Tag Archives: refugee week

Flight Halted – Next Action

22 Jun

Paul Blomfield MP Sheffield Central at Lemlem’s demo – good man!

Lemlem Hussein Abdu will not be deported on Sunday.  Paul Blomfield has informed us “Immigration Minister Damian Green has agreed to my request to meet me and the Bishop of Sheffield and to halt Lemlem’s deportation until that meeting. We will be highlighting the support that Lemlem has within Sheffield, and that her deportaion would shame the UK.”

It is essential that we give Lemlem a massive show of support now by emailing Damien Green and Theresa May telling them that we love Lemlem, she should be released from detention immediately and granted leave to remain in the UK.

Email addresses for Home Secretary Theresa May(she has a lot) are;

Theresa May is at; mayt@parliament.uk
CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

PLEASE EMAIL HER AT ALL OF HER ADDRESSES – She’ll like that…

Damian Green:

damian.green.mp@parliament.uk

 

Sheffield NEEDS Lemlem

22 Jun

Thursday 21st June 2012 1pm, Sheffield.  People  gathered to bear witness to the gross injustice in the asylum case of Lemlem Hussein Abdu of Eritrea, 1/1/50 who is currently detained at Yarls Wood Immigration_Removal Centre, Bedfordshire.

Lemlem was born in a village in 1950 in what is now Eritrea   She was married at 12 and spoke Tigrinyan.  She lived a traditional life and was not able to read or write her native language.  Lemlem was surrounded by her family and friends. parents, children, grandchildren…  In 1978 her village was burned down.  Lemlem lost everything.  She fled.  She survived.

Lemlem’s story from then on is well documented – Ice and Fire Theatre Company have made an “Asylum Dialogue” http://iceandfire.co.uk/ of her life story and previous campaigns by the Sheffield community against the wrongdoing of the Uk Border Agency  have highlighted the details…  In 2007  Lemlem was deserted in London, with no money, no ID, no family, no friends, and no English with which to cry for help.  She was 55 years old, disabled and destitute.  

Lemlem came to Sheffied under an arbitrary dispersal order from the UK Border Agency: Against all odds, Lemlem  made a family: Lemlem made a home.

Lemlem is in detention for the third time in the UK.  The Uk Border Agency has booked flights to the Ethiopian capitol Addis Ababa for the third time, despite the fact that their establishment has now accepted that Lemlem Hussein Abdu is Eritrean by ethnicity, not Ethiopian.

Lemlem at demo apposing Eritrean Ambassador UK, Feb 2011

Lemlem talking at IT Club on Monday 18th June 2012 on subject of reporting to UKBA Tuesday 19th June 2012 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_MsrfLctuk&feature=plcp

Please contact the airline on their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/flyethiopian – messages on their page will send shockwaves to the highest levels of their commercial sales team – it will hit them were it hurts, in the pocket.

They are a courteous and charming airline, and will be glad to hear your concerns about their customers and crew – airlines have stopped deportations before now.  Flight ET 701 to Ethiopia 21.00 June 24th 2012 Ethiopian Airlines, Heathrow – Addis Ababa.

Please keep up to date with campaign new and actions by joining the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/102878976433976/

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Please see Sheffield’s response to Lemlem being taken away from us:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APeHGS-NTmc&feature=player_embedded

Please keep trying for Lemlem, for peace, for love, for all of us

Happy refugee week Lemlem – Wishing you were not so terrified, brutalised, denied…

Sheffield Loves Lemlem

20 Jun

 

Lemlem is 62 years old and was born in Eritrea.  The village she comes from was a known support base for the Eritrean Liberation Front and consequently in 1978 her village was attacked by Ethiopian forces and burnt to the ground, leaving Lemlem with no surviving relatives.

Lemlem fled to Sudan and lived in a refugee camp, eventually achieving refugee status.  Finding herself with few opportunities as a refugee in Sudan, she applied for work as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia and got herself a job with a family.  The family regularly visited the UK, and wanted to take Lemlem with them to care for their children, so they obtained an Ethiopian passport for her;

Lemlem is illiterate in both Tigrinya (native tongue) and Arabic (2nd lang), so never applied for, read or even held her own passport.  As Eritrea had gained Independence from Ethiopia in 1993 the passport was fraudulent in relation to her nationality at the very least.

In 2000, Lemlem’s employers visited the UK and took her with them. She had a fall and suffered a broken leg while looking after the family’s children:  She has never fully recovered. Her employers stopped paying her wages as she could no longer carry out some heavy physical tasks.  On a subsequent visit to the UK in 2007 the family abandoned her in a shopping centre with no money and no identification. She has sight and mobility problems.

