Asylum is a fundamental human right. As long as there have been governments and states people have asserted their right to live free from persecution by finding sanctuary in another country. Britain recognises this in words every time it signs an international convention or declaration on the rights of refugees, human rights and the rights of women, LGBT people etc. – but the truth is that Britain’s present asylum system is set up to restrict and deny the right of asylum in practice. For one Movement for Justice member, Jackie Nanyonjo, this systematic undermining of the right of asylum was a death sentence. Jackie was not the first person to die as a result of this perversion of justice, but the Movement for Justice is fighting to ensure that she is the last one. We have campaigned to expose what happened to Jackie and we made it part of our submission to the asylum inquiry by Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee. When the Committee’s chair, Labour MP Keith Vaz, refused to allow Tacko Mbengue of the Movement for Justice to make an opening statement when he gave evidence to the inquiry on 25th June 2013, and then closed the meeting, he prevented any public exposure and discussion by this parliamentary body of Jackie’s death and the injustice it represented.
How a Perverted Asylum System Condemned Jackie Nanyonjo to Death.
Jackie was a lesbian and a victim of domestic violence from Uganda who had lived openly as a lesbian in Britain for years, with a circle of LGBT friends in south London. She had found some measure of sanctuary in this country but without formal asylum, because she knew that the way the system operates makes it dangerous to apply for asylum: if you apply early you are told you don’t have enough evidence; if you apply late your evidence is discounted because you didn’t make a claim on arrival. Like thousands of other immigrants and refugees, Jackie was forced by this injustice into an insecure grey area of the economy on low pay and with few if any rights, in order to survive. Applying for asylum was a last resort, and despite evidence from her partner and other lesbian and gay male friends, plus hospital records from Uganda of her history of domestic violence, she found that her years of working in the National Health Service were somehow turned into ‘evidence’ that nothing she or her witnesses said could be believed.
Because Jackie did have what the UN Refugee Convention calls “A well-founded fear of persecution” she put up a brave and determined resistance to removal as a ‘failed asylum seeker’ on 16th December and was brutalised by Reliance (now Transcor) guards. She sought and was denied medical treatment for severe and continuing chest pains when she was back in Yarl’s Wood detention centre. She made a formal complaint about her treatment to the UKBA, which went unanswered. She still summoned the strength to resist in an unavailing attempt to prevent her removal on 10th January, and suffered further brutality. Precisely because she was a lesbian, protected at some risk by sympathetic family members, it was difficult for her to seek medical treatment in Uganda. Her friends and relatives have described the rapid decline in Jackie’s health after 16th December and on her return to Uganda. She died in a Kampala hospital on 8th March.
Jackie’s history speaks not only for all those whom the perversion of the asylum system has condemned to death, but for the experience of every asylum seeker trying to fight her or his way through a set of nightmare administrative and legal processes designed to deny a basic human right. From the moment an asylum seeker makes a claim, through the interview procedure, detention, the conditions under which he or she lives, the appeal tribunals and the courts, everything is based on the assumption that he or she is a ‘bogus asylum seeker’ and a liar. The asylum system turns the normal principles of justice upside down by imposing an absurd and totally unjust burden of proof – asylum seekers are assumed to be guilty of lying unless they find a way to prove that their accounts of persecution, torture or rape or of their sexuality, political activism etc are true. For most asylum seekers this is impossible, because of the very conditions of escaping from persecution. This reverses the burden of proof applied to anyone charged with a crime: innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. As a result every asylum seeker is subjected to a miscarriage of justice, even those who eventually ‘win’.
The Challenge before the Asylum Inquiry
The real test for the Home Affairs Committee is whether it can respond to the struggles and demands of asylum seekers and overturn the unfair burden of proof that is the fundamental injustice of the present system. Instead of the burden of proof being placed on an asylum claimant to prove that he or she is not lying, anyone requiring asylum would be granted it and if the Home Office disputes her or his claim it would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are lying, so that asylum seekers are afforded at least the level of justice that applies in criminal cases. The change is simple and obvious. It is obvious to anyone that if this burden of proof had been applied in her case Jackie Nanyonjo would be alive today and living in Britain. Only when the existing burden of proof is reversed will this country have an asylum system that really upholds the right of asylum and ensures that no-one else suffers the same injustice and death as Jackie Nanyonjo.
