Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bristol Councillors across all major political parties vote YES

Tonight, Bristol City Council voted YES to support the first aim of our campaign - to end Signing at Patchway. They will join us in putting pressure on the Home Office. 

Listen to Janet and Claire speak about the challenges for migrants to sign at Patchway.
Here is what the Councillors said in the debate.

Cllr Ron Stone (who presented the motion)
"It is hard enough for most of us to drive to patchway. even more difficult to work out a route that makes sense on public transport. Imagine yourself someone in this country, fear of life back home, maybe limited english, restricted financial support and legally required to sign at a police station in this city and your only option is to walk.

We claim to be a city of sanctuary. We have plaques that we have congratulated ourselves, of being supportive, of being humanitarian and understanding, yet this is a nonsense. What we should do to deserve this plaque, all of us in the council chamber tonight is to recognise the difficulty of that lady who spoke earlier, to give her 100% support. We need to lobby the Home Office and get better, more flexible, signing for people who are here trying to get legal application to become british citizens. I ask you seriously tonight to support this motion, across the political divide

Cllr Hopkins
"Last week i took opportunity to meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner to raise this matter, and we have their full support. There will be a police presence within the Lawrence hill area, it will be sufficient to allow the service to be provided from that area. We are pushing at an open door. It is also right that we get the Mayor to put energy into this matter and solve this very important problem.

Cllr Bolton
"There are times when it is difficult to understand how such crass decision are made. One can only hope the decision was an act of stupidity. If it is deliberate then it is quite a deliberate act of malice against some of the most vulnerable people in our city. Either way, it has no place in a caring city and the decision should be reversed.

Cllr Melais
"Cllr Ron clearly feels very passionate. Our group fully supports this. UK has long and honourable respectable reputation for assisting those who seek refuge on our shores. I have no intention of widening this debate in to the rights and wrong of national policy on the subject. All too often these arguments get reduced to different views over how asylum applications are handled and resolved.  As far as this resolution is concerned, as Ron explained, since 1st October of this year there is a requirement for many migrants to travel out to report at Patchway police station. I'm sure most members here will agree given our less than perfect transport system this is an unreasonable task and less than sensible arrangement. Bristol Refugee Rights website also advise us that the policy is to be reviewed in 2015. No doubt our Police and Crime Commissioner will be as interested as us in finding an alternative sensible location where the signing can take place. Of course no harm calling our Mayor to work with Sue Mountstevens and do what he can. We support the motion.

Mayor Ferguson
"I thank the petitioners and Ron for bringing this to our attention. I will absolutely work with Police and Crime Commissioner to lobby the Home Office to see if we can get a much more satisfactory arrangement.

Cllr Khan
"I know we have lots of issue around this asylum seeker. I have to mention the abuse that has been done to asylum seekers, such as introducing a van going round,and when they go to sign and they are detained for no reason, and now they have to travel to Patchway to sign. Underlining all of the good things that people do in this country, they are always on the spotlight for no reason. Again they are on the spotlight, lack of funds and physical illness are causing too much stress. I as well also ask the Mayor and Police Commissioner to do everything possible to bring a signing in the city so that these people can be left alone and abide the law and do their everyday business."

Cllr Jama
"As someone who was a former refugee and asylum seekers, and a big supporter of Bristol City of Sanctuary status, it makes me angry and galls me, that our city leaders, whether in the police or in the council, that in terms of this City of Sanctuary status, it is about celebrating this status. It is about being proactive, embedding in the actions we take, making sure that these poor vulnerable people who live in everyone of our wards, are safeguarded and not further hurt by some indirect action the border agency has taken.
I raised this issue with the Police Crime Commissioner over 3 months ago and with Senior Offices within the Council and I am really embarrassed and angry that it has come to to. We knew this was going to happen. We knew the signing was going to change from Trinity Road police station and it was going to now happen at Patchway. The asylum seeker and refugee community, with Labour party raised this issue. Why has the council and the police, with all its mights and personnel and resources not managed to be proactive about this and stop the signing changing from one location to another?

