Hich’s case has attracted an unusual amount of attention due to the nature of his original arrest, but, in a political climate increasingly hostile to migrants, the horrific way he has been treated by the immigration authorities is all too common. This week alone, two asylum seekers living in Nottingham, Mary-Jane Mutetsi and Amdani Juma have been detained.
Amdani, a supporter of the Free Hich campaign (he was at Wednesday’s demo), is currently being held at Campsfield Detention Centre, where Hich was briefly held and has received his deportation notice and will be removed on Wednesday 4th June on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 (Terminal 4, Heathrow). Supporters are organising two demonstrations in support of his right to remain: The first on Saturday 31st May at 1pm, and the other at 5pm on Monday 2nd June, both in Nottingham’s Market Square.
Petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/amdani/petition.html
Of mixed Tutsi & Hutu parentage, Amdani was evacuated to Kenya by UN troops during the Rwandan genocide. Returned to Burundi, where he was detained, beaten and placed under surveillance. He fled from Burundi again in Feb. 2003 when friends who were fellow party members were killed by government militia.
Has no family in Burundi. Most close relatives are dead or missing. A sister has refugee status in Holland and two cousins, in UK.
He applied for asylum in UK in March 2003. His asylum claim was refused but he was granted 3 years’ Humanitarian Protection’ until 1 May 2006. He then applied for Indefinite leave to Remain which was refused after 15 months’ delay.
An appeal was made to the Immigration Tribunal under Article 8 of the European Convention which concerns an individual’s right to respect for their private life. The Court’s negative determination was received on 24/12/07.
Since his arrival in the UK, Amdani has been receiving medical treatment for psychiatric problems which have been diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
During five short years, Amdani has built up an amazing and unique record of service to the community, especially, but not only to refugees and asylum seekers, in the City, the region and nationally. His unstinting and tireless work at both the Refugee Forum and the Terence Higgins Trust, as well as his own organisation ‘African Institute for Social Development’ set up specifically to campaign and provide information for the prevention of HIV / AIDS, has earned the respect and admiration of colleagues, volunteers,as well as refugees from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds, for his dedication, integrity, and unstinting efforts on behalf of the disadvantaged.
This was amply illustrated by the support given to him in his recent appeal when dozens of people wanted to provide positive witness statements and more than fifty accompanied him to the Court.
Amdani has already made a very full contribution to British society and built up a wealth of goodwill and a wide circle of friends. He has much more to offer Britain if he were to be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. Integration is now a key policy of the Government; Amdani is a great role model of how to do this and has assisted many others to move towards this goal. His combination of knowledge, skills, linguistic and interpersonal, a burning commitment to Equal opportunities and Human Rights and an understanding of the difficulties faced by refugees in striving to rebuild their lives, all make Amdani unique.
If he is deported to Burundi where he fears his life would be in danger, the public and private life that he has built so successfully, would be destroyed, and our community would be the poorer.