PROTEST THE DETENTION AND REMOVAL OF ERIOTH MWESIGWA
MONDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2017, 4.30 - 5.30 PM
HOME OFFICE, 2 Marsham Street, Westminster, SW1P 4DF
part of the OneDayWithoutUs National Day of Action
We are the All African Women’s Group (AAWG), a self-help group of women seeking asylum. One of our sisters, Erioth Mwesigwa, a 58 year old woman, who suffered multiple gang rape by soldiers in Uganda has been detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. On Friday 10th, guards tried to take her to the airport but Erioth refused to go. Now the High Court has refused her claim and told her she has to go back to Uganda to appeal. We cannot allow this. Erioth won’t survive. We refuse to be silent and watch someone be sent back to their death.
Erioth is a courageous woman. She was imprisoned, raped and interrogated by soldiers because her husband was suspected of opposing President Obote. A family member who hid her in his house was killed. Erioth’s (now ex) husband and her family who arrived in the UK before her have been granted refugee status but when Erioth asked for the same she was refused. Despite all she has suffered Erioth is determined to help others. She has spoken publicly and regularly attends our fortnightly 100 strong self-help group.
Many of us in the All African Women’s Group are victims of rape and other torture. We too have been in detention and threatened with removal. Women Against Rape, which is supporting Erioth, highlight that 88% of victims of rape and sexual violence are disbelieved when they claim asylum. Erioth was told that the rape she suffered happened a long time ago so she can go back to Uganda. We hear on the news how victims of abuse in this country have come out after so many years and are still scarred and traumatised. Who would dare say to them that they should just get over it?
It is the actions of governments like the UK government that fuel wars in Africa that make us flee in the first place. We are forced to be refugees. Yet, when we come here to get safety we are treated like beggars and scroungers.
Erioth sent us a message from detention:
‘’I spent years in Uganda in hiding and fearful. After all that I have finally found a place where I feel safe with people who care about me. It has given me hope for my life. I cannot go back.”
Please join our protest and write to the Home Secretary to demand that Erioth is released from detention and given the right to stay. We can win if we come together.
All African Women’s Group
Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2DX
Tel: 020 7482 2496 email: firstname.lastname@example.org