Once this principle is recognised all the other necessary reforms of the system that the Movement for Justice has argued for fall into place. To be able to exercise their rights, asylum seekers must have time to fully prepare their cases and gather evidence and therefore have access to lawyers whom they choose (and it follows that the currently proposed changes to the Legal Aid system must be withdrawn). The detention of asylum seekers and especially the process of Detained Fast Track, which isolates claimants and rushes them through an already unjust system when they are in no position to prepare their cases, would therefore have to be abolished. All the demeaning restrictions on asylum seekers’ rights to work, benefits, education, housing etc, which are now driving growing numbers into destitution, would have to go. The only purpose of these restrictions is to create a “Hostile Environment” – to use the phrase the Prime Minister favours to describe his plans for immigrants and asylum seekers – on the basis that asylum seekers are assumed to be lying and must be deterred. Once the present unfair burden of proof has been turned right-way-up these supposed deterrents would have no purpose and would have to be recognised for what they are: racist, discriminatory and a denial of legal and human rights.
To be in a position to propose and fight for this obvious, necessary and fundamental change the MPs on the Home Affairs Committee need the public voices and evidence of asylum seekers, they need the public recognition that Jackie Nanyonjo was killed by a system that denies the right of asylum to thousands of people who desperately need it, and they need the public acknowledgement of the injustice, the parody of legal process and the degrading treatment and brutality, in and out of detention, that are the fruits of the present system. That is why the Movement for Justice insisted that refugees and their supporters should be able to appear as public witnesses at the asylum inquiry and should be able to make opening statements. We know that if witnesses are limited to answering questions from the start, the responses will be shaped by what is asked (especially for those whose first language is not English and who are not familiar with committee procedures). What was at stake was whether the Committee was prepared to listen to what asylum seekers and refugees know, and what they know that MPs need to hear – or whether the MPs would use their questions to limit the answers to what they, as politicians, want to hear.
Even before the meeting where Movement for Justice members were due to give evidence it was becoming increasingly apparent that the Committee had chosen the second option: limit what you hear in order to limit what you propose. The Committee was having sessions to hear from a bevy of NGOs, senior Home Office officials and company executives from G4S and Serco, but there was only going to be a single meeting at which it would hear from asylum seekers and refugees (and that eventually turned into half a meeting). Asylum seekers were to be heard in private. After we got agreement that the two Movement for Justice witnesses would give evidence in public we learned that their combined ‘slot’ on the agenda was limited to 20 minutes, compared to a combined ‘slot’ of 45 minutes for the G4S and Serco bosses. While Movement for Justice members were waiting for the start of the inquiry meeting on 25th June we met three asylum seekers who were going to give evidence in a closed session before the public session; no-one had told them they could give evidence in public and they went in isolated, in front of a committee of 11 MPs. Their combined ‘slot’ lasted for little more than 15 minutes.
Despite all this the Movement for Justice was determined to do everything we could to set out the truth about the death of Jackie Nanyonjo and the operation of the asylum system, and the fundamental change needed to prevent the otherwise inevitable deaths of other so-called ‘failed’ asylum seekers.
The Movement for Justice witnesses due to give evidence on 25th June were Tacko Mbengue, a gay man and victim of torture from Senegal who has been a leading member for the past three years, and Flavia Zziwa, a lesbian refugee from Uganda and another victim of torture, who was prevented from appearing by her employer. At the start of his session Tacko told the chair, Keith Vaz, that he wanted Tony Gard of the Movement for Justice to make a statement about how and why Flavia – who feels no more secure or equal now that she has asylum than she did before she got it – had been prevented from giving evidence. If the Committee took its statements about hearing from asylum seekers and refugees at all seriously this should have been a matter of obvious importance, but Keith Vaz brushed Tacko’s request aside with a smug ‘assurance’ that “We will be hearing from lots of asylum seekers”. When Keith Vaz continued by launching into formal questions, Tacko refused to collude and said that he needed to begin with an opening statement – as we had requested in a series of e-mails and telephone conversations. When Tony Gard spoke up to support Tacko’s request and reiterate the Movement for Justice’s position the chairman instantly closed the meeting, less than two minutes after Tacko took his seat – throwing 45 asylum seekers out of an inquiry into asylum!