We have heard that this feels like a punishment to this community, some of these people have been persecuted in their country. They are hear looking for a safe haven. I am really disappointed in the council and in the police and I hope George Ferguson the Mayor and the Council will work with us to ensure this catastrophe is bought a very quick end and also that the learning from this, that  when decisions are made that we are know are going to impact negatively on a poor community, that we stop them before it actually happens."

Cllr Hance,
"All kinds of ghastly indignities inflicted to asylum seekers across the country. I am quite proud that in this city we have caught the, we have cross party agreement, we noticed and we are going to try and do something about it. That is quite unusual."

Everyone except the UKIP councillor voted in favour. He did not speak against it. 

Press Release -Council debate whether to support campaign and bus stop solidarity demonstration

Council debate whether to support campaign and bus stop solidarity demonstration
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 17th, a group of refugees, migrants and allies will be holding a city centre bus stop solidarity protest with all people who have to report with the Home Office at Patchway.

Over 500 migrants in Bristol are required by the Home Office to sign in regularly. Until recently, people reported at Trinity Police Station. Since 1st October 2014, they have to travel to Patchway police centre, a 14 mile round trip from the centre.

Over half of the people signing are asylum seekers, having fled their country due to war or persecution. The group will be holding their protest near the bus stops by Primark, holding images of bombed out Broadmead to make the link between war and people seeking safety here in the UK.

Asylum applicants are already struggling with anxiety and depression - finding solicitors, gathering evidence, facing cultures of disbelief in the Home Office, not being allowed to work, being made destitute. Reporting at Patchway is making this situation even more unbearable. 

The protest is part of a Campaign to end signing at patchway and reduce signing frequency. The Dignity group, with the support of Bristol Refugee Rights and Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers have already collected over 800 signatures in support of their campaign goals. They will be asking more people to sign in support of dignity and freedom.

"It is all too common for people claiming asylum to have to wait years for their case to be resolved. The majority who are initially refused go on to win their leave to remain in the UK.  During this long wait, people have to keep signing every week. Each time they go, there is the chance they will be detained, taken to a detention centre and deported. Signing is a stressful experience for all, traumatic for some." said Claire, from East Bristol and Dignity member

On Tuesday evening, the council will be debating a motion tabled by Cllr Ron Stone, and will vote as to whether to lobby the Home Office to end signing at Patchway.

"I have a daughter aged 3 and she goes to school in Soundwell from 9am till 12. On my signing day, Tuesday, she misses school, because I have to be at Patchway between 10.30 and 11.30. From Easton it takes 1 hour30 minutes each way. It is not possible for me to take her to school in Soundwell, then go to Patchway and return in time to pick her up at 12. So she misses school. When I signed at Trinity Road she didn't miss school, because the journey was not so long." S, Bangladesh

The protest will take place by the bus stop from where the buses to Patchway leave to offer solidarity to those going to sign. However, not all can afford the bus. Only those in receipt of support from the Home Office are entitled to travel costs. Destitute asylum seekers either have to walk all the way or beg lifts or bus fares. Parents have to take children out of nursery, students are forced to miss college classes, disabled people find it even more difficult to travel to Patchway.

"I see no reason why people should be signing so often. Two to three days before signing you can't eat. After signing you are happy, then after 3 days you start to worry again. I feel so worried for those still signing weekly. Nothing guarantees you will sign and go back home. It is very sad. It dominates lives. We must end signing" M, West Africa and Dignity member

The Home Office have committed to a 3 month review of the decision to move signing to Patchway.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Will your councillor vote to support the campaign?

Tomorrow, Tuesday 16th December, Bristol City Council will debate whether to support our campaign to end signing at Patchway and reduce signing frequency?

Can you ask your councillor if they plan to vote in support of the campaign?

