Socialist Worker

Refugees demand end to deportations to Congo

by Kelly Hilditch
Issue No. 2045

Outside the home office (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Outside the home office (Pic: Guy Smallman)

On Wednesday of last week campaigners held lobbies in seven cities around Britain against deportations to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In London an angry lobby took place outside the home office. Guillain, who is originally from Kinshasa, the DRC capital, told Socialist Worker, “Congo is not safe.

“Just last week the police attacked a demonstration in the south of the country and killed 150 protesters. So how can the British government send people back?

“I have a lot of friends who are in detention centres.

“People come here and seek protection. If the British government can’t be sure that they will be safe then they should let them stay.”

Another of the lobbies took place in Glasgow, where campaigners have been fighting for the release of the Waku family, who have lived in Scotland for six years.

They were snatched from their Glasgow home in a dawn raid last Monday after the home office refused their asylum application.


They were taken to a holding centre in Scotland, before being taken to Tinsley House detention centre near Gatwick airport.

Mother Onoya Waku and her three children Jean-Marc, 14, Grace, 12, and Genuine, four, are now back at their home in Cardonald. Their father Max is still being held.

A petition raised by Lourdes secondary school in Glasgow, where Grace is a pupil, gathered 500 letters of support and 1,500 signatures for the family.

As well as condemning the use of dawn raids, protesters want an amnesty for the 1,100 families who have been seeking asylum in Scotland since 2001.

Last week the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said that thousands of people fleeing persecution in their own countries end up victims of Britain’s “degrading and inhumane” asylum system.

On the government’s ten year asylum policy, the committee concludes that no “human being should have to suffer such appalling treatment”.

The MPs have concerns about the greater use of detention against vulnerable people such as children, pregnant women and those with serious health problems.

Evidence before the committee included examples of a dying refugee being deported to a country where he had no palliative care and pregnant women being denied access to proper health care in Britain.

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Article information

Sat 7 Apr 2007, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2045
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