Dinka Ngok women from Abyei Women’s Union, South Sudan, yesterday denounced the UK government and offered their solidarity to women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood IRC after hearing how they were resisting detention and of the UK government’s failed attempts to intimidate and silence them.
Teresa Anyiet, the Chair of Dotbaii Women’s Association, highlighted the links between the struggle of women in South Sudan and the women in Yarl’s Wood. She made clear that the hunger strikers’ fight was their fight, and the fight of all women who are at risk of being displaced and who may need to access their rights to leave their country and enter another one in the future.
“We women of South Sudan live in a world of violence and we are often vulnerable and displaced. We are like the women of Yarl’s Wood and they are like us. Maybe we even have our own people there, because many people have been displaced from here. If we come out of our world of violence, and we go to the UK, will we remain in the same situation?
“We had hoped that the UK would be part of the solution for Abyei, but if you violate the rights of other women, how can you come and solve other people’s issues? The UK brought [the discourse of] human rights to South Sudan, so why did they cancel the rights of human beings in their own country? UK government: you must release these women, and if they want to remain in the UK and be a part of you, you must accept them as citizens.
“I say to the women: we women all over South Sudan are standing with you. If anything happens to you, we are going to claim your rights. Don’t surrender, and we will not give up here either. Continue even if you are pressured and fear death. Continue your fight. We call on the UK to release you. We pray to God for you and we pray that God will cause the UK’s leaders to repent.”
Afaf Arop, Chair of Abyei Women’s Union, encouraged the hunger strikers to continue their fight, saying:
“We women face abuse all over the world but we don’t accept this, we don’t forget that we have rights and we don’t surrender. I want you women of Yarl’s Wood to know we are standing with you with all our emphasis and feeling. Since you have rights you need to fight peacefully as you are doing. Women’s rights are never given. You have to take them.”
Both of my parents are in the UK, they are British. I have been here, with them, for over 5 years. But the Home Office wants to send me back to Nigeria. The Home Office says I am over age, I am now 21 years old. The Home Office say I cannot stay here with my parents anymore. My brothers are here. I am in fear to go back to Nigeria, there is fighting over land. They killed my brother. They killed my grandfather. I came to England for protection, I seek asylum here. I believe the UK could help me
I give the Home Office all of my evidence. The Home Office know about everything. But, they want to deport me back to place where I don’t have anybody. Another charter flight is coming- they want to put me on it. I am scared. I won’t be able to survive. I don’t have any family there. I have no body there. Is this fair?
Many people are deported to Nigeria, then they have committed suicide. They have died after being deported. They have to become criminal because they have nothing there. It is ruining peoples lives. They have nothing there, they have no-where to live.
This is injustice. The UK government must stop this.
I have been detained for over 8 months. In detention you see disabled people. I have notes from the doctor because I am pissing blood, but here is no medical attention in the detention centre. People are dying here. I don’t understand I did not think UK is like this.
Nobody hear our cry. We are crying. Please we need to be rescued. Please can anybody helps us?
There is a charter flight today. They are going to chain them like animals. A lot of people have got mums, and aunties and children here in the UK. They have been here all their life. People might get killed because of their sexuality. They’re going to need some help tonight.
I may be on the charter flight. I haven’t got a lawyer at the moment. No one is listening to me and no one is helping me.
They make up reasons to ignore your private life so that can remove you.
I’ve got family here. My mum is here. I came here when I was a boy. I was 16. I’ve been here for 13 years.
I’m bisexual. I’m fearful of my life. Because the lgbt rights in Nigeria are non-existent. I claimed asylum but they didn’t believe me. But I have private life here. I went to sixth form college here.
It’s dehumanising ait’s demoralising. I’ve been in detention for 5 months. I feel really lost. The detention facility is poor. The food is poor. The care is poor. I would treat my dog like I’m treated here.