 to urge them to not allow Jean Pierre to fly. 
Please let the campaign know of any faxes/e-mails sent

 

On 20th September at 3.15pm gay radical artist and No Borders South Wales activist BB was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan.

BB sought asylum in the UK in 2006 following years of persecution because of his sexuality. His brothers on finding out that he was gay had threatened to kill him, with one attack from his eldest brother leaving him with only eight teeth.

The radical nature of his art and poetry had also led him to become a target of government repression. A number of his artworks had mocked members of the ruling elite. The most famous of which, and the one that led to a number of threatening visits by the Ministry of National Security (MNS), Azerbaijan’s modern day version of the KGB, was a photographic piece in which he parodied the ubiquitous statues of the Azerbaijani President, who, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, destroyed many of Lenin’s and erected ones of himself instead.

BB was dispersed to Cardiff in December in 2006 and quickly immersed himself in the activist scene there. He regularly helped out at Cardiff’s social centre PAD and despite his precarious immigration status was involved in many campaigns and was a much loved and active member of No Borders South Wales.

BB was snatched on Tuesday when he attended his weekly signing at the UK Border Agency building in Cardiff.

When he was informed that he was going to be detained and deported BB responded by saying:

“I feel sick”

To which the UK Border agent told him:

“well you make us sick, you’re going back where you belong”

Nothing less than we should expect from the kinds of people who do this job. In a recent article in Metro Vicky Lacey, an Arrest Team leader from the UK Border Agency clearly highlights the dehumanisation that must occur in order for the border regime to be implemented, stating:

“If I felt sorry for everyone I wouldn’t get out of bed. I just have to treat them as cases rather than people”

See goes on to say that:

“I’ve been trained to use a baton and handcuffs”

But probably the most disturbing statement in this interview was her description of workplace and dawn raids on families as enjoyable:

“The raids are fun. I’m not tied to my desk and every day is different”

Within an hour of being arrested BB was handcuffed, bundled into the back of a blacked out van and taken to Rumney police station. Here a friend was able to see him and found him a complete wreck.

The day after his incarceration a demo was held outside the UK Border Agency building at 31-33 Newport Rd, Cardiff. Over 50 people gathered outside the building in order to show their solidarity with BB with the front steps of the building being covered with banners. Many then went up to Rumney police station and were able to pass BB a card containing messages of support.

Late Wednesday night he was then transported under the cover of darkness to Campsfield detention prison, Oxford.

When he arrived he sent the following message:

“PlizPLIZpliz i wontWONTwont GO back. i WANT die HERE THAN AZERBAIJAN. HELL O FAKING 21st Century! Can I stay in UK? Can I live 5 year happy here? FAK THE LAW MAKER! humanity”

Whilst in detention BB was given a medical examination. The subsequent report strongly recommended that BB be given a proper psychiatric evaluation. Despite this, the Home Office continued with its plans to deport.

BB was initially due to be deported at 8pm on Saturday the 20th on an Azerbaijan Airlines flight to Baku. However, following a huge amount of harassment from friends, supporters and many other activists from around the country Azerbaijan Airlines bowed to the pressure and refused to carry him. But this did not stop the Home Office rescheduling his deportation to a British Midland Airways (BMI) flight at 3.15pm the same day. This time despite a huge struggle, which continued up until the last minute BB was eventually deported.

Friend and No Borders South Wales activist, Noah Moore said:

“While BB is currently safe, if anything happens to him the state and BMI will have blood on their hands. His deportation has left a huge hole in all his friends lives and demonstrates the brutality of immigration controls. He was ripped away from his new home, friends and people that loved him just so the government can keep its deportation statistics up. We didn’t fight to keep BB here out of compassion or because he had suffered. We don’t care why BB came. We fought for BB because but he is one of us, a fighter for freedom of movement, for equality, and a world without borders”.

Following his deportation BB went into hiding but he was able to send the following email message:

 

FAKKK YOU MISS JACQUYI LOCKSMITH FROM HELLBAIJAN

FAKK YOU UNITED KING KONG YANKEE GO KHOMEBASHI

WILL NOT DIED N KILL MYSELF

WILL CONITINE EXCEPT YOU GIVING ME ADVENTURE PAIN

I AM LIVE BUT ITS VERY TERRIBLE PLACE TO BE HERE

I AM AFFRAID OF MY FAMILY COME FIND ME HERE

I LAV ALL ALL YOU THERE

YOU ALL SO GOOD AND NICE PLESANT TO ME

We will post more precise details soon but we can assure all those we are concerned about him that BB is currently safe.

