Tag Archives: Unity

Solidarity Against the Home Office

I wanted to give a quick personal account of yesterday’s Stand Up For Our Rights protest at the Home Office buildings on Brand Street, as while on the face of it there was nothing unique, there where some points that made it stand out from other similar actions that have taken place recently.

First, and most importantly, this protest was primarily organised by woman refugees and asylum seekers themselves. Many of them have been waiting for a decision on their Home Office cases for over six months and now find themselves trapped in a limbo where they want to be productive but are denied basic rights; many are forced to live in destitution.  They wanted other groups to come out and show support side-by-side with them.

Despite the grim reasons for the event, the protest itself though was an upbeat affair. Drums (some from old water cooler containers), rattles, tambourines, and even a cowbell and an old cone were used as instruments. Although the pile sat lonely for a few minutes while people timidly looked on, out of almost nowhere a rhythm  started up and in moments every price of instrumentation was in use (along with claps and voices held high). People were smiling and chanting with spirits raised, rather than standing looking bleak and hopeless. When a round of music and chanting came to an end it would be one of the people effected by this struggle that would speak up, explaining the situation they where in and putting forward the modest needs they had. No specially selected talking heads at this demo, just words coming straight from the heart.

While this protest isn’t going to solve any of the issues raised directly what it did do was provide an important boost to morale. People from different parts of Glasgow where able to show solidarity in the way it was requested, as opposed to the protests where a group or organisation decides how best to help those who are struggling. This protest provided a place to listen and understand, and build bridges for future dialogue, while also bamming up the Home Office a wee bit, which is no bad thing!

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DEMO: SOLIDARITY WITH THE HARMONDSWORTH DETAINEES – At Dungavel Detention Centre

Via Unity:

MayDay bank holiday Monday, 5 May 2.00PM Dungavel Detention Center in SCOTLAND.

On Friday 2 May over 150 people detained in Harmondsworth migration prison staged a sit-down occupation of the main courtyard and began hunger strike. They issued a set of demands protesting against the cruel ‘Fast Track’ system under which refugees seeking asylum are immediately imprisoned before their claims are even heard, as well as further mistreatment in detention.

The detainees have been in contact asking for our solidarity and that we help their voices be heard outside the prison walls. We will hold a solidarity demonstration on the MayDay bank holiday (Monday 5 May) outside the prison to let them know they are not alone. Please bring musical instruments and anything that makes a noise so that they can hear us through the walls.

The Home Office have met with delegates of the protestors and said that they will give answers to their demands on Tuesday 6 May. The hunger strike is suspended while detainees wait for these answers. We want to let the detainees know we are with them in solidarity, and the Home Office know that we will not let the detainees’ protest be ignored and hidden. A simultaneous demo will take place outside Dungavel detention centre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The Dungavel protest will be at 2pm. Transport is being arranged from Glasgow – we’re looking for extra cars! Please contact us if you’d like a lift or can offer a space in a vehicle.

It is difficult for people in Dungavel to see anyone outside so please BRING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS to make noise with!!

Contact via facebook or phone 0141 427 7992

Dungavel is here.

Signed:

The Unity Centre

Anti Raids Network

Stop Deportations

Right to Remain

Asylum Seeker Support in Glasgow

Here is a list of some of the material help you can provide asylum seekers and other victimised migrants in Glasgow:

1. Volunteer at the Glasgow Destitution Network night shelter – its seen a boost since Y people took over, and looks after 10-15 per night. Stay overnight.
2. Donate to the night shelter – GOOD food, not just the crap out of date cans you wouldn’t eat yourself.
3. Cook at the shelter – in case you can’t stay over.
4. Case work at UNITY – spend a day telling the UKBA and Home Office to fuck itself, and make sure lawyers actually do their job.
5. Support work at UNITY – look after kids so parents can sign in / face the UKBA. Or so they can do the shopping etc, often single mothers whose partners have been removed or detained.
6. Charity work at UNITY – work in one of the 3 shops./
7. Bike work at UNITY – fix bikes so people have mobility. Not just asylum seekers, but anyone. Based in Govan.

Unity: http://unitycentreglasgow.org/
Night Shelter: http://unitycentreglasgow.org/?page_id=474
Email: info@unitycentreglasgow.org
Tel: 0141 427 7992

Feel free to copy/share info. Comment below of you have any corrections or additional info and we will amend this post as required.

Stephen MUST STAY!

Unity are looking for some help to put pressure on Etheopia Airlines and the Home Office in order to buy some time for Stephen Apau to have his case reviewed. Full info over on the Unity website.

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Fwd: Stop the mass expulsion of Nigerians

Via Unity – Please forward to your networks:

*URGENT ACTION APPEAL.*

Stop the mass expulsion of Nigerians

*Charter flight to Nigeria: 22.20hrs Tuesday 22nd November 2013*

Nigerian man Isa Muazu who recently was on hunger strike for 100 days has been given fresh removal directions for Tuesday 17th December. This will be the third attempt to remove Isa from the UK after the Home Office spent up to £108,000 chartering a private jet two weeks ago in a failed attempt to fly him back to Nigeria. The Home Office have given him fresh removal directions and are now going to try to return him on a mass charter flight as part of a regular Home Office exercise called “Operation Majestic”.