Councillor Finder

We will be outside from 5.30 - 6.15 to draw councillors attention to the campaign and to show support for people going in to speak about their experiences of signing. Do come and join us if you can.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Listen to speakers from BRR Detention Inquiry Public Meeting

"We are humans. We flee war. We can't go in the sky. we can't go under the ground. We just have this one world"

On Wednesday 17th December hundreds of people packed out the Malcolm X Centre in Bristol, home to the Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR) Welcome Centre to hear and learn from a panel of well informed and passionate people.
  • Beth Cooper, BRR - Introduction to the night and speakers, "Human Rights Day 365"   listen 
  • Alice Cutler, BRR - Introduction to the Speakers, Campaign goals and action ideas  Listen 
  • JP - he takes us on a moving guided storytelling tour of the detention system from waking up at home in the morning, to finding yourself in a cell. Listen 
  • Melanie Griffiths, Asylum Welcome- A History of the Immigration Prison Complex and Expansion Plans  Listen 
  • Bashir, BRR - 26 months in detention Listen 
  • BRR 1st Recommendation listen 
  • Eiri Ohtani, Detention Forum listen 
  • BRR 2nd Recommendation listen 
  • Abdul, BRR - detained despite  being a victim of torture listen  
  • BRR 3rd Recommendation listen 
  • BRR 4th Recommendation listen 
  • Signing Support, Visitors Group and Long Walk to Patchway Campaign listen 
  • Questions to Panel  listen

Please sign the petition and share these powerful stories with friends.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Two to three days before signing you can't eat

Long Walk to Patchway.....Long Walk to Freedom

We had a great campaign launch night last week. 45 people came and heard people speak about their experiences of signing.

"I see no reason why people should be signing weekly. Two to three days before signing you can't eat. After signing you are happy, then after 3 days you start to worry again. I feel so worried for those still signing weekly. Nothing guarantees you will sign and go back home. It is very sad"

"Whatever we can do to stop weekly signing is good. It can kill you. You are the only one who know how you feel."

We watched a film about Oraisha, from Leeds speak about his experience of signing, detention and the asylum system. We felt sad and worried for him and many others, people can feel so overwhelmed. Yet at the same time Oraisha and many more people are speaking out and coming together.

E, from Ivory Coast, spoke about having to walk to patchway, how long the journey is, how he has been waiting months now for his support (eg a room in a hostel type accomodation and 35 quid a week) to come through but still waiting. He has to beg money from friends.

We talked together about our ideas for the campaign and ended the evening with dancing and drumming together.

Since then over 600 people have signed our online petition and we are busy organising a protest for Wednesday 17th December, 9.30 -1pm near Primark, Broadmead, opposite the bus stop where people who have to sign and have bus money, get the bus to Patchway. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Solidarity, Struggle and Resistance in Campsfield

On Saturday 29th November we joined campaigners outside Campsfield House to demonstrate for the closure of the Detention Centre. Over 50 people from local, national and international groups congregated in Kidlington to march to Campsfield. 
 We brought banners, horns, drums and voices to make a noise and show our solidarity with the people inside. Some of us scrambled up trees while others shook the fence. We walked through muddy fields to get to the back of the detention centre, where the detainees could hear us more clearly: “DETAINEES – FREE THEM NOW”. Over the megaphone we read out phone numbers that could be called by people who needed legal advice or a friendly person to talk to. We felt a deep solidarity with the detainees as we chanted together over the 16ft fence. 

