Monday, 30 June 2014

Amar's case is crucial for many refugees, including Hussein

Take action Today: Stop the Deportation of Amar!

Sent to us by friends:

Amar, along with five other refugees, is part of an important test case at the Supreme Court. Their lawyers are currently preparing a crucial appeal based on UN evidence. This appeal could overturn a previous ruling allowing Italy deportations. The Home Office seems to be trying to get Amar out of the country before it can come to court. This battle is not just for Amar, but for hundreds of refugees from East Africa and from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and many other places who will be directly affected by what happens in his case.

***PLEASE HELP!***

Many deportations have been stopped through public pressure on the airline, as airlines have the power to refuse to fly any passenger.

Contact British Airways and tell them not to fly Amar against his will on Tuesday morning. The flight details are: flight BA572 from London Heathrow (terminal 5) to Milan at 7.50 AM.
British Airways main customer phone number: 0844 493 0787.
twitter: @British_Airways
facebook: www.facebook.com/britishairways



Background Information

The Home Office plans to deport our friend Amar, a refugee from Sudan, on a British Airways flight to Italy this Tuesday 1 July. Amar has finally found safety in the UK after years of exile, racism, attacks and harassment. He is part of a crucial appeal case for refugee rights – the Home Office is trying to rush him out of the country before it comes to court.

***Our friend and his story.***

Amar is a refugee from war-torn Darfur, in Sudan. Up to half a million people have been killed in the war in Darfur, and some three million people chased from their homes as refugees. In 2008, then aged nineteen, Amar fled the massacres and famine to try and find safety in Europe. Like many exiles from East Africa he arrived first in Greece, a country that accepts almost zero refugees. Tens of thousands of immigrants are left sleeping rough on the streets, regularly attacked by neo-nazi gangs from the 'Golden Dawn' party and the police.

Amar escaped once again, to Italy. Here the welcome was no better. First the Italian authorities just put him on a boat back to Greece. The Greek police locked him in prison then sent him back to Italy. He managed to stay in Italy this time, but with no support or information, nowhere to live, no right to work. Again he was homeless, and subject to racist assaults at least twice a week. The police not only refused to help, but themselves harassed and attacked Amar and his friends. Finally the police burnt down the house where they were staying.

Amar arrived in England in 2011. After three years of wandering, assaults, hunger, imprisonment, indignity, he had finally found somewhere safe to stay. Amar settled in Leeds, where he made a strong network of friends, studied English at college, and volunteered in local community projects (as an asylum seeker, he is not allowed to do any paid work).

Amar is asking for the chance to live in a way many take for granted, free from constant violence and insecurity. But the UK Home Office wants to tear his life apart once again. The Home Office refuses to let him stay as a refugee in Britain, saying that the Italian authorities have responsibility for him. Last week he was arrested and put in Moreton Hall detention centre near Nottingham. The Home Office plans to force him onto a flight to Milan on Tuesday 1 July.

Amar knows very well what kind of welcome is waiting for him in Italy. At best, homelessness and danger on the streets. Or worse, being sent on to Greece or even Sudan.

***Amar's case is crucial for many refugees.***

Amar's case is far from unique. British and European courts have
recognised the appalling situation for refugees in Greece, and banned all deportations back there. There is an ongoing legal struggle for a similar ruling about Italy, backed by reports and other evidence from the UNHCR and human rights organisations.

Amar, along with five other refugees, is part of an important test case at the Supreme Court. Their lawyers are currently preparing a crucial appeal based on UN evidence. This appeal could overturn a previous ruling allowing Italy deportations. The Home Office seems to be trying to get Amar out of the country before it can come to court. This battle is not just for Amar, but for hundreds of refugees from East Africa and from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and many other places who will be directly affected by what happens in his case.

***PLEASE HELP!***

Many deportations have been stopped through public pressure on the airline, as airlines have the power to refuse to fly any passenger.