While BB’s deportation has left us all saddened and very much in a state of shock it has also served to doubled our resolve to continue to struggle for an end to all migration controls and the criminalisation of people who have done nothing other than cross artificial, yet brutally real borders, in order to build new lives for themselves. We are now more than ever committed to fighting for a world where people are free to move as and when they like. Where people’s relationships can not be torn apart just because someone happens to have been born in one place rather than another.

We are heartened by the solidarity for BB that appeared across the blogsphere, we tried to keep a tally of blog posts as the campaign progressed, here’s a few that have appeared since BB’s deportation; Cosmodaddy, Freedom for Tooting, Gays without Borders, Ravenhurst, LGBT Asylum News, Gay Activist, Leanne Wood, Unzipped, Cardiff Radical Socialist, JFLAG and Queers without Borders – sorry if we have missed anyone.

No Borders. No Nations. Stop Deportations.

For BB xxx

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, has condemned the the removal process implimented by the UK Border Agency, whilst speaking to delegates from across the UK at the launch of the Shared Futures project in Cardiff on Wednesday 17th September.

He recounts a story which would be familiar to anyone who has looked into the way in which the UK Border Agency operates.

“I took a call recently from an incredibly distraught woman in Swansea who had watched two vans with people in uniforms come to a house in her street around 8am and remove a family. The mother of the family could speak little English and her eldest son was no older than 13. He had good English and was translating what was happening but things got emotional and the boy lost it. As I learned later, it was totally out of character but this child had been put under so much pressure that he could not cope.

In response, those in uniform took a punitive approach. They separated him from his family. He went in one van. The rest of his family was put in the other. It was not until later that night in Manchester airport where they had all been taken, that they were reunited for a flight out of the country.

“This action affected not just this family but it affected the children at the local primary who were left with nightmares over whether they would be taken away. It affected the community. These children who were taken away called Wales their home. They spoke with Welsh accents and had friends at the local primary.”

Then you should be concerned about the repression of migrants by government and corporate immigration ‘services’. ID cards have already been tested on migrants seeking asylum and will be used next on other ‘foreigners’.

The Application Registration Card has to be carried by everyone seeking asylum for their regular reporting and to obtain National Asylum Support Service payments from the post office. It is an ID card containing the bearer’s fingerprint, photograph, name, date of birth and nationality.

From this November foreign nationals wanting to enter the UK will have to apply for “biometric residence permits” and their details will be entered into a national identity database. From next year foreign nationals living in the UK will begin to be issued with ID cards. Once migrants have been used to test the scheme, the government’s plan is to issue identity cards to UK citizens on a voluntary basis from 2010, then in 2011 bringing in compulsory  ‘choice’ of a passport, ID card or both.

The fact that ID cards and fingerprinting technology has been tested on refugees shows that the state is prepared to impose ID on those people with the least voice to oppose it, before rolling it out to the whole population. The government is trying to get ID plans accepted by cynical scapegoating of immigrants especially ‘asylum seekers’ . 

No Borders South Wales will be holding a protest against ID cards, biometric passports, and the surveillance society in general on Saturday 4th October at 2pm outside the Passport Office, Olympia House, Upper Dock Street, Newport, NP20 1XA (map). We will be distributing leaflets and raising awareness about the new ID laws that come into force this November. Come and join us.

This article first appeared in the new No Borders South Wales Newsletter, you can download a copy here.

Activists from No Borders South Wales, No Borders Bristol, and Zimbabwe Development Support Association demonstrated outside the UK Border Agency’s regional office for Wales and South West in Cardiff today in protest against the UK’s racist and repressive migration controls.

Despite some rather petty territorial behaviour from the Border Agency staff (who removed a banner that was attached to ‘their’ railings) and a short visit from local police who had been ‘sent down to check that everything was passing off peacefuly’, the event went very well.

The turn out was good, the response from passers-by was great, and we managed to hand out a load of leaflets to asylum seekers being forced to sign on inside the building. One of the main reasons we do a regular picket of this place is to distribute leaflets to the refugees who are victimised there. By informing them about the support that’s available and urging them to campaign for the right to stay in the UK, we encourage people to take control of their lives rather than submitt to whims of an asylum regime that aims to de-humanise them at every turn.

In the wake of the recent hunger strike by 50 inmates of the squalid detention prison at Campsfield IRC over their continued detention, it was truly inspiring to see people coming together to offer solidarity to migrants living in our community. The hunger strike was started by 13 Kurdish refugees after news that Hussein Ali, who had attempted to claim asylum in the UK, commited suicide two days after he was forcibly deported to Iraq.