We had to leave at 2o’clock as in the past visitors to detainees have only been allowed in when all campaigners have left the premises. We had been talking to some members of Movement for Justice who told us that, even though it is difficult to make visible, it is resistance from inside centres like Campsfield that is key to ending detention. 
They said that in fact this kind of resistance is happening in detention centres across the country and see our role as supporting their struggles. That is how it felt as we were leaving when a loud and powerful voice came from a group of about 40 people in the courtyard. “FREEDOM!” one man called and the group responded, “FREEDOM!” It was exhilarating to feel their strength, but we were also scared about how the authorities would contain that power.
Two hours after we left a detainee with mental health issues was seriously assaulted. Detainees reported that he was left in a critical condition after being beaten up by Mitie security guards. Between 60 and 100 detainees occupied the courtyard to protest against his brutal and unlawful treatment and the inhuman conditions people suffer during detention. Two other detainees were hurt by guards in the ensuing struggle and sustained minor injuries. At least three others were forced into solitary confinement.
One detainee said, “All they are trying to do right now is not let the news get out of this centre. I would like to say if there is anyone who has any feelings please, please speak for us.” We must not let the noise of the resistance be dampened in a remote field outside of Oxford.
The demands of the 60-100 protesting detainees are:
  • Permission to see their friend in order to see what happened to him
  • Release of the (at least 3-4) people forced into solitary confinement
  • Punishment for the guards who beat up the detainee
  • End to inhuman treatment, deprivation of freedom and separation from families

See video footage: https://vimeo.com/113244678

Monday, 24 November 2014

It is scary seeing them.

D's experience

I am a mother of four children and I have been signing for one year 
and a half. It often takes me two hours to get to Patchway with the 
bus. I am always worried when I go to signing. I have been detained twice before. I always think about the people at the desk, what are they going to say, what are they going to ask, what are they going to do. It is scary seeing them.
Cells at Patchway Police Station where people seeking safety in UK are detained
Join us on Thursday 27th November 6.30pm - 9pm at Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Easton for the launch of our campaign to end signing at Patchway and reduce the frequency that people have to sign.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Long Walk To Patchway..Long Walk to Freedom

Dear friends,

We invite you to our Campaign Launch Night:

'The Long Walk to Patchway, The Long Walk to Freedom'

27th November, 6.30pm – 9.pm

Speakers      Short films     Food       Drumming      Dancing

Asylum seekers and other migrants are required to regularly report to the UK Border Agency.

Every time someone turns up to sign, there is a chance they will be detained with no warning, transported to a detention centre and deported to a country they had to flee from. For many, reporting to the UKBA is a terrifying and stressful experience.

In October, the signing location was moved from the centre to Patchway. A 14 mile round trip. Some people are having to walk as dont have the money for the bus, some have to take their children out of nursery to attend, others are missing college. Some have to make the journey every week.

UKBA have said they will review the decision at the end of December.

We are organising a month of action in December. 

UKBA must end reporting at Patchway. They must reduce signing frequency.

Come to the launch night to meet people and find out more. All proceeds from food go towards our detention legal fund.

6.30pm, 27th November

Kebele Social Centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton


building our movement to end detention

Monday, 22 September 2014

An update on Kabran's case and another funding appeal

Kabran was taken to Heathrow on 30th July, but at the eleventh hour his deportation to the Ivory Coast was prevented by the intervention of his solicitor and a judge. After this he was taken to detention in Colnbrook, near Heathrow, and then in Haslar near Portsmouth. He is now (as of three weeks ago) back in Bristol and enjoying being free. Many thanks to everyone who took action on his behalf, whether by signing the petition, lobbying the MP or contacting the airline. This is solidarity in action.

Kabran is still in danger of deportation if his fresh claim for asylum is rejected. We are still trying to raise further funds for legal fees for his case. This may involve a rehearing of Kabran's asylum claim, or a judicial review into the Home Office's handling of the case. The legal fee for the judicial review is £1000. We still need about £850 of this. Kabran has a good case, but we need to ask for your help again. If enough people who read this give £1, £2 or whatever they can afford to our legal fund we can cover this cost. Our legal fund bank details are:
Sort Code  07 00 30
Account No. 6224 2667

We have more plans for the Autumn including some training with Right to Remain to make our campaigning more effective, and more fundraising activities for our campaigns (maybe involving some outdoor music events), so watch this space. If you are interested in taking part in the training, or getting involved in any of our activities, email us on asylumisnotacrime [at] mail [dot] com.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

For an end to detention centres

Movement for Justice have been organising monthly demonstrations at Harmonsworth Detention Centre, strongly giving the message that Detention must End.