Lemlem had no prior knowledge of the asylum system in the UK, but came to understand that she would need to register herself and file a claim for “asylum”, which she did.  She was refused.  Lemlem was sent to live in Sheffield, and despite her traumatic history and tragic absence of any living relative or friend, Lemlem threw herself into the Sheffield community, attending ESOL classes, conversation clubs and community groups with an optimism and generosity of spirit that amazed anyone that knew even the remotest detail of her past or current situation.

After her appeals against her refusal for asylum were turned down, Lemlem became destitute.  She became ineligible for any form of public housing or support; having nowhere else in the world to go, she became dependent on charities (notably ASSIST) and the goodwill and generosity of Sheffield people.

In July 2010 and again in October 2010 Lemlem was detained by the UK Border Agency, sent to a detention centre and flights were booked to deport her to Ethiopia, a place where she knows no one, does not speak the language and would receive no form of support.  She could not have survived there.  Thankfully on both occasions injunctions halted the removal orders and spared Lemlem at the very last minute.  No-one who knew Lemlem could bear the thought of her being detained again, never mind deported, so she did not return to the address from which she had been forcibly removed and did not report to sign at the UK Border Agency, the other location from which she had been forced into detention.

A fresh claim for asylum has been prepared for Lemlem by a devoted voluntary legal team.  Friends of Lemlem and those involved in previous campaigns were on standby for Tuesday 19th June 2012 when Lemlem would report to the UK Border Agency and re-register herself.

Lemlem spoke to Ian Nesbit at RASAG IT Club on Monday;

Lemlem

 

On Tuesday 19th June 2012 Lemlem Hussein Abdu, 62, Eritrean was detained by the UK Border Agency and sent to a detention centre.  She will be deported to Ethiopia on Sunday 24th June 2012, 9pm.

A protest will take place outside Sheffield Town Hall , Thursday 21/06/12, 1pm.  We will march to Vulcan House to protest outside the UK Border Agency offices.  They know we are coming and will be expecting a reasonable crowed and a bit of noise disturbance (they shut the curtains on previous occasions).  It is essential that this demonstration gets as many people as possible.

Lots of people will be busy at work and not around town, but if everyone could convince SOMEONE to go, it could make the difference.

Someone sharing the e-petition on facebook today wrote “AMIGOS,POR FAVOR: tirem um minuto para assinar esta peticao. E una historia distante para muitos de nos mas sera una assinatura que pode evitar uma sentenca de morte. Estejam onde estiverem, e isso que ira pesar. Va la, uma pequena contribuicao, um pequeno gesto mas una vida que se salva!!!”  – I wasn’t sure what it meant but Bing informed me that the last part means,” spare a moment to save a life.”

It really is that important.

Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/groups/102878976433976/

Together at Devonshire Green

13 Jun

The launch of the Summer of Sanctuary  got a good old British summer soaking, but was a success nonetheless.  The quality of the acts was immense and we were treated to break dancing, flamenco and Temple music inspired Indian dance among other things.  Cool Runnings were there doling out tasty plates of curried mutton, chicken and ackee and saltfish, and FURD were in full effect with a TV showing the match and a much coveted football.   When the kids had finished decorrating the FURD gazebo with their rice and peas and I’d decided we were wet and muddy enough for one day, we set off leaving the die hards and volunteers to enjoy a kick about and some energetic rain dancing.  Unlike the sunshine, the Lord Mayor did put in an appearance, which I took as my cue to distribute the measley remains of the Legends flyers, with ubiquitous explanation of who RASAG are and what we are trying to do.

Although the Legends leaflet is now finished, to be revamped and reprinted tomorrow, I received in return a juicy stack of glossy flyers of the type RASAG can only dream of, for the Assist World Over Concert 2010, at which we are very proud to be performing, 19th June, Montgomory Hall, Surry Street Sheffield (http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/node/689)  Assist and Summer of Sanctuary’s Dan Stanley also gave me 15 free tickets for Legend’s non-performers to be able to attend the concert, which is really great.  The all-new Legend’s flyer is going to look great paired up with the World Over’s sleek number!

Togther was a positive event with a diverse mix of volunteers and attendees, all of whom came together to celebrate the Summer of Sanctuary’s ethos “Different Pasts, Shared Futures”.  Unfortunately, today’s typically British summer weather meant that it was more of a case of “Differents Pasts, Soggy Present”…  However, the Summer of Sanctuary and Refugee Week 2010 are now underway – so here we go, RASAG’s Legends coming soon!

Storying Sheffield

12 Jun

I was very pleased to be able to attend the Storying Sheffield showcase yesterday, an innovative project with remarkably similar aims to the Legends project. (http://www.storyingsheffield.com/).  I was impressed and somewhat envious of the scale of the project both in terms of the multimedia exhibition and the crowd, who were packed in by the hundred.  The exhibition was vibrant and varied, with features including a mobile of comments about Sheffield, photo stories, video footage of interviews and arrays of items representing participant’s image of the Steel City, from cutlery to boiled sweets, ale to art.   Regrettably, I was unable to reach the short film exhibition space, as forcing my way through the crowd with a sleeping toddler in her pushchair was inhibited by the announcement of the live presentation, a review of the project’s achievements with plenty of humour and some excellent poetry. 

