Please review the fresh evidence submitted for Afusat Saliu's asylum case properly
  • Petitioning Home Office

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Home Office
Home Office

Please review the fresh evidence submitted for Afusat Saliu's asylum case properly

    1. Anj Handa
    2. Petition by

      Anj Handa

      Leeds, United Kingdom

My friend, Afusat Saliu, faces being returned to Nigeria. If she goes back, there is a real risk of forcible FGM on her daughters. She fled to the UK when her step-mother expressed a wish to have her daughter Bassy cut. Bassy will be four in May; two year old Rashidat was born in London - Afusat fled while she was heavily pregnant.

In Afusat's village, FGM is usually performed on babies, which is when Afusat herself was cut. If she is made to return and her family catch up with her, it is likely that she will be powerless to protect them from being mutilated. Afusat is also in danger as she escaped a forced marriage to a man 40 years her senior to whom her family is indebted.

I met Afusat in January. She hadn't had much support, so I assisted her with finding a solicitor and working with him to prepare fresh evidence. This fresh evidence and recent case law was not given due regard in the Home Office response letter. We ask that her case is reviewed as it does not seem to have been given full consideration.

Afusat came to England to protect her daughters. She helps out at their school and volunteers with the Refugee Council and other organisations to support women in a similar position, despite her own mental health issues. Afusat is a real asset to our society. Her daughters are little Leeds lasses and have a spirit and character that I worry will be knocked out of them if they taken away. 

Our law says that Every Child Matters. I'm not willing to gamble on the risk of them being cut - a 13 year old died just this Sunday as a result of FGM gone wrong. It's too late for Afusat - nobody could protect her, but we do have a chance to save her girls. Please sign the petition. If you want to read more about their journey, visit anjhanda.wordpress.com or follow me on Twitter @AnjHanda.

My Request to Home Office:

- Review new evidence, which was presented, but appears to have been overlooked

- Consider Case Law precedent, where a materially similar application for asylum was upheld

- Ensure the safety and well-being of her two small daughters who are now well settled in Leeds (including the youngest, who was born in London), but who are likely to be subject to FGM should they return to Nigeria

- Pay due regard to the imminent danger involved to her and her family should she be returned to Nigeria, given the latest information that Nigeria is unlikely to be able to provide sufficient protection for herself and her family

- Take note of the community contribution already made by Afusat

To:
Home Office, Home Office
Review the fresh evidence submitted for Afusat Saliu's asylum case

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Bassy and Rashidat start school - and other updates

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Hi all! A brief update from Lagos: Bassy and Rashidat started pre-school today. Read my short blog below, which also contains an update to EndFGM work here in Yorkshire.

      Bassy and Rashidat start Pre-school - People Help People

      Hi everyone! It's an important day for the family today - Bassy and Rashidat have started pre-school. For safeguarding reasons, I'm sorry I can't share a photo (the school logo is prominent and presents a risk if the photo got into the wrong hands). Needless to say, they looked adorable in the photo that Afusat ...

    2. Leeds FGM Report and Update on Afusat

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone

      It has been a while since I've update you. Afusat has been trying to regain a bit of normality. She is settled in the flat and school will start on Monday. This will be funded thanks to your contributions. Thank you so much for sponsoring Bassy and Rashidat's education. If you would like to donate towards their books, travel and other related costs, here's the link: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/afusatsaliu.

      On to work. Over the last months, my business partner and I have been busy (amongst other things) writing a report on FGM in Leeds, which was launched at a conference at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday. Our shocking finding was that 2667 women and girls in Leeds alone have undergone or are at risk of FGM, but that this figure may be twice or three times that. Some of the data we used was based on 2011 Census information - which does not include asylum seekers like Afusat. You can read it here: http://www.peoplehelppeople.co.uk/events/conference-reports/

      At the conference, Ruth Passman, Head of Equality and Health Inequalities NHS England, referred to Afusat. She also talked about her concerns relating to the Immigration Healthcare Act. This Act will further marginalise individuals like Afusat and her friends from accessing much-needed healthcare services. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health conditions have been widely reported, yet funding for therapeutic services, already low, has been further squeezed by cuts.

      This is the reason that we produced our report as an in-kind contribution for our community partners in this region, which, up until recently, has placed limited attention on FGM. Without the evidence base, organisations like BHI Leeds (who manage the donation fund), struggle to fund their counselling services for survivors of FGM. We felt that it was crucial for to help them make the case.