Dignity for Asylum Seekers will join this protest on September 13th.  

The End of Detention Centres

We are going to the protest because we need the government to hear about the problem of asylum seekers and refugees. They must listen to us and solve the problem of our asylum applications taking a very long time and then often being wrongly refused. The Home Office must make fair decision on our cases. Our lives are stopped when they make wrong decisions – they cut our air, we can't breathe.

We come from different countries and we face hardship, fighting, war. In many cases the British Government has been involved and has some responsibility for the people whose lives have been uprooted. We come here but our problems continue.

They detain us. Detention is like a jail, they put the persons in the jail yet they aren't guilty. They haven't done anything. They have not committed a crime. So why they stay inside a detention centre? We need our freedom back. If we make more protest we can help more people get out, and come together and spread the news and tell the Home Office to close all these detention centres.

The solution is to close all these detention centres, and instead look at our cases fairly and give people the right to remain.

We need all the MP's to understand this. They can't forget us. We will keep knocking at their doors. They must listen to the people and stand with us. They must write to the Home Office to support us.

We go there because we are inspired by Movement for Justice. We feel part of a European movement of people fighting for the rights of all migrants. We spread the word and the news of the campaign to end detention to other people and inivte everyone to join together, from other cities. We must spread the news on the internet, and on tv and in newspapers that are not against us.

Detention is no good for us. You detain a person and you take away their freedom of movement. It is not fair to take this away. This unjustice does not solve their problem, it makes the pressure on our lives bigger.

We hope we close all detention centres. They shouldn't deport people. Where do we go? Its not safe. If we go back maybe they kill us. Anything could happen to our safety. We need a safe place and live in Dignity.

If you would like to come with us, please email asylumisnotacrime@mail.com

Photo: Flyer for Surround Harmondsworth #4 Get the word out & plan to get there by any means necessary! Build the movement to #ENDdetention #ENDFastTrack & STOP the scapegoating of immigrants

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Bristol West constituent and resident Kabran due to be deported to life threatening situation in less about 6 hours.

Great news an injunction to stop Kabran Eric's Flight has been granted! This means he won't fly today, but he will remain in detention. Thank you all so much for your help. Let's keep on fight this unjust system! Kabran may be save today, but the system is broken 
Tweet: Kabran's deportation cancelled less than 4 hours before the flight, system not right #‎STOPdeportations‬ @DignityBristol
Kabran's deportation cancelled less than 4 hours before the flight, system not right #‎STOPdeportations‬ @DignityBristol 

Kabran Eric is part of our Dignity group family.
Sadly despite our efforts, Kabran Eric told us he is being moved ready for deportation and doesn't think he will have access to his phone. As you can imagine we are really upset about this and extremely worried about him. He faces real danger in the Ivory Coast, due to his involvement in the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), with his brother and friends having been killed.

We are still fighting, just this morning his solicitor has made extra submissions and lodged an injunction application at the High Court and his MP Stephen Williams' office has written to the home office and over 500 people have signed his petition online and on paper in support of Kabran Didier-Eric Yao and many people have been phoning and e-mailing Kenyan Airlines. We have 6 hours left to make a fuss about this injustice. 

Please share your outrage on Twitter and Facebook and write to his MP Stephen Williams, whose office is being very supportive of Kabran. We need to share how frustrating this system is and how it needs to change.

Kabran has new evidence which hasn't been looked at yet. It does not make sense for him to be deported without even looking at this fresh evidence supporting his claim.

Talking to Kabran on the phone last week during our
Dignity Group Iftar Dinner, which he had planned to cook.
Kabran was detained on 2 weeks ago on 16th July, since then we have been campaigning and supporting him. He was given removal directions just one week ago. We believe this rushed process intentionally prevents Kabran and many others from having their case fully examined and considered.