Although enjoyable and informative, the presentation was somewhat inhibited by numbers, as I could neither see the stage nor hear all of the speeches – some people at the back of the room started to filter out as a result.   The presentation was curtailed by the prospect of the Lord Mayor’s imminent arrival, and this being the third event I was to see him at in 10 days I began to fear stalking accusations and set to promoting the Legend’s performances.

On the whole the promotion went well, although I began to see the flaw in my leaflet, which simply gives the name Sheffield RASAG, without explaining that it is a refugee and asylum seeker community group…  I found myself repeating this fact to people over and over while both relishing the fact that I hadn’t blown the whole printing budget on the flawed design, and regretting that I didn’t have more printed to cover the numbers at Storying Sheffield and have some left for Peace in the Park (http://web.peaceinthepark.org.uk/) and and the launch of the Summer of Sanctuary, Together at Devonshire Green (http://www.eventsheffield.co.uk/event/14525/summer-of-sanctuary-together-in-sheffield).  With a miniscule budget of £20.00 to cover the entire project it is a constant dilemma of whether to spend or save and I left this event feeling that I had underestimated the levl of potential to promote Legend’s this weekend.

Having thouroughly enjoyed Storying Sheffield and been convinced that their aims and ethos is noteably similar to our own, now’s the time for RASAG to see if they can offer us any help with promting our events and extending our lifespan, which is hanging in the balance after the rejection of an important funding bid…  Like Storying Sheffield we intend to be back bigger and better next year, so lets find out if there’s any potential for collaboration and stand united, narrating in the face of adversity!

“Football, a shared sense of belonging?”

11 Jun

RASAG were out in force last night to support FURD at the launch of their 3 year research project into whether football and other cultural devices provide a mutual sense of belonging for refugees and asylum seekers.  The project, led by FURD’s Chris Stone, will provide a platform for refugees and asylum seekers to discuss their thoughts through football.  Chris says “Many football fans see the game as a way of bridging communities, bringing individuals closer together and as a brilliant tool for social change.” (copyright FURD http://www.furd.org/default.asp?intPageID=498)

Yesterday’s event was hosted at City College and despite power cuts and rain was a great success!  Attendees ranged from City of Sanctuary and Northern Refugee Centre representatives, to the Lord and Lady Mayor, to players in FURD’s annual All Nations tournament (20th June, Goodwin building, Sheffield Hallam University) and of course, team RASAG!  A sub-Saharan feast was laid on and a panel of experts including ex-Blade Brian Deane and FURD’s own Desbon talked guests through their own and our (gathered by survey) predictions for South Africa 2010, thus removing the need for any of us to watch the games – Phew!  On the whole the panel and audience were in agreement in our predictions, although the audience didn’t note Serbia as a contender in group D and there was a whisper of controversy when the panel put through the Ivory Coast over Portugal in group G.  The eventual winners were, or should I say will be,  (look away now if you want to wait til the final) – Brazil – no surprises there then!  Fear not though, England put in a sterling performance and make it all the way to the semi-finals (or was it quarters?), but are eventually knocked out, possibly due to the arrival of team WAG and Wayne Rooney’s filthy language….

All in all, the launch party marked the start of what will be a very exciting project and an excellent opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers in Sheffield to get involved in research, share their experiences and get skilled up at the same time.  On our way to the event I was talking up the party element of the evening and, most likely, getting very excited over the prospect of some nice food!  I was brought back to Earth and reminded of the level of committment to self improvement and education the RASAG group have when a member named Fuad turned to me very seriously and said “We must learn something this evening.”  Well, we certainly did and I am sure we are all very excited and very much looking forward to being involved in this project and contributing to it in any way we can.

Performances and picnic

9 Jun

Legends storytelling group will be performing at

Heeley Festival Sat, 19/06/2010 all day in a gazebo

One World Over Sat, 19/06/2010 – 19:00 – 22:00. In Aid of ASSIST, at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey St (by the big wheel)

Central Library Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1XZ, 12.30 – 1.30 Mon 28/06/2010

Ecclesall Library 120 Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 9PL, 5.30 – 6.30 Mon 28/06/2010

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113963548647447&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=105594016150685&ref=ts

The RASAG/Big Lunch picnic will now be held at Sharrow Summer Flea Market, Old Junior School, South View Road Sheffield S7 1DB on 12 – 5 pm, 18/07/2010

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113963548647447&ref=ts