I was just so happy to be back in the UK closer to the memories of my Parents

“I was born in Clapton, London, in 1984. My Mother, Father and I lived in the UK together in a house and my Aunt regularly visited – my Aunt was residing in the UK at the time and has continued to reside in the UK until today. She is a British National.

My parents took me to Ghana at the age of five in 1989 for a holiday with the intention to return to the UK. Unfortunately for me they died not long after we arrived in Ghana in a car accident. I was not with them in the car but I was told by my Uncle about what had happened. I do not remember much as I was very young. The only relative I had in Ghana was a long-distance family friend who was not blood related but I called him my ‘Uncle’. He looked after me in Ghana after the passing of my parents. My Aunt and Uncle from the UK sent money regularly to him to look after me.

Travel to UK at the Age of 17/18

My ‘Uncle’ in Ghana who took care of me, arranged for me to return back to the UK when I was 17/18 years old because I had immediate family living there who were very willing to take care of me; my Aunt and Uncle in the UK also realised I was always sad and felt disconnected to Ghana because I kept on saying to them since I was little I wanted to go back home to the UK as that is what I always have considered my home. My ‘Uncle’ in Ghana gave me a Ghanaian passport to use for travel to the UK. As far as I was concerned there was no issues with this passport.

When leaving Ghana to travel to the UK, my ‘Uncle’ told me to hand the passport he gave me to a man in London as soon as I got to England, so it would be returned back to him as he said I was a British Citizen and did not need a Ghanaian passport. I did not know any better and did not know the system and thought this was normal. My ‘Uncle’ also gave me my birth Certificate showing that I was born in the UK.

I arrived in the UK in October 2002 at Heathrow Airport and soon after handed the passport to this man in London. That’s the last time I saw that passport.

Life in UK Once Arriving from GHANA

I continued my life in the UK and lived with my Aunt and she supported me and helped me get into college. I felt like I was once again close to my own family and the memories I had of my parents. It was like I returned home after all these years.

My British Birth Certificate enabled me to get a driver’s license and other identity documents including my national insurance number. I believed I was a British citizen and was entitled to all this by virtue of being born in the UK.

I went to College at Conel College of North East London in 2002, studied Construction but did not finish. I dropped out in 2004, moved out of my Aunt’s apartment because I wanted to be independent and started working part time at a retail supermarket in Enfield.

In 2006 I also worked in Marble Arch as a shop floor assistant and a stockroom assistant.

Shortly after been made redundant because the company was cutting down on staff, in 2008 I got a job at a shop in Chingford as a cashier. Later on in 2011 I was given a 1 bedroom flat in Enfield on housing benefit because I couldn’t support myself without a job for about a year until my personal case worker at the job centre helped me find a temporary job at a supermarket warehouse in Waltham Cross as Packer.

I voted and literally did everything a British citizen would be able to do. The only thing I did not think of claiming was my British passport, because I was young, naïve and never had any plans to travel at that time. I was glad to be back in the UK where I had fond childhood memories of my loving parents (which were my last memories of them). All my memories of them are based in the UK and coming back here felt as if I was closer to them.

EMPLOYMENT WITH NHS

Eventually, hard work in my studies and employment provided me with a great opportunity with the NHS (National Health Service) as a Social Therapist in 2014, at a medium security hospital for mental patients. I finally felt like my life was grounded and going somewhere as I had secured a career job and felt my parents of late would have been proud of me. However, little did I know that this would prove to be a massive nightmare the effects of which I am still facing today.

As a Social Therapist my role was to interact with patients with mental illness socially or on a 1 on 1 basis to help them recover and help change their way of life for the better. On one of the night shifts there was an incident on another ward at the centre and I was radioed and told to report to the ward to help de-escalate the situation. Unfortunately, things went out of proportion and there was a riot on the ward and I got assaulted and injured badly. This has affected my teeth and caused injury to my neck.

The NHS refused to compensate me when my injury lawyers approached them. And I was not even given any counselling.