This was a political decision. It would have been very easy to accommodate the simple requests Tacko and the Movement for Justice were making. Such committees can always be flexible if they wish, and in any case Select Committee procedures provide for witnesses beginning with an opening statement. What was at issue was whether a growing movement of asylum seekers, refugees, detainees and anti-racist activists fighting for equality and justice would be allowed to speak the fundamental truth about the system we are fighting every day of our lives – or whether the Committee would be allowed to treat asylum seekers with thinly-veiled condescension so that it could get on with a cover-up.
To put it bluntly, Keith Vaz was not prepared to be a party to the further public exposure of the death of Jackie Nanyonjo: he did not want it on the public record of his committee; it did not suit him as a Labour politician when the leaderships of the three main parties in Parliament are in a competition to appear the most hostile to immigrants; it would expose the inadequacy of whatever limited proposals the Committee is currently planning to make.
The basic problem for the Home Affairs Committee is that the asylum system is in crisis. Over many years the increasingly rightward, racist, irrational development of British and European Union immigration policy has shaped, distorted and dominated the operation of the asylum system. The Committee would probably like to disentangle the two with some modest and partial reforms on asylum, but this will achieve very little in the short term and nothing in the longer term as long as asylum seekers are assumed to be liars guilty of filing fraudulent claims. To make a real and lasting difference now and ensure that there are no more deaths like Jackie Nanyonjo’s, the Committee must seize this opportunity to demand that the burden of proof is reversed in asylum cases, so that it falls on the Home Office and the presumption of good faith favours asylum claimants. Then we will be able to speak of some measure of justice for Jackie Nanyonjo.
Jackie Nanyonjo died in Uganda last Friday as a result of the injuries inflicted by the Home Office’s licenced thugs who deported her from Britain on 10th January. Jackie was a fighter for herself and for others: a lesbian who escaped from anti-gay persecution and a brutal forced marriage, and a member of the Movement for Justice. In Britain she had been able for the first time to live and love openly as a lesbian; she was much-loved by a wide circle of friends who kept in touch with her after she was deported and who miss her deeply. All of us who knew her, or who didn’t know her personally but are determined to end the regime of racism and anti-immigrant bigotry that is responsible for her death, will fight to win justice for Jackie.
Jackie had been through the mental torture of the immigration and asylum system, with its arbitrary, subjective decisions and impossible demands to ‘prove that you are a lesbian’. UK Border Agency and an Asylum Tribunal had dismissed out-of-hand the ample evidence of friends and her partner that Jackie was a lesbian, and rejected her claim for asylum. She was sent to the further mental torture of Yarl’s Wood women’s detention centre in November – a few weeks after detainees had shaken the power of the UKBA in an uprising of mass protest against brutality and injustice led by the Yarl’s Wood Movement for Justice group. Jackie had at the time been part of a solidarity demonstration at the UKBA headquarters in Croydon. Jackie continued her fight in Yarl’s Wood. When the UKBA tried to deport her in December Jackie resisted bravely despite the brutality she suffered at the hands of the ‘escorts’ provided by the contractor, Reliance. She forced them to abandon the attempt and when she got back to Yarl’s Wood she lodged a complaint to the UKBA – a complaint the UKBA rejected.