      With gratitude

      Anj
      PS Photos from the conference are on my Facebook page - Anj Handa (I'm wearing a yellow dress in my profile pic).

      IN AID OF AFUSAT SALIU

      This campaign is in aid of Afusat Saliu and her daughters. Donations would enable out of pocket costs to be covered, a small living amount to be sent to the family. At the end of the campaign, it is proposed that residual funds would be dispersed to two charities: Black Health Initiative in Leeds and Dalia Project, London.

    3. An update on Afusat and the girls (and other immigration news)

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Hi all

      My blog below contains an update.

      Thank you for your continued support.

      Anj x

      Update on Afusat and other immigration news - People Help People

      Firstly, I'm sorry that there's been a bit of delay in communication. Afusat has been busy sorting the basics for the flat, thanks to supporters' help. There was a delay in her moving in - we were warned by a local charity partner, based here in West Yorkshire, of generators being passed off as originals ...

    4. Afusat and the girls have a flat - with your help

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      With your support, Afusat and the girls now have their own place (albeit completely bare right now). Photos and a further update is within the link. Thank you. Anj x

      Afusat and the girls have a flat! - People Help People

      Dear supporters, This update is to give you some happy news and heartfelt thanks for your donations. Here's a kiss from Bassy. (OK, so it was for me, but if she was old enough to know what your help meant, she'd be blowing 127,000 kisses)!

    5. Accommodation for Afusat and the girls

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Dear all

      Thank you so much for your continued support and interest in Afusat and her girls. One of my charity contacts flew out to Lagos last week and met up with her. I was able to send Afusat her laptop, so very soon she might be able to send more direct messages. What I will say is how this supportive network makes the world of difference to their wellbeing. We all want to know that people care about it and they feel overwhelmed with your good wishes. A more detailed update is here: www.peoplehelppeople.co.uk/update-afusat-girls/.

      Thanks again. Sending you all much love.

      Anj

      Update on Afusat and the girls - People Help People

      Support for Afusat and her girls has continued to amaze us. There are so many well-wishers out there and when I relay messages to her, all she can usual utter is "Oh my gosh." Afusat is an articulate lady, so it tickles me to hear her lost for words.

    6. What a difference a day makes! #fundraising

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone, apologies for two updates so close together but first of all I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all of those who have donated to the fund. Your generosity is overwhelming. The amount donated so far will enable us to sort out the family's accommodation :-)

      In Nigeria, apartments come unfurnished and must be rented annually, not monthly. Knowing that we can now find them somewhere secure is such a relief. I broke the good news to Afusat this morning and she started to cry. I must tell you that despite her situation, I have only witnessed her crying once. I can't tell you what this has meant to her.

      It will also enable me to ship some necessary provisions. When the family were detained, they were only allowed to pack a few things and so have very little in the way of belongings. Asylum seekers' homes are called 'temporary accommodation' by the Home Office, so despite it being the place they lived, we were unable to access her possessions to be able to send them over. As far as I'm concerned, having to struggle to replace clothing and toiletries when back in their home country is an unnecessary cost that our Government places on already destitute and homeless asylum seekers.

      Next week, I will provide a breakdown of what your donations will cover. A number of you have emailed questions. I'd like to take this opportunity to answer and give you reassurance that your contributions are helping to keep the family safe and that the legal work continues.

      Our charity partners, BHI Leeds, kindly stepped in to provide the fundraising mechanism. BHI Leeds is reputable, Leeds-based charity and undertakes both grassroots and strategic work on FGM. We made this arrangement to ensure transparency to the public. Since I was the person that started the campaign, I felt that it would be more appropriate for independent others to oversee fundraising. It wouldn't have done for the People Help People Foundation (which I run with my partners) to govern this. We are accountable to a small steering group of qualified individuals. Any monies drawn down will be done so by invoice. If you would like further detail, please don't hesitate to contact me.

      I've also been asked about donations in other currencies (Euro) and via PayPal. I'm investigating this and will get back to everyone that has contacted me as soon as I have a solution.

      Once again, thank you.