I was told by my manager that they would refer me to a dentist to help fix my teeth back to how it was before and I would get physiotherapy for my neck pain. However, this never happened.

ISSUES WITH HOME OFFICE

I was sent a letter by the Home Office whom had classed me as an immigrant which got me so confused and shocked, because I was born in England and before you even work for the NHS you have to be screened by the Home Office and police.


I sought advice from the Home Office on the phone on what to do to resolve my issue. I was told to naturalize since I was born in the UK and also since I was not able to provide one of my parent’s passports.

I went ahead to pay and completed The Life in The UK test, passed and put my application in with my British Birth Certificate and paid £1,080 for the application fee.

But the application was refused on the basis that I was not entitled to work, which is not true because I have a national insurance number and have worked for many years and paid taxes. I became very frustrated, depressed and confused.


I asked for advice from an immigration
solicitor, who requested for my Home Office immigration history which stated on the first paragraph that I was born in the United Kingdom but also had history of me coming into the country in 2002 with a Ghanaian passport and also, they claim I acquired a student visa from Ghana in 2007. This is impossible because I have not left the UK since I returned in 2002. I told my solicitor about how my ‘Uncle’ helped me return to England in 2002 and that I didn’t know much about the passport but I was told to give it to a man when I arrived and that was the last time I saw that passport.

The solicitors advised me that I should leave the matter with them to resolve it because it looked like the Home Office had two identifications with the same name and date of birth but two different places of birth and it looked like they were confused giving the decision for my naturalisation. The solicitor believed that the Home Office had made a mistake.

In the meantime, I was requested by the Home Office to be reporting and signing on at their main office at London Bridge once every month, I signed on every month and never missed a date.

My solicitor made an application and added additional grounds for consideration for the Home Office. I did not agree with this because my solicitor should have concentrated on the naturalisation rather than making an application for additional grounds. The reasons for refusal of my naturalisation was wrong and incorrect and my solicitor should have addressed this. However, she said that the Home Office asked her to make an additional grounds application. I do not have this application.

DEPORTATION

On one of my signings at the Home Office, I was called into an interview room and was told I will be detained until further notice. I had no notice and this happened all so fast. I spent three weeks in a detention centre in Oxford and was granted bail by a Judge. My Aunt and Uncle had to travel from London to Wales to represent me as surety’s and they put a £1,500 bond for my release. I was given the condition of staying at my Aunt’s address and I was still required to report for signing at the Home Office in London Eaton House until my issue was resolved.

A few weeks later I went to the Home Office to sign on as I was told to but they went ahead and detained me again without any notice.


I immediately contacted my
solicitor but she said she couldn’t help me and also she was on holidays. So, I had no option but to raise up money again and look for another solicitor.

This time I was taken to Harmondsworth Detention Centre. I was there for a few weeks because trying to apply for bail there was like a myth. I had difficulties in trying to acquire a solicitor but eventually I applied for bail on my own and had a court hearing date. I even remember reading the news and finding out that “DEPORT FIRST AND APPEAL LATER “was ruled unlawful”.

On the night before my bail court hearing day, in the middle of the night I was forced out of my cell by 4 officers onto a military plane at an unknown military base and was told I was being deported to Ghana. It all happened too fast and I kept on asking how come I was not notified about this and I had not been shown any travelling documents. I also told the officer I was not well and I had been accessed by the doctor and been prescribed anti-depressants which was meant to be administered to me that same week but they ignored me. I kept telling them that my bail hearing was in the morning but they ignored me. I kept on asking the officers before they took me out the detention centre why my name was at the bottom of the list and only my name was written in pen and the other detainees which were on the list had their names printed and all those detainees were also notified and showed travelling documents before that date but I wasn’t? All of that was very suspicious to me and I did not know what was happening. This was unfair as I was not shown travelling documents and I had a bail hearing in the morning. No one listened to me.

