Hands off Somalia (HOS) are a London-based campaign against the British imperialist intervention in Somalia. They will be sending a speaker to address this issue at the 'Against Racism' public meeting and the linked issues of the oppression suffered by Somali refugees in Britain. Check out the events page for more details.
First published on http://handsoffsomalia.co.uk/
Thanks to NCADC for this publicity
Said Kasim Mohammed, a Somali national, came to the UK after suffering systematic persecution due to his ethnicity. He escaped from Somalia to Europe after an attempt to force him into slavery. Denied protection, he has been made repeatedly destitute in the UK. Despite his ill health he is now in detention and has removal directions for 29 January to Tanzania. Said is not from Tanzania and has no connections there. Although he does not feel Somalia is safe for him as he could be once again forced into hard labour, his experience of destitution and detention in the UK has made him desperate and he is simply asking that he is not deported to Tanzania.
Minority clan persecution in Somalia
Part of the Bajuni tribe, a minority group in Somalia, Said has suffered abuse and a denial of his basic rights. After the homes in his street were completely burnt by members of the majority clans, he narrowly escaped capture and the prospect of forced slavery. Throughout the Bajuni Island and the coastal areas many members of the Bajuni tribe have been forced to leave their homes. Young Bajuni men have been forced into slavery, the men often beaten, the women raped and their property looted.
The Home Office Operational Guidance Notes on Somalia states that minority groups ‘often lacking armed militias, continued to be disproportionately subject to killings, torture, rape, kidnapping for ransom, and looting of land and property with impunity by faction militias…..Bajuni clan residents are liable to suffer persecution at the hands of the majority clans’.
Minority Rights Group’s report, No Redress: Somalia’s Forgotten Minorities, documents how ‘Somali minorities collectively- and minority members individually- suffer denial and abuse of the whole range of basic human rights set out in international and regional conventions……the struggle for minority rights in Somalia takes place in a context where the abuse of human rights in general has persisted for decades, from widespread torture [to] political oppression’.
Detention and destitution in the UK
After claiming asylum in the UK, Said was detained and attempts were made to remove him to Luxembourg under the Dublin convention. After spending two months in detention Said was released after the Home Office stated that it would not be possible to send him there. His case was heard in the UK but his claim was refused. Soon after this he was evicted from his accommodation. He had no food, no roof over his head, no access to healthcare, and no money for travel – Said was made destitute.
Said Kasim in now being held in detention, his health is deteriorating. Unable to breath properly in the cells, Said’s doctor has written to the Home Office stating that he ‘desperately needs fresh air and should be released’. The Home Office has refused.
During one of seven attempts to remove Said Kasim, Said was assaulted by Home Office contracted escorts.
Despite having no passport or travel documents the Home Office was still attempting to deport me, this is illegal. The immigration guards came for me at around 7.30pm on the 30th September; they handcuffed me and put me in leg chains. They put me in the van where five officers manhandled me, pressing down on my chest. My hands and arms have swollen up because the handcuffs were so tight and I was being pulled by them. They put me on an airplane as part of a commercial flight….. I started shouting. The five immigration police tried to hide the handcuffs so the passengers could not see I was a prisoner. The passengers complained, took photos and recordings, and said that it was unsafe to fly me and looked like they were trying to kill me. The passengers went to talk to the pilot who remained hidden throughout this. ~Said
The Home Office have now informed Said that they are going to remove him to Tanzania, a country with which he has no connection. Detainees in Morton Hall say that UKBA officials have been issuing travel documents to Somalia, allegedly from the Tanzanian High Commission, in order to deport Somalis to Tanzania. The determination of nationality within the asylum system is deeply flawed. Despite repeated criticism, unreliable language testing is accepted by UKBA and the courts as ‘proof’ of someone’s nationality. Equating language with nationality is highly problematic, particularly when the methods of identifying a ‘mother tongue’ are so questionable. You can read more about the legal context to this debate here.
Said Kasim has successfully challenged seven forced removal attempts. Despite his failing health he still remains in detention. He has now been given a new ticket for removal on the 29th January again to Tanzania and needs your support.
Contact Qatar Airlines and ask them not to carry Said Kasim Mohammed against his will. Read our guide to airline campaigning here.
The flight details are QR76 (to Dar Es Salaam via Doha) at 15:05 on 29 January 2013.Twitter
You can write to, fax or email using your own words, or the example letter here.
3rd Floor, Victoria Buildings, Albert Square
1-7 Princess Street, Manchester, M2 4DF
telephone: 0844 846 8380 or 020 7341 6031
fax: 0161 838 5398
email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
If you want to send a public message about their airline being used to remove someone against his will to a country he’s not even from, you can use: