Elizabeth must stay
Elizabeth Must Stay Campaign
Elizabeth, a Ugandan rape and torture survivor, was detained yesterday (Thursday 18th May) at Dallas Court Enforcement Unit in Salford, and is now being held at Manchester Airport Immigration Removal Centre.
Elizabeth* is a Ugandan lesbian who has been living in Manchester. She fled to the UK in 2004, having lived her life as a lesbian secretly for many years. One night after being out with friends at an underground gay club she was visited at her home by several men she now believes to have been associated with the Ugandan authorities. She was bundled into a car and taken to a so-called 'Safe House' - unofficial Ugandan prisons where torture is regularly practised. Elizabeth was held for 5 months, during which time she was repeatedly raped, whipped and beaten. She eventually managed to escape, and fled to the UK where she claimed asylum.
Elizabeth's asylum claim, and her appeal, have both been rejected. Whilst the adjudicators recognise that homosexuals are persecuted in Uganda, they do not believe that the term 'homosexual' and evidence relating to the treatment of homosexuals, applies to lesbians. They have also questioned her identity as a lesbian, because she had a child as a young woman, although this is common among British lesbians too. They show further misunderstandings about the nature of both underground gay communities, and of state sanctioned abduction, detention and torture.
Elizabeth is in desperate and genuine fear of what awaits her if/when the Home Office forcibly deport her to Uganda. Not only has she been through the most terrible experiences, her long term partner, Patience, has not be heard from or of since 2004; Elizabeth fears that she too has been abducted and detained. Unsurprisingly the abuse Elizabeth suffered in Uganda, and her fear and sadness at the apparent loss of her partner, has left Elizabeth depressed and extremely worried for her future.
Elizabeth's case is complex because in addition to her experiences in Uganda, she has chronic continuing physical and mental health problems. All the professionals involved with Elizabeth, and her many friends in Manchester's gay community, are outraged that she has been detained without access to the essential medical services that she receives from specialists who she has grown to trust, and that she faces removal to Uganda where she is very unlikely to get adequate treatment and care.
Elizabeth was receiving counselling as she continues to suffer from severe depression and Rape Trauma Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress. Putting her into detention has cut her off from this counselling. Given Elizabeth's current poor health and history of mental illness, detention is more than likely to exacerbate her health.
Elizabeth has always complied with the conditions the Home office and the Immigration Service have placed upon her and was detained as a result of continuing to comply with her reporting restrictions.
Friends who have spoken to Elizabeth since her detention today believe she is suicidal. She needs your help.
What you can do to help:
1. Send a letter to the Immigration Minister
Friends and supporters have put together a model letter (attached) that they are asking you to fax to the Minister for Immigration Tony McNulty. You can copy/amend/write your own version, asking him not to remove Elizabeth from the UK and to release her now.
Fax: 020 7219 2417 from outside the UK + 44 20 7219 2417
Minister for Immigration
2 Marsham Street
2. Join the Elizabeth Must Stay Campaign today!
3. Visit Elizabeth's website http://www.elizabethmuststay.co.uk/ and sign her on-line petition
Thank you! Your support may save Elizabeth!
(* Elizabeth's surname cannot be used for fear of more people in Ugandan hearing about her sexuality, and her family and daughter suffering as a result.)
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