Pregnant mother Kemi Ayinde and family have been told this week that their application for a Judicial Review of their asylum claim has been refused. They are liable to be detained and deported at any time.

The family returned to Cardiff three weeks ago after being detained in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, after being snatched by UK Border agents from their home in the early hours of 17th June this year.

Two attempts were made to deport the family in July but after a high profile campaign and an application for a Judicial Review, the family were released.

Kemi has been told that the baby is not growing normally and her pregnancy may have to be terminated. Her GP and midwife have both stated that they believe that the problems she is having with her pregnancy have been caused by the stress and shock of being detained and threatened with deportation.

Kemi’s partner Taiwo has volunteered with Sue Ryder Cancer Care in Cardiff in the past and is due to begin volunteering with the Big Issue Cymru next week. He says

“Me and my family hope to be able to stay in Cardiff where we have made many friends and where we feel welcomed.”

Whilst Jean Pierre languishes in Campsfield IRC in Oxfordshire, a volunteer from Asylum Welcome, a charity based in Oxford which helps asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, has a plan of action to stop Jean Pierre disappearing into the prison system in Cameroon, should he be deported.

As in many other countries, on arrival back to Cameroon, deportees are handed over to security forces by immigration officials. Deported refugees often simply disappear into the prison system of the country they have fled. Jean Pierre will undoubtedly face further persecution if this happens to him, as is very likely.

The plan consists of money being sent to a trusted friend in Cameroon on the day any deportation takes place. This money will then be used at the airport and buy Jean Pierre some valuable time so that he can go into hiding. This has been done successfully with other deportees on two previous occasions.

Money is currently being collected. Any donations that you can help with would be much appreciated and could make all the difference to Jean Pierre. If you would like to make a donation please email us

Jean Pierre Gueutchue is currently detained at Campsfield House IRC and is due to be forcibly removed on July 21st at 8pm on Kenyan Airways Flight 101.

Jean Pierre fled Cameroon and arrived in the UK in 2003 where he made a claim for asylum.

In Cameroon he was imprisoned and tortured for his political activity with the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), a secessionist movement that has been declared illegal in Cameroon. In prison he was subjected to torture including being kicked, whipped and a practice called ‘falaka’, which is a where a victim’s legs are tied together and soles of the feet are beaten with the flat surface of a machete.

Jean Pierre suffers flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares about being tortured and is being medicated for depression, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances.

Jean Pierre also suffers from Hepatitis C and Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales has stated that it is vital that Jean Pierre’s health is reviewed in relation to his Hepatitis C treatment in October this year.

In the light of the current situation facing members of the SCNC in Cameroon and Jean Pierre’s health status, he should be offered protection in the UK.

See Jean Pierre’s campaign page for more background information.

What you can do to help:

1) Send urgent faxes immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith using this model letter, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK.

Fax: 020 7035 3262 (00 44 20 7035 3262 if you are faxing from outside UK)
E-mail: Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

2) Send urgent faxes to Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways using this model letter, urging them not to participate in forcibly removing a victim of torture.

Fax: 020 87455027(+44  020 87455027 from outside the UK)
Tel: 020 82831800 (+44 20 82831800 from outside the UK)

Last night there was a NO2ID benefit gig in Cardiff, organised by the local group, a few members of No Borders South Wales attended, and were well entertained by the performers; Lou Noble, Cosmo, Missdalogik, The Fix Up, New State Radio and Sicknote.

We used the opportunity of the gig to give out copies of our new leaflet against ID cards that draws attention to the way in which migrants are being used as a testing ground for a repressive system that the UK government wants to impose on everyone.

An article on the Cardiff Radical Socialist Forum “No2ID – with friends like these, who needs enemies?” has been the subject of some debate. ID cards has long been an unpopular concept in the UK, meaning authoritarian organisations with no real respect for personal freedom have given their backing to the NO2ID campaign.

We encourage opponents of ID cards to look at what is happening with the control of migrants, and see the thin end of wedge of the surveillance society. No doubt some of the less libertarian supporters of NO2ID would disagree with our stance on freedom of movement, hopefully others will agree. We wholeheartedly believe that the frontline of opposition to the creeping surveillance state is the defence of migrants, especially asylum seekers.

Politically No Borders has affinity with the Defy-ID network, which came out of the libertarian milieu. There was a Cardiff Defy-ID group, though it appears inactive. No Borders Nottingham and Defy-ID Nottingham published an article “Defy-ID and No Borders – Better together” we echo their sentiments.

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