Kabran's asylum case was refused a few months ago and since then new evidence has come to light. New material was published which added to his case and additional evidence was received. Prior his detention Kabran wanted to put in a new case, but he was not able to access legal aid and was unable to find any legal representation. Even after he was detained we spent a lot of time trying to find a solicitor willing to represent him, many were too busy or unable to take on a client in detention and eventually a friend of his found and paid for a solicitor for him.

Rushing into deporting people, whilst denying them access to legal aid and not exploring their evidence is wrong and is a sign of an asylum system which prizes removals of people over protecting those at risk from political and other forms of persecution as the UK has agreed to through the Refugee Convention and Protocol

Monday, 28 July 2014

Kabran update - can you contact Kenya Airlines to stop a deportation?

Kabran’s removal is scheduled for Wednesday, and we won’t find out until the last minute whether efforts from his solicitor and MP have been successful. If they are unable to cancel the deportation, the next opportunity to win time for Kabran’s fresh claim is through the airline itself - Kenya Airlines.

Many campaigns have been successful in persuading airline companies to refuse carriage, thus effectively preventing a removal. Kenya Airlines has responded to positively to public pressure in the past.

If you can, please telephone Kenya Airlines on +44 20 82831800 (London office) or +44 020 8759 7366 (Airport office, listed as Emergencies only) and ask them not to participate in the unjust deportation of Kabran Didier-Eric Yao

Please write to them at customer.relations@kenya-airways.com and UKres@kenya-airways.com and/or fax their London office on +44 020 8283 1880

To help you, we have drafted the letter below. Please feel free to use it as it is or to make any changes you see fit - unique, personalised messages are probably even more effective, but sheer volume of response is also persuasive.

If you get a response, please let us know on asylumisnotacrime [at] gmail.com.

Thank you!

The Kabran support team

Dear Kenya Airways

I am concerned about the safety of a passenger booked on your flight KQ101 to Nairobi at 20:00 on 30.07.14, and KQ520 to Abidjan 09:05 31.07.14.

His full name is Kabran Didier-Eric Yao (HO ref A1827716). He is scheduled to be deported against his will, by the Home Office, despite having a strong prima facie case for humanitarian asylum and fresh evidence to submit a new claim.

Kabran fled from Ivory Coast, where his life was in danger due to his involvement in the Ivorean Popular Front (FPI). When the FPI lost power after a disputed election in 2010 more than 3,000 FPI supporters were killed, among them Kabran’s brother.

I believe this is as strong as evidence for a direct personal threat to life is ever likely to get, and that the Home Office is acting unlawfully and against its moral duties and international legal obligations.

Kabran will no doubt be escorted onto the plane by security guards, but he is likely to be fearful and distressed - he is anticipating a life-threatening situation when he arrives, and it is only just over a year since he fled, so it is likely the situation is still very dangerous for former FPI supporters.

His very understandable fear and distress is likely to show and be distressing to other passengers, and create a very negative impression of the airline, for accepting the contract with the Home Office to remove someone so unjustly.

A petition from Bristol friends, who know Kabran from the Refugee Welcome Centre (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/let-kabran-stay), has received over 400 signatures and is being presented to our MP today, in the hope of cancelling the deportation instruction to gain time for Kabran to present fresh evidence to support his application for humanitarian refugee status.

Please consider his safety on and after the flight, the likely distress to other passengers, and the reputational risk to your company.

It is also not only the Home Office's legal and moral responsibility to uphold international humanitarian law, it is every individual and organisation's responsibility. Complying with the order from the Home Office is no excuse, it is not "just doing a job", it is sending someone back into serious personal danger against their will, and retrospectively it might be judged unlawful.

Please refuse to transport Kabran against his will, to help make sure Kabran has a fair chance and a proper hearing for his humanitarian asylum claim.

Yours sincerely

Sign here

Friday, 25 July 2014

Share our support for Kabran

Many thanks to all those who have already signed the petition to free Kabran Eric at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/let-kabran-stay we have over 200 signatures, lots of retweets and facebook shares and some actions which is great!