With all the limited avenues of Britain’s racist immigration laws closed to her, and facing deportation to a country where it is a crime to be gay and where the political and religious leaders have whipped up a murderous anti-gay witch-hunt, Jackie’s only option was physical resistance. On 10th January, on Qatar Airways Flight QR76, Jackie fought bravely for her freedom with all the strength she could gather against four Reliance guards. She continued fighting when the guards drew curtains round their end of the plane to hide their crimes. She struggled for as long as she could until, beaten up, half strangled and bent double, she was overcome by the pain in her chest and neck and was unable to breathe.
When Jackie arrived at Entebbe Airport the ‘escort’ party handed her over to the Ugandan authorities, who held her for many more hours without any medical attention. When family members finally met her, long after the flight had landed, Jackie was in terrible pain and vomiting blood; they rushed her to a clinic, but in a country with widespread poverty and limited medical facilities they were unable to get the medical attention Jackie needed. Since Jackie was in hiding as a known lesbian, protected by relatives, every trip to a doctor or hospital involved a risk to her life and to the safety of her family. They were condemned to watch the agonising decline of Jackie’s health and strength over the next two months.
The Home Office and the UKBA are guilty of Jackie’s murder. They have licenced the brutality that Jackie suffered, even if they pretend ‘to look the other way’; they protect the thugs and the security companies if an asylum seekers’ death or injury becomes public knowledge. Their policies and decisions are responsible for Jackie’s death. The guards who brutalised Jackie should be in jail and Reliance should be condemned as an accessory to murder, along with Qatar Airways and the repressive Qatari Government that is so willing to do Britain’s dirty work – but the real guilt lies with the politicians and bureaucrats who run the Home Office and the UKBA, and ultimately with the Coalition Government. Jackie Nanyonjo was a victim of the immigrant bashing policies of Theresa May, the racist Home Secretary.
The Movement for Justice is putting the UKBA on trial for Jackie’s murder. Jackie is by not the first person to die at the hands or through the actions of the UKBA but we want to make sure that she is the last. Justice for Jackie means above all exposing the UKBA before the Court of Public Opinion, challenging its power so that what happened to Jackie never happens to anyone else, and shutting down Yarl’s Wood detention centre. It means building the movement that Jackie joined, in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres and outside, in our communities and on our campuses, and end the injustice of detention and deportation. Join us this Thursday at the demonstration and speak-out at the UKBA HQ, Lunar, West Croydon, Thursday 21st March 2013.
End Detention! Stop Deportations! Defend Asylum Rights! Open Borders & Equal Citizenship for All!
Fight to Win!
Boy it feels great to be marching through London again. For those of us that built the student movement two years ago and loved every minute of the conflict, this day has been too long in coming. For those who are new to the movement, welcome. We need your energy and unjaded enthusiasm. Students and youth new to the movement, especially black, Asian, Muslim and other minority youth who have suffered the greatest setbacks because of the cuts, younger students who are facing greater obstacles to receiving an education, poor and oppressed students of all races and international students who face unparalleled uncertainty and increasingly desperate conditions of life—are the activists most likely to grasp and act on the lessons that the more veteran activists in the movement should have grasped a long time ago.
The three most important and obvious lessons from the last phase of heightened struggle are: 1) that we needed to use our defeat to figure out how to build the movement stronger and win, rather than allow it to be shut down; 2) that nothing short of a mass uprising can stop the downward spiral of the living conditions and aspirations of the great majority of people in Britain, and 3) we need to build a leadership and organization that wants to win and believes that we can win and to reject leaders who, while acting on a right set of moral principles, believe that the movement can never win and if it actually does become strong enough to contest for power must be suppressed at all costs. Put plainly, Movement for Justice (MFJ) must grow and lead for us to win.
MFJ is certain that we can build an integrated youth-led movement that can unite everyone who wants to win together, fighting to restore and protect public education and the whole social welfare system that continues to be relentlessly attacked without justification by the Government. To those who want to win but have heard too much bad advice already, we say: Do not be shy or embarrassed if you are angry and want to show it. Symbolic civil disobedience makes us look like weak victims. Let’s act, but with the determination and power that expresses our strength and will to win. The rich and the powerful are not the only force with the power to make history and direct this nation. The power of the oppressed—if we unite and fight to win—can bring down governments, make revolutions, change the direction and character of our society completely. Meaningful sweeping social and political change is never gradual. Those of us who are more experienced and want to win will embrace the new activists because, frankly, we are tired of the half steppers, the posers and the wannabe politicians. We want to win and believe the time to do so is now.