On the plane I urged the escorts to help me, they listened and realised something was very wrong and that there must be a mistake because I had a copy of my birth certificate on me and also, I told them I even voted on the 8th of June the same day I was detained, they checked my birth certificate and saw it was genuine. They asked the Home Office personnel on the plane why and he said the reason is because I was born in England, 1984, and the Margaret Thatcher law affected me. The escorts found it absurd and said to the Home Office personnel if I haven’t committed a crime I should rather be helped in getting my British passport instead of being deported.

The Escorts said the only way they could help me was if the Ghanaian immigration on the ground refused me entry because I was not born in Ghana. But unfortunately the Ghanaian immigration did not want to help me at all because they had been given by the Home Office a travelling certificate with a copy of the Ghanaian passport with place of birth as Accra. This was false information and the Home Office knew this but intentionally used it to their advantage in getting rid of me because they know my place of birth is London not Accra. This is proven by my genuine birth certificate. Had they shown this to the Ghanaian authorities, they would have refused me entry. The Home Office seemed to be aware of this and relied on a passport that they knew had incorrect information. And because the physical passport was no where to be found they made a travelling certificate with the incorrect information they had.

LIFE IN GHANA

My life has been turned upside down and I am in misery. I do not know where the ‘Uncle’ that helped me years ago is, I don’t know if he’s alive or not because we lost contact 15 years ago. Even my Aunt does not know his whereabouts.

Sir/Madam I am pleading with you to help me, I don’t know anyone in Ghana, I have been squatting at a friend’s and I am finding it very difficult to live out here. I have been sleeping on the couch, it’s a small house with many people living here and its damaging my health. My immune system is not used to the poor conditions in Ghana. I fell very ill when I got here because I wasn’t given any malaria tablets.

I have been robbed at knife point and had my phone taken. I sometimes don’t have food to eat. I sometimes have to fetch water to have a bath or drink because there’s no constant running water. I am being taken advantage of because I speak in a British accent. I am always overpriced when trying to buy something. The people here see me as a foreigner.

I am very depressed, anxious, suicidal and have tried to kill myself before in the UK because of what’s been going on in my life. I miss my friends, family and loved ones who are all in the UK. I was once a happy, working, tax paying, sound individual with hopes and dreams, now I have nothing left, only with injuries and bad memories.

I hardly sleep at night, I feel so vulnerable and have been taken advantage of. I feel I am in a bad dream, a nightmare hoping and praying to wake up out of it. Also, this has put me in a position of not having a fair fight against the Home Office because of the difficulties in contacting my Solicitor. It costs a lot here to be on the phone and to use the internet. I feel my human rights have been breached. I feel like a badly treated alien in this country.

At all times I was endeavouring to live a legitimate life in the UK and build a lifelong career believing that I am a British Citizen and I had to just apply for my passport which I did not do as I was just so happy to be back in the UK closer to the memories of my parents.

Please Sir/Madam have mercy and help me please. Thank you and God bless you.”

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All my friends in here have gone

All my friends in here have gone, I’m into my sixth month in here and it’s getting so difficult for me, I don’t see people’s faces just shadows, I don’t want to get to know anyone else, it’s very difficult to care for people who are in such difficult circumstances, the same circumstances I am in myself, I get close to them and then they are either released or deported, I can’t do that anymore.

I can’t talk to anyone anymore, prisoners or officers, after what they did to my friend, I feel betrayed, it’s weird but I do.

Not only that, but the events of Wednesday evening are repeatedly playing on my mind, on top of everything else. I’m not sleeping very well at all, I’m actually having nightmares about the whole thing, I spent all night reading last night.

I’m glad that at least I can write as I think it helps me now more than ever.

I don’t know what I would be like without detained voices.

To Wonderful People On planet earth!

To Wonderful People On planet earth!

First and foremost, I want to say thank you for your love, cares, supports, solidarity, voices and devotions. I am in great spirit today, seeing you all united for us, detainees here at Yarl’s Wood. Thank you very much.

After watching the BBC Parliamentary News a few days ago, chaired by Yvette Cooper with her interrogations which i sincerely appreciated. For those excellent and important questioning to the CEO’s Centre managers, HMPPS, especially to Julia Roger, Rupert Soames whom they have no answers that are consistent. Detainees such as me are disregarded, overlooked, there was a young lady amongst the audience, who can sincerely tell the world at large, if permitted the torment of individuals here in Yarl’s Wood, I am not a killer neither am I a terrorist.

