Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 3rd July 2009 | Issue 682

Back to the Full Issue


While No Borders activists have been raising awareness of the plight of migrants stranded in Calais, for those that do make it to Britain it’s no guarantee of a safe and peaceful life.

However, here in the UK there are lots of organisations campaigning for fair and just treatment of people seeking to settle in a country where they will not be persecuted. Here are just two examples of the successes and heartbreaking failures of refugees in the British asylum system - and their supporters - and these sorts of stories happen on a daily basis... 

Members from the campaign group Stop Deportation staged a sit-in demonstration at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire earlier this week, blocking the way of the deportees’ coaches, to stop the deportation of 20 Nigerian refugees to Lagos. Earlier in the day, the non co-operating refugees inside Yarl’s Wood had been forcibly removed by immigration officers and security guards.

The sit-in at Yarl’s Wood lasted until around 4.30pm, when officers removed protesters and arrested one campaigner for ‘obstruction of a police officer’. The coaches carrying the deportees left soon after although many of the refugees onboard had no prior notice of their deportation or had valid Removal Directions, clearly flouting the correct legal process. Waiting at Stansted – not Gatwick as previously thought – was a private charter flight destined for Lagos. The Yarl’s Wood refugees, along with others collected from three more detention centres, delayed the flight for over four hours by refusing to board the plane, but it eventually took off around 9.45pm. The flight stopped in Dublin and Prague, picking up further deportees from the Czech Republic, Germany and Ireland. The charter arrived at 9am the next morning where a total of 94 people, including 8 children were left at Lagos airport.

* Meanwhile fellow activists also staged a demonstration outside the offices of WH Tours in Crowley, the private coach company used by the Home Office to transport deportees from detention centres to the airport.

* See also

Another campaign in Sheffield recently saw a more positive outcome when Claude N’deh, his wife Majolie, and their three children won their battle to remain in the UK. The family had come here seeking asylum after they were arrested and tortured in prison in Cameroon for being involved in human rights demonstrations. Two of their children, both born in the UK, were later diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, a condition that requires daily medication with a 50% survival rate in Cameroon. After their initial application for asylum was declined, a huge campaign started in support of the family, backed by direct action groups and the community in Sheffield that they had come to be part of during their six years living in the city. The family have credited the hard work of the support network of community and campaign groups around them as being integral to the successful appeal.

* For more information on other cases see

To get involved in direct action groups, campaigning and to keep up to date with the issues surrounding freedom of movement and how refugees are treated in the UK see    


Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.