Lawyers for Isa are currently in the Upper Tribunal Field House, Beams Building off Chancery Lane in London trying to fight his asylum appeal.

As well as Isa, Unity are in contact with at least another 6 people who the Home Office are trying to put on the same flight, and there are many more on it who will also have not had access to a fair hearing, or appropriate time to prepare their asylum case. There has not been time to assist each individual sufficiently with their case to effectively prevent their removal on this particular flight. For those individuals with fresh evidence, lawyers have not been ready to take on the cases because of legal aid funding restrictions.

We urgently need you to take action to try and stop this charter flight by faxing and calling the Nigerian High Commission, Nick Clegg and Theresa May

*Notorious & inhumane***

Charter flights are a notorious, inhumane, way of removing asylum seekers. With no other passengers on the flight to monitor them, the private security company escorts routinely use force on the people being removed on charter flights.

Corporate Watch recently published a report detailing the case against
the Home Office’s use of charter flights. In July this year Corporate Watch published a free briefing asking whether the practice of mass expulsions using charter flights were actually lawful which can be read here.

In particular the Home Office practise of allocating putting unsuspecting “reserve” deportees on a third of all charter flights without any warning has drawn repeated criticism from campaigners as well as Keith Vaz MP (Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee) and from the Prison Inspector (who has called the practice “inhumane”.)

*Court action against the Fast Track system*

At the same time the charter flight on Tuesday, is very bad timing as Detention Action will be taking the Government to Court over their use of the detention Fast Track system used to process asylum cases from the ‘White Country’ list on that day.

Men from Nigeria, in particular, find themselves fall foul of this odious piece of legislation which allows the Home Office to automatically detain them when the claim asylum and to process their cases in only six weeks with only limited legal aid and often not enough time to properly pursue their case. Once refused these detainees are then are only allowed an “out-of-country” appeal once they have been returned to Nigeria.

Many men on the charter flight on Tuesday have become victims of the Detained Fast Track system.

We urgently need you to take action to try and stop this charter flight by faxing and calling the Nigerian High Commission and Theresa May

*CASE-STUDIES*

You can read more about Isa here.

Below are just some of the other people Unity are supporting who have been given removal directions for Tuesday 17th December on charter flight PVT091:

*Nigerian woman with British husband faces removal*

Josephine Atiri came to the UK in 2009 and claimed asylum in February
2010 shortly after her visa ran out. An orphan, she had been raped and
sexually assaulted by members of her adoptive family in Nigeria. In May
2010, Josephine met her partner, a British citizen, and married him in
July 2011 and two months ago she lodged an Article 8 claim based on the
family life she has made here with her husband. She also applied for a
spousal visa to stay here with her husband. Both of these have been
refused because although the Home Office accept she is in a genuine
relationship, there was no evidence to show a good enough reason why her
husband can’t give up all of his family life in the UK and go and live
in Nigeria with her.

Josephine had no life and has no family in Nigeria. She came here
because she was being abused by the people who were supposed to be her
family. Now she has a life and a family here in the UK. She was
arrested last week, taken from her husband and her home and has been in
detention since. She now faces being removed from the UK, losing
everything she has and being returned to a dangerous situation in
Nigeria. When I spoke to Josephine on the phone today, she said to me
/‘I’m pleading with them to let me stay with my husband and have a good
life. I’ve never had a good life. I’m begging them.’/ Josephine’s
lawyer lodged appeal papers with the High Court on Monday of this week
in a last attempt to allow her to stay in the UK and carry on the life
she has established here. She is still waiting to hear the outcome of this.

*Gay man faces removal because the Home Office doesn’t believe his partner is gay*

Elvis (not his real name) is a gay man from Nigeria who claimed asylum
in June 2012 because he was in danger in Nigeria due to his
sexuality. Nigeria has been described as one of the most homophobic
countries in the world where both male and female same-sex sexual
activity is illegal.

Since coming to the UK last year, Elvis started a relationship with
another Nigerian man and they have been together for over a year. His
initial asylum claim was refused on grounds of insufficient evidence of
his sexuality. When he first arrived, he knew nothing about the system,
about what would happen at the interview, or about what and how much
evidence was required. Nobody told him about any of this until after
his interview, when he was told he hadn’t given enough evidence and his
claim was refused.

Elvis says that he could have provided evidence in the first place had
he been told this was what was required. He submitted a fresh claim
with ample evidence including statements from his partner and friends,
photos proving their relationship was genuine, as well as statements
from the Unity LGBT group that Elvis is an active member of, confirming
his sexuality. This time the Home Office refused him because they’d
already refused to accept his partner was gay.

