Article published: Friday, December 16th 2011
Campaigners in support of disabled asylum seeker Manjeet Kaur’s fight to remain in the UK will hold a solidarity vigil outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre this Monday.
Kaur has been granted permission for a judicial review of her case at the High Court in Manchester after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) refused to grant her an “in country” appeal following the rejection of her asylum claim.
Originally from Afghanistan, Kaur says she left her home in India after being beaten and threatened with rape and murder by men looking for her husband, human rights activist and journalist Amitt Bhatt, who disappeared in February this year after investigating suspected human rights abuses against the Kashmiri Pandit ethnic minority.
If the judicial review is turned down there is a risk that Kaur, a wheelchair user will be sent back to India. Whereas Kaur has relatives in the UK who can support her she has no family in India following the disappearance of her husband, and supporters say her disability will greatly restrict her ability to both work and travel and protect herself against future attacks.
Kaur labelled travel for a wheelchair users in India a “nightmare”, saying most roads and paths have “high bumps, broken surfaces and steps not feasible for a wheelchair user”, adding how it was in “no way possible to get from point A to B in a manual wheelchair without any help.”
Kaur’s solicitor Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law said: “Her evidence of her husband Amitt’s politically motivated disappearance, and the physical harm she has suffered, make this a clearly arguable case.”
The campaign ‘Keep Manjeet safe in the UK’ has been organised by asylum seeker charity RAPAR and has the support of community and disability rights activists and trade unionists – who have also contributed towards the financial backing for Kaur to pursue the case.
In May of this year, Kaur faced eviction from her home in Whalley Range when the UKBA terminated her housing support as a result of the rejection of her claim for asylum. The decision to evict a disabled asylum seeker attracted public attention when protesters rallied to her aid, winning the support of Stretford Labour MP Kate Green.
The protest, organised by RAPAR and the Disability Action Network, successfully resulted in Kaur being allowed to remain at her home in Whalley Range. This latest campaign, fighting for her right to appeal the decision of asylum in the UK, similarly has a broad group of supporters.
Dr Rhetta Moran, of RAPAR, said: “The level of support Manjeet has attracted from all sections of the community is a testimony to the strength of her case and to the way she has used her skills to work with people in her community and with other people seeking asylum.”
The UKBA were contacted but declined to comment.
The vigil will be held outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West (corner of Gartside Street), Manchester at 10am Monday 19 December
For further information of the ‘Keep Manjeet safe in the UK’ campaign visit RAPAR’s website
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