Another Family Abducted by the Home Office
Friday January 25, 2008 12:14 by Friends of Brigitte and Lizzie
Rape doesn't count as political persecution...
Brigitte and Lizzie currently detained in Yarl's Wood IRC, are facing deportation to Cameroon on Tuesday 29 January 2008 on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 @ 19:00 from London Heathrow terminal 4 to Nairobi, and onward to Douala Cameroon. Her partner Bernard and father of Lizzie is currently detained in Campsfield IRC and booked on the same flight.
Brigitte & LIzzie
Brigitte is a supporter and a member of the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC). She became active within the SCNC due to her strong bound with her father who is an English speaker. Brigitte also supports the aims of the SCNC that promotes equal opportunity amongst all Cameroonian irrespective of language sex religion and ethnicity. Brigitte joined the SCNC on 1st October 2001 was active until she left Cameroon.
On 1st October 2001, she attended a rally in Kumbo Stadium with her uncle, the rally resulted in a confrontation with the police and consequently people were shot and some lost their life. Brigitte was arrested and detained for ten days in a local police station, in which time she was raped and beaten by guards. She was released after a demonstration by SCNC supporters outside the police station.
On 1st October 2002 the SCNC organised a requiem mass at Kumbo stadium, which was followed by a silent march. Brigitte attended the mass and took part in the march. The marchers were confronted by the police who tried to negotiate with them to abandon the event. She was arrested and detained for 21 days, during which time she was again beaten and raped. She was released after signing a document that she would not continue her activities with SCNC.
In 2005, she became part of a team distributing SCNC's leaflets in Bonaberi district of Douala. On 25th of August 2005, Brigitte was arrested while distributing leaflets and taken to the police station at Douala, where she was held for three weeks during which time she was beaten and sexually abused. She was then transferred to the Central Prison Douala New Bell where these abuses continued. She spent two and a half months in this prison and was released by the help of a warder. She was provided with a Cameroonian passport bearing another persons name and her travel to the UK was arranged in January 2007.
Brigitte's asylum claim was refused on grounds of lack of credibility, the Home Office simply refused to believe the trauma she had undergone in Cameroon. Her partner Bernard was already in the UK as he had fled Cameroon in 2002 to the UK, his asylum claim was refused in 2004.
On January 21st 2008 Brigitte, Bernard Kamtcheu her husband and her daughter Lizzie, were deeply asleep in their Bristol home when they were woken, early in the morning by a group of 10 immigration and police officers who entered their bedroom without even knocking at the door. They found the police standing right on top of their bed, asking them to wake up and follow them. They were not allowed to collect their belongings, neither to get some dresses for Lizzie who is only 9 months old.
The family was separated by the police, Brigitte was taken to Yarl's Wood IRC and Bernard to Campsfield IRC.
In the UK Brigitte has maintained a good relationship with her Bristol Community where she and her daughter are well known and well integrated. On Brigitte's arrival in Bristol in January 2007 she found her way to the Roman Catholic Church of St Nicholas of Tolentino and has been a regular worshipper there; the whole parish community, through its Refugee Office, supports many people coming to the UK seeking safe asylum. Brigitte was pregnant at the time and was supported in many practical ways during this time and enjoyed coming to the Welcome Centre, run in collaboration with Bristol Refugee Rights, to take English Classes and to meet and socialize with other asylum seekers and volunteers. She is a warm open person and made friends very easily. She is a very competent Mum and Lizzie is a contented child. Brigitte is an intelligent young woman and came back to the Centre many times to continue learning English; she was helpful around the Centre and keen to play her part in integrating new people.
She is also very active within the Cameroon Support Network (CNS), a group set up to help Cameroonians to settle in the UK. She has attended demonstrations organised by the group, the latest in October 2007 at Birmingham. Brigitte is also active within the Cameroon Diaspora Coalition (CDC) an organisation set up to fight against Human rights abuses in Cameroon. Brigitte has attended several demonstrations with the CDC in front of the Cameroonian embassy in London. Staff at the embassy routinely take photographs of demonstrator and hand them to the authorities in Cameroon.
Brigitte was due to be forcibly removed to Cameroon on Wednesday 23rd but the removal was stayed. But new removal directions have been set for Tuesday 29 January 2008 at 19:00 hrs, flight KQ101 to Cameroon via Nairobi.
The family will be at possible risk of detention and persecution if returned to Cameroon. Brigitte is concerned about the treatment that she will receive as she has twice had first hand experience