Mercy should always triumph over Judgement, all we are saying as the voices of detainees is simply that at least amnesty should be granted for those who have made their lives here, and with children and have lived in the UK for at least five years and above.

Can you also believe that for the past three weeks we have no network on our individual phone, thus we can not call nor receive calls. It is that bad.

 

Here below is a little introduction to my own particular case.

My name is ****, I am presently in Yarl’s Wood detention centre. I have a rule 35, which  I am an adult at risk level 2, I’m disabled, with various health issues, my mobility is restricted. While I was in prison, I was better treated and my needs were met. I had occupational therapist, social worker and hospital consultants inputs. But since being here in Yarl’s Wood, you are treated as non-existent.

Further more, I am a victim of torture, domestic violence abuse, abandoned and forsaken for my sexuality, I am a mother also to my wonderful children whom are all born in the UK, British Citizens, and four of them has individual health challenges which put them under alot of medical;y traumatic situation. For example: wheelchair bound due to SMA and Sickle Anaemia, the youngest one has sickle cell anaemia also, and had stomach feeds and he is always in and out of hospital, while two others have mental health issues due to their ADHD and social anxiety. Which leaves my eldest daughter who has allergies and since developed depression and fatigue.

I know, I was sentenced to prison but whatever it is; my children and I have paid the price and maybe, never ever to forget that episode. I have since developed instability which has made my mental health and physical health worsen.

Detention centre here in Bedford called Yarl’s Wood is not fit for purpose, my mobility, my legs has been so swollen that I was rushed to Bedford hospital for suppected DVT, and immediately put on blood-clot-prevention-injection called warfarin, but since then nothing has been done. And I am on self-catheterisation which has been given by the hospital consultant and I am due for an operation due to my bladder problem, which is continuing. I am on tena pads which are not supplied by the centre, which I have to go to the welfare people to help get it for me. All these people can do is to get me few at a time. It is very embarrassing; my medication have been changed and down graded because healthcare can’t afford them, and the meds given are generic, as I was meant to understand.

I am also a victim of rape, what more can I give; my blood from my lifeless body as my mental health has become a real concern, even for the mental health team; I am on antidepressant. I am in a tight corner and the only solution persisting in my thought; is SUICIDE for me? But my children will probably want to do same. I can bear that thought.

I have been in detention for 8 months without any plan of what is next. The Home Office keep saying they are still trying to get emergency travel document to send me back to my torturers and to the country I no longer belong, I have not one family member there, after living in the UK for 33 years. My children are all alone without any help from the authority and they never been or ever want to be part of that country that I’m being forced to go.

HELP my family. I have my family, cousins, nieces/nephews here in the UK and Church family too. I don’t know anyone in Africa.

Once again, I thank you and I congratulate you on your sincere, competence and humanly concerns for detainees, especially solidarity to living a better world.

I have become absolutely depressed and vulnerable now

I am ——– ——– from ———. I am one of the detainee in Yarl’s Wood IRC along with my husband. It has been almost 6 months that we have been detained. It is a very long time for someone to be detained but I can feel that my thoughts are not that important and valued as I am an immigrant.

I and my husband have done everything to stay in this country legally. We have paid taxes and spent our precious youth struggling in this country. My husband came to UK as a student, finished his degree, got post study work and work permit as well, but life had different plans and things did not go well. Our visa was curtailed as the license of the company who sponsored my husband was revoked.

These 6 months’ time period which I have spent and am still spending in Yarl’s Wood has made me a completely different person. I am not the bubbly, jolly, and full of life person which I was before. That person is lost in this detention centre. It has been long time since I have eaten properly. I don’t get any sleep at night. I have lost huge amount of weight, but my physical health and appearance is the least of my worries at the moment when compared to my mental state, which is getting worst day by day. I am extremely depressed and it’s getting more severe day by day. I get panic attacks and anxiety. I get scared of every footsteps passed by the door of our cell. If someone knocks on my door my heart begins to pound faster. Even if I am asleep all of a sudden I wake up being scared and my heart beats faster.