The last two years have been a living hell for too many of us. Everything bad we thought would happen, happened. All the predictions of greater class and race disparities in higher education have proven to be true. Access to affordable higher education, once a right, is now a privilege reserved for the privileged, a dream deferred for the masses.
The loss of EMA forced hundreds of thousands of us to abandon school and instead fester as part of the growing army of unemployed youth. Tens of thousands more of us are being buried in debt and even with the loans and strains on our families’ income, we are barely hanging on at the universities. Black, Asian and other minority youth have faced the worst setbacks. Racism, anti-Muslim bigotry and immigrant-bashing are on the rise. Asian, African, Middle-Eastern and other non-white, non-EU international students— who were once coveted by universities because they paid huge fees to attend the universities—are being threatened with mass deportations. Those who are ready and qualified to come are being denied visas and kept out altogether. Program cuts, course reductions, the stripping bare of liberal arts educational offerings, job loss, whole sections of universities eliminated—yes, the last two years have been a disaster.
We all know that what we are fighting for is right. The great majority of us know that we march not to persuade the rich and powerful or the Government that it is in their interest to educate us to keep Britain a dominant world power, but to change the balance of power in favor of us. Today’s march must be the first of many continuing actions. We should set a date for our next action now.
The official NUS leadership will try to direct our energies into getting Labour elected. Labour will not break from the pro-austerity policies of the current Government. Labour has signed onto anti-immigrant bashing and jingoism. Electing Labour does not get EMA restored or the fee increases reversed. If we build an independent movement that has the power to shake up the foundations of this society, we will win back EMA and rollback the cuts and fee hikes, no matter which party controls the Government.
LEARNING THE LESSONS OF THE PAST, MILITANT ACTION BY ITSELF IS NOT ENOUGH. BUILD MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE TO WIN.
In October 2010, the first phase of our movement began with a march that stormed the Millband and sacked the Tory headquarters. Over the course of the next two months our young movement met many important political tests. We successfully mobilized tens of thousands of students and youth to march, walk out and demonstrate on several national days of action. We stormed Government buildings, built occupations on campuses across the country, and grew accustomed to ignoring the shrill denunciations and/or pathetic pleas for respectability from timid and vacillating student spokespersons, some of whom we once regarded as our representatives. We kept pushing forward, leaving behind those who deserted the cause because they feared the power and anger of the oppressed. Our ranks grew and changed as more youth who hate the suffocating hypocrisy and cynicism of the current social order and feel an urgent desire for freedom joined the struggle.
Police tactics aimed at demoralizing us and limiting the power of our movement failed. We turned freezing police kettles into raves one week and the next week defeated the police plans to kettle us again by charting new secret routes for our march that kept us free of kettles. By December our movement had developed new tactics aimed at shutting down central London.
Many of us could not wait for the next opportunity to shut down London. Fighting was exhilarating, emotional, uniting, and fun. It brought out our deepest and most positive expressions of our shared humanity. But despite all the courage, grit and determination of the movement, we lost.
Too many of our supposed leaders had seen the whole effort as nothing more than a glorified lobbying effort. To them, the point of all the actions was to expose the antistudent, anti-public education character of the LibCon government while giving the Labour Party a chance to cast a certain-to-lose no vote on the cuts and elimination of EMA. To these leaders, most of whom quickly abandoned the movement they successfully misled and demoralized, winning was never the aim.