Lake District Arts Projects sends a message of support for Eric
Please send any photos of support or action to
Please keep spreading the word, get your friends involved and share by email, Click to share on Facebook and Click to share on Twitter, or good old fashioned word of mouth. We don't have much time as Kabran has removal directions for 30th July, so we need to act now!

The last few days have involved lots of phoning solicitors to try and get legal representation for Kabran. It has really brought home to us the volume of people in detention who are in need of legal support, and the need for more availability of legal aid to fund immigration cases. The Home Office has created a completely unjust situation in which hundreds of vulnerable people are denied access to the help and support they need simply by bureaucracy.

In the next few days, we will be increasing the pressure on local MP Stephen Williams to intervene on behalf of Kabran, using the petition (online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/let-kabran-stay and some signatures we have collected on paper). Watch this space for updates on our plans to deliver the petition to Stephen Williams early next week.

No-one is free until we are all free.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Freedom for Kabran

We were just recovering from the emotional rollercoaster of Hussein's detention, deportation orders and subsequent release when another friend of ours, Kabran Didier-Eric Yao, was also detained at Trinity Police Station, Bristol, and is now at being held at Campsfield. Kabran is from Ivory Coast and has been in Bristol for just over a year.

Kabran's asylum claim was rejected, but he now has evidence to make a fresh claim. However, he has been given removal directions for July 30. He has so far been unable to see a solicitor in detention and needs more time to prepare his case. Please join us in calling on Stephen Williams, local MP for Bristol West, to ask the Home Office to revoke Kabran's removal directions; release him from detention; and give him more time to prepare a fresh claim for asylum in the UK.

You can read more about Kabran's situation, and sign a petition for his realease, at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/kabran

Watch this space for more things you can do to support Kabran. Everyone deserves the right to freedom and safety.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Hussein out of Campsfield - letting the fruit grow

Dear all the supporters,
Thank you very much for being shade over my head protecting me from the heat.
Thank you for for this amazing support, including donations. You have been so amazing by helping everyone who needs your help. Specially to us asylum seekers. You are the rain to the earth, if there was no rain, no fruit will grow (we asylum seekers). You all stood up as one fighting against the injustice. This is solidarity. This is integration. Thank you and again.I hope I will stand beside everyone who needs me, as you people helped me.
piggy back celebration!
Last Friday Hussein walked free from Campsfield immigration prison and we had a very very happy celebratory reunion – dancing, tree climbing, singing, smiling. 

Thank you to all of you who contributed to ensure his freedom and to challenge the Home Office's unjust decision making. Our campaigning inspired and motivated the barristers and solicitors who represented Hussein and it created some accountability in the Home Office and the bail Judge's decision making.

This week the Home Office tried to deport Amar to Italy.

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 f or Amar, but for hundreds of refugees...[including Hussein]

Effective public campaigning and legal work has just stopped this deportation! We hope to join these campaigns together to try to stop all deportations to Italy, until there is a fair and just asylum process there. If you would like to be involved in this fight, and/or the work of the Dignity group, please sign up for the relevant updates here: http://eepurl.com/VK4G1.

Hussein is currently bailed to the Cardiff regional asylum dispersal centre. We are lobbying the Home Office to ensure he is 'dispersed' to Bristol, so he can rejoin his community and be active again in Bristol Refugee Rights, FoodCycle and Dignity Group.

The Bristol Refugee Rights Advice and Advocacy service (AID) will continue to support him through the ongoing legal process. However, BRR is facing severe funding cuts and are fundraising so they can keep the AID service open for all asylum seekers. If you can commit to give just £2 a month to the aid team you can help support Hussein and others get ongoing advice and advocacy from BRR AID team.

Donate Monthly via LocalGiving

Donate via paypal

Thank you again for standing with Hussein and standing up for a fair and just asylum system.

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.


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.


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.

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 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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Account No. 6224 2667

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’?




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.