Contact British Airways and tell them not to fly Amar against his will on Tuesday morning. The flight details are: flight BA572 from London Heathrow (terminal 5) to Milan at 7.50 AM.
British Airways main customer phone number: 0844 493 0787.
twitter: @British_Airways
facebook: www.facebook.com/britishairways

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Message from Hussein

Great news! Hussein's Removal Directions for tomorrow have been cancelled.
Hi to all, 
Thank you very much. In this difficult period you all stood up with me. To be honest, I never expected this great, unexpected and amazing support from the depth of your heart. I am really proud of you. I do feel family to you. I am never alone.
My last word is thank you. I will never ever forget this kindness from you all.
Hussein

Great News! Hussein's Removal Directions for tomorrow have been cancelled!

Yesterday his solicitor's made a last minute change of tactic and lodged a judicial review, instead of an injunction, paid for with the money you all donated. At lunchtime today his MP's office called and told us that the removal directions are cancelled. Hussein is not being deported tomorrow. Thank you all so much for being part of this success.

But Hussein is not safe yet! 



This campaign has stopped tomorrow's deportation, but the Home Office want to deport people Italy at the moment, so now we need to win the right for Hussein to have his asylum claim dealt with here in the UK. If we achieve this, it will have a positive impact for many other people like Hussein who came to the UK via Italy to claim asylum and be safe.

We have been learning more about the situation in Italy. Due to the recent conflicts in North Africa many people have been fleeing to Southern Europe, in Italy the asylum system is collapsing under the strain. The Italian government has been calling for a change to rules which oblige asylum seekers to remain in the country in which they first arrive.

There have been a variety of challenges to deportations to Italy, for example in the High Court last weekend and a significant pending case Tarakhel v Switzerland in the European Court of Human Rights.  However, the UK government want to continue deportations rather than recognise the serious risks to the lives of people seeking asylum in Italy, 


The Italian reception system for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection is insufficient. As a result, Italy does not comply with its international obligations. In view of this situation, member states of the Dublin Regulation that return people to Italy have a duty to investigate individual cases. If a person to be transferred risks ending up on the streets in all probability without the possibility of achieving independence, the sovereignty clause should be applied. 

Over the next few days we will decide the next steps in this campaign and hope you will continue to be part of it. 

This campaign has many parts and grown through our collective strength and our belief in justice. We have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions- shock, anger, fear, joy, amazement and many sleepless nights. Seeing everyone of your signatures being added to the petition gave us inspiration to keep organising and pushing when it looked like there was no way forward. The torrent of paypal emails in our inbox made our jaws drop. We really want to keep this momentum going forward and we will post further updates here. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

One success, more to go ... Injunctions, MP's, Airlines

Update 19/06/14: MP office just told us that removal directions are cancelled. Hussein is not being deported on 20th June.  


We have enough to pay for injunction! Unbelievable amount of money raised 12 hours! You are all amazing!
Wow, thank you all so much for your help yesterday we now have over 1500 petition signatures for Hussein, including the paper petitions and have raised £1400 which is enough to pay for the solicitors to put in an injunction to aim to halt the deportation. So we don’t need further donations at this point. It's really amazing to feel the power of so many people working together to achieve this.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Donate to Stop Hussein's deportation

Update 19/06/14: MP office just told us that removal directions are cancelled. Hussein is not being deported on 20th June.  
Update 19/06/14: Wow, thank you all so much for your help we now have over 1500 petition signatures for Hussein, including the paper petitions and have raised £1400 which is enough to pay for the solicitors to put in an injunction to aim to halt the deportation. So we don’t need further donations at this point. It's really amazing to feel the power of so many people working together to achieve this. 




Many thanks to everyone who has signed the petition for Hussein to stay in Bristol. We have close to 1000 signatures in support of Hussein so far and will deliver the petition to the Home Office on Wednesday. It's really inspiring to see people coming together in support of freedom and the right to live in safety.

"Thank you very much for your amazing, unbelievable and fantastic support. I hope to see you very soon"
Hussein

Hussein faces deportation on Friday. We need to raise £1200 pay the solicitor to do an injunction to stop this from happening. If everyone who has signed can donate £3 we will have enough  money to pay for the injunction and start a fund towards further legal costs for Hussein. More information (subscribe to get updates).

