A case has been recently brought to my attention and one for which I feel the need to try to campaign out there as widely as possible.  I am aware my absence from here has been long, there are explanations and I have not been entirely silent and a few posts are awaiting a bit of editing before publication including ones on the current parlous financial situation.  In the meantime there is a more urgent matter concerning the deportation of a family back to Ghana.

The letter below explains it all, if you agree with the sentiments contained herein I urge you to please sign the petition in order to try to bring about some sanity.  It is a disgrace in the modern world that people should be seen as so transient and to my mind it highlights just how ludicrous and arbitrary the system of national borders is.

To:  Minister for Immigration, Home Office

Dear Liam Byrne MP
Minister for Immigration
Home Office
50 Queen Anne’s Gate

30 September 2008

Dear Mr Byrne,

The Adda Family: Home Office ref: A1290971

Selina and her two children Brian and Chelsea Tumfour are currently at Yarlswood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire awaiting deportation on Friday. Their asylum claim has been rejected.

Selina Adda was born on 25 May 1974 in Tamale in Northern Ghana into a Catholic family in part of the war-like Dagomba tribe. This tribe is ruled by strong chieftains and follows Muslim customs, including female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is common in northern Ghana and, though it was made illegal in 1994, there are few prosecutions of those guilty of the crime.

Selina was betrothed to a Muslim chieftain of the tribe who was 30 years her senior and already married to two wives. She fled to the capital Accra where a pharmacist took pity on her and gave her a job working in his shop. Several years later members of her tribe close to the chieftain spotted her and her whereabouts were made known.

Her mother visited her in Accra and told her that if she didn’t return home and marry him, the chieftain would kill her mother. With the help of the pharmacist she left Accra to claim asylum in the UK. By this time she had met another man and had a child, Brian, in September 2000, and was pregnant with her second child Chelsea who was born in the UK in December 2004. She has no other relatives in the UK.

In 2005, an advert appeared in a Ghanaian newspaper offering a reward for information on Selina. When the family found out Selina had arrived in the UK, they informed the chieftain and he agreed to marry their other daughter. She could not face marrying him and took her own life by taking poison. Her death certificate says she died of food
poisoning. The Home Office refused to accept the suicide letter as evidence.

The firm Paragon Law represented her, but her asylum claim was rejected on 7 December 2007. Her solicitor said there was not enough evidence to show that the chieftain would still pursue her and she could live safely in other parts of Ghana. But people who make threats don’t tend to put it in writing in official documents. She and the children are afraid to go back.

Selina is seeking asylum in the UK because she is betrothed to a man she does not want to marry. She does not believe that the authorities have the power to protect her if members of the chieftain’s tribe discover her again. Nor will they be able to protect Chelsea from FGM, despite the fact that it is technically illegal. Tribal customs mean that if she is discovered again in Ghana, she will be forced to marry a polygamous man based on promises she made when she was just a child and there will be an expectation that Selina will be required to adopt the faith of her husband. Selina rightly believes that going back to Ghana would place her and her children at significant risk.

Since Selina has been in the UK, both her mother and her sister have died. She has no close relatives in Ghana. She suffers from severe depression and was prescribed medication by her GP, which she is still taking. Social services have also been involved in her case. Under their advice, she attended an access to nursing course at Basford Hall College last year and gained a distinction. This year, she had just started taking Maths GCSE in order to get onto a nursing course. Selina’s children are achieving at school and are well settled.

We ask the Home Secretary to use his dIscretion in this case and allow the Adda family to remain the UK on compassionate grounds.

The Undersigned

Song Of The Day ~ Hothouse Flowers – Don’t Go