Elvis now faces imminent removal back to Nigeria where he believes he’ll
certainly be arrested on arrival. He tells me the law provides no
freedom in his country. He came here in the hope of finding a new life
in a country where he could be free to live as he chooses, but he has
only been disbelieved, dismissed and ultimately treated as a criminal,
being detained and now facing forcible removal back to the situation he
came here to escape

*Man with Portuguese girlfriend faces removal *

Oye Avioban, from Nigeria, first came to the UK in 2006 on a student
visa, which expired in 2010. At that point, he made a human rights
application for leave to remain on the grounds of his relationship with
an EU citizen here in the UK. His partner is Portuguese and they have
been together for almost two years. His application was refused because
they did not accept his relationship was real. A big problem for Oye
seems to have been the fact that he and his partner do not yet live
together. This was for practical reasons, his partner was struggling to
secure accommodation, which she has recently managed to do, and their
plan has always been to live together once accommodation has been sorted
out. Despite this and evidence such as Oye’s partner’s recent tenancy
agreement being submitted, the Home Office have refused to believe
them. Oye and his partner have given the Home Office as much evidence
they can think of that their relationship is real. Despite all their
attempts, the appeals process has now been exhausted. Oye’s only legal
avenue is to submit a request for Judicial Review to the High Court,
which Oye’s lawyer has said he believes will be accepted. However, this
is an expensive process and unless Oye manages to raise at least £1000
to pay the fees, this last legal avenue will be closed to him and it is
likely that he will be taken back to Nigeria on Tuesday.

*Gay man from Ghana is still waiting on the Home Office to respond to his fresh application*

Peter (not his real name) is a gay Ghanaian man, who is detained in
Dungavel DRC and is due to be removed on Tuesday. The Home Office plan
to remove him from the UK during a mass removal on the charter flight to
Nigeria, and then move him to Ghana from there. Peter is very afraid of
returning to Ghana. We have been in regular contact with his partner,
who has been very actively involved in his case – calling and visiting
Peter’s lawyer numerous times every week. Earlier this week, Peter’s
lawyer lodged an appeal with fresh evidence, which the Home Office have
yet to respond to. This puts Peter in a very difficult position as if
his appeal is refused at this stage, he will be left with very little
time to take further action before the planned removal date.

*WHAT YOU CAN DO:*

*1.**Call the Nigerian High Commission*

We are calling for anyone who can to call the Nigerian High Commission
and urge them to try to stop the current charter flight. Recently
Nigeria has refused planes to land because the proper procedure has not
been followed – phoning, faxing and emailing them can work.

Anyone who has time please call the number below and let them know of
your concern for many of the individuals on this flight and urge them
that they do not have to be party to this inhumane method of mass
deportation but that the merits of each immigration case should be
considered fully and not rushed in order to fill mass charter flights
which is what is occurring.

Nigerian High Commission
Phone: 0207 839 1244 extension 277, alternatively just press 0 during
the main menu of options.
Fax: 020 7839 8746
Or online message http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/enquiries

*2.**Lobby Theresa May ***

Please contact Home Secretary Theresa May to let her know this degrading
mistreatment of people cannot go on.

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK
Email: UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

*3.**Also ask Nick Clegg what he thinks about mass expulsions*

Parliamentary office: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 3000
nick.clegg.mp@parliament.uk

Constituency Office: 85 Nethergreen Road, Sheffield, S11 7EH Tel:
0114 230 9002
Fax: 0114 230 9614
nickclegg@sheffieldhallam.org.uk

Departmental Office: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AS
Tel: 020 7276 1234
publiccorrespondence@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

UNITY!

Unity Centre Glasgow
30 Ibrox Street
G51 1AQ
0141 427 79 92
info@unitycentreglasgow.org
http://www.unitycentreglasgow.org

Practical support and solidarity to all asylum seekers and migrants in Scotland.

Isa Muazu Back in Britain!

I’ll admit I’m amazed to be writing this at all; Isa Muazu has been returned to Britain!

Full story in the Guardian. The fight is back on!

*****

UPDATE: Isa has been speaking to Unity volunteers all day since he called them this morning to tell us the news. He’s in excellent mood considering the turmoil and wishes to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped in his campaign so far.

Please if you haven’t done so already send Isa a postcard or letter of support.
Isa Muauzu c/o Harmonsdsworth IRC, Colnbrook By Pass, Harmondsworth, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 0HB

Ifa Muaza

Inhumane Government and Charter Firm Deport Isa

It is with regret that I’m posting to say that Isa Muazu has been deported by the Home Office in spite of the critical condition of his heath. This post on Scriptonite Daily covers the details.

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I’d like to add that the fight to prevent his deportation was always going to be an uphill struggle. The Home Office would not release Isa, but at the same time would have done almost anything to prevent a hunger striker dying in detention. Virgin Atlantic may have been open to refusing passage to avoid the  bad publicity generated from a death in flight but for the relatively unknown Air Charter Scotland the chances of any of the bad publicity hitting them and not just stopping with the Home Office was slim, while the incentive of £50,000 for this flight and a good record for future charters from the government was too much to stop them from becoming murderers.

This is the violence of capitalism and the state.

The lack of humanity shown towards Isa from those involved in his deportation should spur us on in our opposition to a culture that says a person can be illegal.

No borders! No nations! No deportations!