We were meant to lose, after putting up a good fight. By December, those misleaders regarded the main danger facing the movement as its growing strength, militance and independence from their leadership. The Labour Party helped to demoralize and demobilize the movement by making sure that they rushed through a second Parliamentary vote to end EMA, when they knew students would be away from school because of the Christmas holidays. The movement did not die but did go into retreat. The urban uprisings of black, Asian and white youth made clear that the cuts would not continue to go unanswered. This march is a chance for the movement to go forward on a stronger and clearer basis and for the youth to once again take the lead in the fight to save Britain.
The best and most militant leaders of the movement must not let our opportunity to lead the movement slip away by adapting to the anarchist view that all leadership is bad, that groups should never advance beyond being a squad and that we should resist building a national organization with a democratically elected leadership. We failed two years ago to shut down London precisely because the best fighters never advanced to the point of building a coordinated and planned action. Instead, many brave students and youth carried out plans worked out in secret small group meetings that never had a chance of succeeding because they were never conceived of as mass actions.
London is a big city. Our opponents are well staffed, well armed and function like an army in battle. They can be defeated, but not through random acts of “terror.” Smallgroup actions inevitably lead the participants in the action to be vulnerable to repression unless they are regarded as leaders with authority among the masses of people who support our cause. Too many anarchists were witch-hunted and arrested in the months following the ebbing of the struggle. The leaders of this struggle cannot be cavalier or unserious, and we cannot rely on individual bravado to take us forward. Stretching before us is a struggle that is difficult but winnable. As the struggle heats up again, we must convince the most serious young fighters who identify as anarchist to abandon the tactic of squad action and instead bring their talent, courage and knowledge to the leadership of mass organization. One thing is certain about the rich and powerful: they are not scared to be leaders of society, no matter how bad their leadership is! The oppressed deserve far better leaders. We are fighting for the great majority of society. As daunting as it might seem, we cannot abandon our duty to be leaders capable of challenging for power and winning.
We invite anyone who wants to fight to win to join Movement for Justice. Together, we can build the power of our new movement, defeat the attacks, and make our vision for a new Britain real.
We are women held against our will in Yarl’s Wood detention centre, with no charge and no sentence. We have formed a Movement for Justice group to stand up together and fight for our freedom and the freedom of all women not to be detained. Between us we have faced persecution in many forms – as lesbian, bisexual, and as straight women. Most of us are on ‘Fast Track’, a procedure designed to deport as many people as possible before they know what is really happening. We come from, every region of Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and the Caribbean, and we welcome many more to join us. We are leaders because we speak the truth about oppression wherever it is, we are committed to fighting for our collective rights and dignity, and to end the racist, sexist and abusive detention system. There is no ‘crime’ in seeking freedom, safety and the chance to live free.
We have witnessed on several occasions the degrading and inhumane manner that women are being deported back to their countries in Yarl’s Wood but particularly today when we witnessed a sister, Christine Nakato from Uganda, being forcefully taken by about 7 men out of the Centre to be deported. Christine was naked, and had a blanket over her body, whilst the officers were dragging her, her head bent down permanently by the officers for her face not to be identified by other residents. Christine’s hysterical shouting and screaming drew our attention and we cannot understand why a human being should be treated in that form. We were informed during our meeting that Christine had been injected by the officers to subdue her and make her unconscious for the UKBA to forcefully enforce her removal from the UK.
In a meeting attended by nearly 100 women in Yarl’s Wood IRC, 15/10/2012, we all voted for the following demands.
1. WE DEMAND OUR FREEDOM – RELEASE US NOW! END DETENTION!
Many of us have been the victim of rape, abuse and torture. Some of us are pregnant and are due to give birth in detention; some are disabled or critically ill, and some are elderly. Being locked up away from friends, families and the support we have in our communities is a new violation of our humanity.
2. STOP DEPORTATION!
We call on pilots’ associations, staff unions and passengers not to assist in or condone the forcible removal of women, or any person, to a future of abuse, persecution and even death, or being torn from their families. People have died in the process of being deported; no-one should stand by while this happens. Protest, complain and boycott airlines that continue to involve themselves in forced deportations. They have a choice to say ‘No’.