I am getting very emotional writing all this but I am hopeless now and have given up on everything so I had to write this. I need very serious help regarding my depression but I am not getting much help from healthcare here. I had to wait two weeks to get an appointment and finally when I got to see the health care assistant she told me that I have to go through long process until they decide whether I actually need medication or not. We don’t feel any genuine care and help from the health personnel, rather they treat us like whatever is happening to us is not genuine and we are pretending and faking it.

Even though our case is still on going for more than five months we are forced to stay in here. We are on the stage of asking permission of appeal to the upper tribunal in our case. We do believe that it will be granted and our case will go further. Just in case if it is refused we will go for the judicial review. This will not happen in one or two days. It will take some time for the process. In our refusal of the SOS bail 401 there was a reason that we do not have any close ties in this country where we can stay and comply with reporting condition which is not true at all. We have already mentioned in our bail application that we have our cousin who is a British citizen and live with her family, and a brother who is a member of British Army in this country who fully support us by any means. It was even mentioned in the refusal letter that there was no record of us having lodged a further PTA, however, we have an acknowledgement letter of the application of PTA which clearly proves that we did make the application within the time limit.

Even though I did not suffer from any medical condition in the past but after being isolated from the society, family and friends I am in a different position now. How can there be any medical evidence when I am not even being looked up properly by healthcare here in Yarl’s Wood.

Basically, I have given up on my fight and my life now. I feel like I don’t want to live on with this pain every second. Today is my birthday and it’s the first time in my life I am not excited about it. Nothing excites me, makes me feel good or smile anymore. I have become absolutely depressed and vulnerable now. I am suicidal and only think about ending my life to put a full stop on this everyday suffering, even though I try very hard to keep myself calm and composed and to stop thinking about harming myself.

I know if something wrong happens to me, it will not bother the Home Office as I, along with all other detainees, are just numbers for them rather than human beings. At times I do think about all my well-wishers, family and friends who love and care about me, but I am very tired now, and I am feeling that I do not have any desire to live like this.

We would like to fight our case from outside being free not inside being weak.

My name is **** ****, born on **.**.****. I am a Nepali citizen and came to the UK in 2009 as a Tier 4 Student. I have completed BA (Hons) and Master Degree from UK. I was granted further leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 Post Study Work. Thereafter, I was granted further leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 2 Migrant valid until 2017, however, my leave was curtailed in 2015, two years early. Thereafter, I made an application on the basis of an established private and family life in the UK. Unfortunately, my application was refused.

I was very frustrated, and I did not know what I should do since I cannot return to Nepal because of my well-founded fear of persecution by a social religious group and my in-laws over there. Indeed, I had a relationship with **** **** (my wife) for a long time though we are from different religion and cast. We got married in 2012 when I went to Nepal during my holidays. We did register our marriage without letting any of our family members know about it, as they were strictly against our relationship because of our different caste and religion. My wife came to UK as my dependant in 2013.

I applied for Judicial Review on 2016, when my further leave to remain application was refused. I didn’t know much about the visa processing, and trusted an agent who applied for my visa, who didn’t even gave his firm’s address while processing my application. I was waiting for the response of the Judicial review when I was detained from my residence along with my wife as an over stayer.

We were detained in October 2017, which has been about five month by the date of this statement which is 6th March 2018. It is inhuman to detain someone for such a long period of time. We have our case going on since the time we have been detained. We are in the process of asking permission to appeal to upper tribunal court.

We are really very frustrated and are very depressed. I along with my wife have been in depression for many times since we came here. We are not fit to stay in here mentally. I have visited the medical many times trying to tell them I am not fit at all to stay in here. Though, for some reason, I always get the same reply in my temporary admission request that I am fit to stay in here, which is not true. I have been a victim of torture in the past, and I did Rule 35, but whatever I went through and how it is affecting my current life was ignored by the home office. And, as there isn’t much place to go in here but to stay inside the room, I recall my past all the time.