      With love and gratitude,

      Anj x

    7. Update on Afusat and the girls' situation

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Hi all

      A number of you have asked how the family are doing, so I thought I would write an update. The Judicial Review process is slow, so no news on that front. It's all very frustrating at the moment. We've found the family a place to shelter, but it's far from ideal - they're sleeping on the living room floor of a kind soul. We've tried numerous aid organisations and a few churches, but to no avail so far. It has involved long trips of 2 hours + across Lagos to go to speak to those organisations, depleting the funds we've sent for that purpose, as well as their energy.

      The goodwill of the person the family are staying with cannot be indefinite, so we're fundraising to try secure accommodation and get the girls into school, which isn't free like it is here. An added challenge is that places are rented by the year, not the month in Nigeria and come as an empty shell. Afusat doesn't have money - Home Office staff only let them take a handful of things, so I'm about to ship over clothing and toiletries which she can't afford to replace.

      I speak to Afusat and the girls daily. It breaks my heart that four year old Bassy frequently talks about how 'the Police' (Home Office) took her away and that she wants to come home and go to school. How many children are scarred due to these experiences? How many other mums does the UK do this to? It makes me feel so ashamed. I am still awaiting a response to my Open Letter to Theresa May, dated 12 June.

      The fundraising link is here if you wish to donate or share with others.
      http://www.peoplehelppeople.co.uk/people-help-people-foundation/news/

      With gratitude for your ongoing support.

      Anj

      Campaigns - Afusat Saliu - People Help People

      People Help People has been leading a high-profile campaign to help Afusat Saliu and and her two young girls with their asylum case on the grounds of the risk of Female Genital Mutilation on Afusat's daughters if they were returned to Nigeria. Over the past few months, the public's support to protect Afusat Saliu and ...

    8. Afusat and the girls stranded in Lagos without accommodation

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      The family were deported to Lagos last week. They were offered two nights in a hostel and £250 each and there it ended. Our team has been working around the clock to secure a safe place for them to stay, but it has been a challenge. Bassy in particular is unsettled and cries constantly - she misses school and her friends and didn't even get the chance to say goodbye.

      If you wish to donate, here's the link. This would cover a small living allowance, actual legal fees. After the campaign, residual funds would be dispered to two named UK-based charities which support survivors of FGM. https://mydonate.bt.com/events/afusatsaliu

    9. Further news on Afusat and girls

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Many of you will have been kept abreast by the news. There are a few things that are not in the public domain yet, which I would like to to know - please feel free to share and to email Theresa May. Here's my latest blog: http://anjhanda.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/why-afusat-continues-to-be-failed-by-the-asylum-process/

      Thanks so much for your continued support.

      Anj x

      Why Afusat continues to be failed by the asylum process

      A lot has happened over the last few days: Virgin boss Richard Branson made a public statement about the need to safeguard Afusat and her girls; MPs Nick Clegg, George Mudie, David Hanson and Keith Vaz have all spoken to Theresa May's deprtment (although she herself remains studiously quiet - meanwhile, her civil servants busy...

    10. Reached 100,000 signatures
    11. Home Office plan to proceed with return directions

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      We have just heard that the Home Office plans to proceed with return directions for Afusat and the girls. The only recourse now would be a Judicial Review - if a law firm will instruct the willing QC that has offered support.

    12. 80,525 signatures

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Afusat and I are overwhelmed by this response. I really didn't anticipate this level, so I'm sending a heartfelt thank you to you all. The Independent and the Yorkshire Evening Post will be publishing articles later today.

    13. Reached 75,000 signatures
    14. Press coverage

      Anj Handa
      Petition Organizer

      Afusat and I have just been interviewed by ITV News. Bulletin should appear tomorrow (Tues) at 6pm.

    15. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Kate Hartin HAYWARDS HEATH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 hour ago

      Im signing because knowing a child will return to a barbaric ritual, despite it be at a family members wishes, whatever the reason, political, religious or cultural is simply wrong. We cannot control what happens across our borders but we can stop her being exposed to FGM IN THIS COUNTRY. As a British Citizen I support their cause. Would you let your child be harmed?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alex Antonio LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 days ago

      I am signing this petition because I believe that everyone deserve to live in peace to pursue their life's dream without fear of persecution.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rachel Ogundele ESSEX, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 14 days ago

      Abuse endagers life.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ian Griffith HERTFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 15 days ago

      FGM is a completely barbaric practice. it must be stopped.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Colin Aldred GT. YARMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 16 days ago

      Because of the brutality of young girls who have no choice in what is happening to their bodies.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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