‘Fast Track’ denies us justice. We cannot receive justice when we are isolated in detention and rushed through stressful interviews and hearings in a few days, without preparation. This compounds the traumatic effects of rape, torture, trafficking, forced marriage, beating, anti-gay persecution, female genital mutilation (FGM) and the many types of abuse that we have faced.
We demand uncensored access to the Internet. The UKBA blocks the Internet and denies us access to news sites, information about our countries of origin, and organisations that can help us. We must have the means to prepare our cases and print material related to our asylum and human rights claims, without censorship.
We demand the right to choose or change our legal representatives without restriction. Legal Aid must be expanded, stop the cuts to legal aid! We cannot afford to pay private lawyers; justice cannot be reserved the rich.
5. EXTEND THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN SEEKING ASYLUM
Recognise the right to asylum of women who have been victims of trafficking or violence & abuse in the family, who are escaping forced marriage or FGM, or protecting their daughters from FGM, and women who are persecuted for opposing such practices. These rights and the right to asylum of persecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex (LGBTI) people must be upheld, not undermined by the UKBA and Fast Track in the way that LGBTI asylum rights have been. Britain publicly opposes such persecution and oppression; the government should not be sending us back to the hands of our oppressors.
6. RESPECT OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH, EXPRESSION & ORGANISATION
Stop monitoring our Internet use and the work we do on computer or what we decide to print. Stop intimidating us when we stand up for our rights and dignity. NO RETALIATION against anyone who protests, and organises to express our views and demands, or speaks out about the treatment of detainees – as our MFJ group is doing.
7. WE DEMAND PRIVACY AND RESPECT
Male officers must stop barging into female detainees’ rooms. No more supervision by the UKBA (or its contractors) when we see medical doctors in detention or go to outside health care. Officers breach of our right to privacy and confidentiality by discussing our health issues with other officers and fellow detainees.
We are human beings – stop treating us as mere statistics!
8. STOP EXPLOITING WOMEN IN DETENTION – MODERN-DAY SLAVERY
Detainees who do cleaning and other work are paid an insulting 50p an hour. We work to buy credit for our phones or extra food at the detention centre shop. This is the exploitation we suffer in detention – but if we are outside it is illegal for us to do paid work if we have outstanding asylum applications, even when we get no financial support. We must be paid at least the national minimum wage for our work. Everyone with an outstanding application must have the unrestricted right to work.
End the £10.00 charge for access to our medical records! Reduce the prices in the detention centre shop to those of the outside market! Stop making detainees pay for goods that are donated for free by charities!
9. End the poisonous & racist police-state existence under which thousands of us now live in Britain! Stop tearing society apart with divide-and-rule policies! Get the UKBA off our streets and out of our communities, colleges and workplaces!
AMNESTY NOW FOR ALL ASYLUM SEEKERS & IMMIGRANTS!
Take action to support and raise these demands, in your college, union, and community.
VOICE from Ciselle Fung on Vimeo.
Tacko is a gay activist and civil rights leader from Senegal, a nation where openly gay people are politically persecuted, imprisoned and murdered for being gay. Tacko is a political activist in Movement for Justice, fighting for all immigrant rights, respect and equality. Tacko has been held in excruciating limbo by the UKBA, not granted asylum thus far, despite waiting over a year for a decision.
Tacko gave this interview, and Ciselle Fung made this animation from it, to give voice to the truth, the experience of Tacko stands for many thousands. To all those fighting for thir freedom, to live and love as who they, we in MFJ say your fight is our fight; and your victory is our victory.
Britain has joined calls for nations to end the criminalisation and persecution of homosexuality, but at the same time is witholding sanctuary from people facing that very danger. Join MFJ in sending the clear message now – granting asylum to Tacko, and other activists and leaders for equality – Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia – is an easy, direct and meaningful way for the British government to show that its pious words will be backed by action.
Sign the petition and join Tacko, Asuman, and Proscovia in our fight for asylum and freedom now. - Justice delayed is justice denied - End the degrading treatment of Refugees – Grant asylum to Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia]]>