Donate £3 for Hussein's Legal Costs






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Donate by BACS transfer
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Thanks for reading and for being part of this amazing campaign  for freedom and dignity. Having such wide support for the campaign makes it more possible. This is the community solidarity in action we were creating when we walked to Cardiff.

Dignity group trying to spell out Hussein!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Sign for Hussein to remain #signnow

Update 19/06/14: MP office just told us that removal directions are cancelled. 
Hussein is not being deported on 20th June.  

Update 19/06/14 Wow, thank you all so much for your help we now have over 1500 petition signatures for Hussein, including the paper petitions and have raised £1400 which is enough to pay for the solicitors to put in an injunction to aim to halt the deportation. So we don’t need further donations at this point. It's really amazing to feel the power of so many people working together to achieve this. 
Please now help by e-mailing your MP and Hussien's MP and the airline Air Italia due to fly Hussien 

Hussein Must Stay!


Hussein walked together with us from Bristol to Cardiff over five days 29/5 - 2/6, to highlight how unjust the asylum system is across Europe. On our return to Bristol we expected to celebrate and continue working together for human rights. Instead, Hussein, a member of our community and participant in the march, was detained and taken to Campsfield Detention Centre. The Home Office want to deport him to Italy on Friday 20th June.
We want Hussein to stay because he is family to us.
We want Hussein to stay because he won't be safe in Italy.
We want Hussein to stay because in Italy the asylum system is collapsing.

Hussein Must Stay!
Hussein was a member of a political group opposed to the dictatorship in Chad. His best friend, cousin and father were all arrested and disappeared in 2010 and the authorities were looking for him. He fled to Italy, but in his asylum interview they stopped him giving important information, then refused his case with no explanation and no chance of appeal.  He then found that his life was also in danger in Italy, he was threatened by groups connected to the Chad dictatorship.
He had to leave and came to the UK, which has no historical links to Chad. He thought it would be safe and to claim asylum, but the Home Office has refused to hear his case. Instead the UK wants to deport him on 20th June to Italy under the Dublin III regulation, where his life remains in danger. The Italian asylum system is under severe pressure, people wait for years in overcrowded immigration prisons and the chances of a fair hearing for Hussein's case in Italy are very low. 

If returned to Chad Hussein faces persecution. To be returned would be in contravention of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He must be given the opportunity to apply for asylum and seek safety in the UK. We the undersigned people call on Her Right Hon Teresa May to stop the planned removal for 20th June to Italy and allow Hussein (H.O. No.A1802739) to claim asylum in the UK. Italy's asylum system is under severe pressure and his life would not be safe there.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Collective power - singing in the streets

The spirit of our march to Cardiff lives on... last night in response to the news that our amazing friend Hussein has been given removal directions to Italy we sang a new lively version of Freedom for Hussein, Freedom for Everyone down the phone and for everyone on the streets of Easton.

In the meeting before we got this news, 20 of us met to share updates on the legal information, educate ourselves on the situation in Italy and plan how to continue the campaign. The energy of these meetings is awesome, and combined with the strength of relationships, i feel a tangible sense of collective growing power.






In the next few hours the UK Supreme court will announce its decision as to whether people can be deported to italy given the near collapse of their asylum system, high levels of racial violence, and high level of destitution of refugees.

Fingers crossed for that one.

Whatever the outcome, we will continue to campaign for Hussein to have the right to remain and claim asylum in the UK.



Thursday, 5 June 2014

Undocumented and Unafraid

Undocumented and Unafraid- A talk and discussion on building migrant rights movements with US activist Carlos Saavedra

Wednesday 11th June, 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm, Assisi Community Hall, Lawford Gate
There will also be a private event for all Bristol Refugee Right members on Thursday 12th.

 Carlos Saavedra has helped train thousands of undocumented students in the United States to speak out about their stories. Together they built the DREAMers movement which has won some of the biggest success in migrant rights movements in over 25 years.