Five months is a very long time for anyone to be detained. Our case is still going on and we would fight till the end. We would like to fight our case from outside being free not inside being weak.

We had our bail in January 2018, but unfortunately it was refused. We did have two sureties who are my cousin sister and my cousin brother, with all the documents required for the application. Even the Home Office presenting officer didn’t have any objection with the documents presented. We had provided the address where we would stay and it was not objected as well. Even after fulfilling all the criteria our bail was refused, which was our only hope of getting out.

I and my wife are very much suffocated now and we feel like if longer we have to stay here we might harm ourselves. No human beings deserve to live like this.

I came to this country 15 years ago. I have 2 children here.

I came to this country 15 years ago. I have 2 children here. I had just been to visit my family in Brazil and on my way back I was detained in Pembroke for one week, and then moved here, to Yarl’s Wood.

In here you have to stay in one room. You can only go out to eat, which is twice a day. You can’t go out or speak on the phone properly as people are always listening. Plenty of the girls here do not speak to their family and cannot afford to buy food.

You can’t have family visit because for them to come here you have to make an appointment and for some this is very difficult. And there is no way for you to see your child.

Some girls are here for 2 years and don’t move. Only to eat. 4 girls here have mental conditions.

Please help these people.

It is horrible here.

Some don’t speak very good English. People search your bag when you arrive. You can bring only pants, no clothes here.

It is like a prison.

The food here is horrible. No dogs would eat it.

It’s very cold here.

There is one room for two girls. Plus, some girls have bad health. No one comes to help them as they can’t speak English.

Some girls don’t have money to eat, and they aren’t able to get in touch with family. Some girls here don’t know how to get a solicitor and don’t have money so can’t access help.

We are being controlled by officers for 24 hours. Controlled. Everything is controlled.

The treatment of the people here, it will shock

The treatment of the people here, it will shock.

They want to send me to the country where I have taken finger prints. They have kept me in here for 50 days. I went to the police station to ask for help, and they locked me up and put me here.

The Dublin Rules, I am ready to follow them but they don’t follow the rules for everyone. It is different for every person. I came through Europe, if they catch me for this reason then deport me. I have no hope left in this country. I become different, I don’t know who I am. I start to believe I am criminal because I am here. I am full of depress. I can be strong enough. I spend one year to come to this country. I tried to come officially but there wasn’t an official way. I lost my time, I lost my life, I lost my family. I came for a future. People come for this. They are thinking about us wrongly. They are doing what ever they want with us. I complain in my country, which is why I run from from my country. But I didn’t leave my country to come to one without human rights. But this is happening to so many people, this cannot happen.

I have a friend, they are saying to him, ‘We will deport you, we will deport you’ and after 6 months he goes crazy. He says, ‘If you want to deport me I’m ready, I don’t want to stay in this country like this.’ But they still don’t deport him. This happens to so many people – they don’t want us in this country but they don’t deport us.

I try to complain but it was to the manager to G4S. They say you must wait for your answer but the Home Office and Immigration are the same. You write them, but they don’t answer. How long you going to wait? 3 months, 4 months? I cannot complain because I am not from here. What can I tell them? I have no papers. They talk about democracy but it isn’t human, they are not human rights.

Home Office they say Afghani people have not problem in their country. They don’t believe us. I go to the doctor and they say it’s fine and give me paracetamol. Like I come to the doctor for paracetamol. I have a real problem. If you are vegetarian everyday you have rice and potatoes. Its ok, I am vegan that is my choice. I don’t complain but it isn’t right.

The person I share the room with, he has heart problem. He asks for the doctor but the doctor didn’t come from one hour. ‘Your heart is normal, it is healthy.’ They need to treat people with heart problems seriously. They treat us like animals, worse than animals. They treat animals better than us.

In this place many things will happen here but how will people know? We are behind the walls, they cannot see it. It will shock you. 15 hours lock up every day. It is not detention centre it is prison for us.