“The DREAM movement is about humanising the immigration debate and community knowledge building. ”

How can we learn from this experience in the UK and build an alternative to the toxic immigration ‘debate’?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/19/carlos-saavedra-kept-dream-alive

http://unitedwedream.org

 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Freedom for everyone - stop detentions

One of our dear friends was detained this morning. We are very shocked and worried for his safety and wellbeing. We are having a meeting tomorrow evening, Thursday 5th June, at 7pm - Easton Community Centre to organise:
  • legal support
  • campaigning
  • emotional and practical support for him
If you want to help with one of these three things to help get him out of detention please come tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Day 5 - We arrived at UKBA

Extra people came to join us today, from Bristol, Cardiff and other places, together we walked in the rain to UKBA, where they refused to listen to us!

Marching to UKBA from City Hall, Cardiff.


Afterwards we visited the Oasis centre nearby for lunch and conversation. For those of us who have walked for multiple days it feels so sad to leave the group. We would like to thank you all for your support, whether you joined us on the walk, sent provisions, hosted us, prayed for us, signed our petition or commented and encouraged us via facebook or twitter
Also we were in the paper today!
20140602_152213


Our message to the Freedom March in Brussels

Our facebook message to the Freedom March in Brussels, that we wrote together on Friday evening.



http://freedomnotfrontex.noblogs.org/

Have you signed the petition for a just asylum system that treats us like human beings yet?

We are walking to the home office in Cardiff this morning, to protest and collect petition signatures outside. We will make them aware of our petition, which will be handed in officially later, so please help by signing it.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-more-clampdowns-on-asylum-seekers

We walked for 5 days, you can take 5 minutes to sign your name!!!

Thank you

Powerful arrival in Cardiff

Walking the Coast Path


Today we did the last section of our journey, between Newport and Cardiff. The day started with a bit of a hectic moment about getting water but it arrived in time and no-body got dehydrated. We took the beautiful coastal path and spent the day in song. It was a good day for conversations as the path let us walk side by side in safety. We met lots of cows and enjoyed a few short breaks in the sunshine.

Coming into Cardiff and passing the Lynx hostel was an important moment for many of us. We paused a while to make our presence felt and make sure everyone got flyers.


video


We stopped outside the Home Office on our way into town, to express our dissent. The street rang with our chants. It's amazing how the power and energy have built up over four days walking together. There were strong and mixed feelings among us.

Sarkawt, one of the protesters, said:
"I've been here once before to hand in my fresh claim, and today I'm here to demand justice for everyone. It's not a specific feeling to be here, but I hope I never have to come here again"

Ahmad another said:
"We thank the government for giving 'leave to remain' to many refugees, to live in safety here, but still there are many left whose lives are in genuine danger, whose applications are refused by the government, denying them the protection they really deserve. "

Even Boris Johnson has called for an amnesty for undocumented migrants. We are looking forward to seeing the government implement this soon."

Everyone feels really proud to have done this distance and arrived here, we've done a great job and we hope the government will listen to our demands to treat us all as humans and give safety for every individual who is looking for protection. We were very happy to arrive at the church where we're staying. Local people had created a wonderful meal for us and we were glad to eat, rest and celebrate together. Spontaneous dancing followed, and later a fantastic jamming session.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The longest miles - thanks for the support - Day 3

We set off from Chepstow, via the Castle and the busy High street (people looked a bit confused, but were friendly!)



We walked along lanes, past horses and sheep, we made friends with some animals 

























The Cor Cochion Caerd ydd (Cardiff Reds Choir) joined us at Shirenewton and walked a few miles with us.



We had Lunch and some of us played in the park.





















After lunch we had to pick up the pace, because we had done much less than half of the walk, we had around 11 miles to go and if we walked at the same pace we wouldn't arrive until after 10pm. So no more stopping to talk to animals!




It was really hard, many of us were already quite tired, we encouraged each other and we made it to Newport by 8pm!




We stayed in a church which was built by Irish immigrants and has a congregation from around the world. 

People from the Newport Rising group came and hung out with us in the evening and we made plans to join them the next day for Breakfast.

They sent us out from Cardiff for what?

Asylum seekers in this region of the UK are dispersed from Cardiff, being sent from there out to many cities, like Bristol, Plymouth and Newport, without a choice of destination. Today we are walking back to Cardiff and asking them, what are we supposed to do now, must we wait, wait, wait with nothing?