23 Belgrave Square
nearest tube Sloane Square
tomorrow Wedesday 14th November 12.00 noon.
Backround on Meltem's case: Meltem and her family fled Germany in 2001 after the German authorities decided to deport the family back to Turkey where they were facing persecution as politically active Kurds. Meltem and her mother were detained for the first time in 2005 for 3 days. This was a deeply traumatising experience especially for Meltem, who was then 11 years old. She has been living in fear of being detained again since. On the 27 August 2007, one week before the start of the school year, Meltem and her mother were detained again. Immigration officials woke them up by hammering on their door at dawn and did not even allow Meltem to say goodbye to her friend that was staying over at her house that night.
Meltem and Cennet have been in detention since and are facing removal to Germany. More than 2 months of detention have distressed Meltem so much that she self-harmed and had to be taken to the hospital on 26th October.
Meltem's family was refused asylum on the grounds that they could safely return to Germany. This completely ignores the fact that Germany will deport them to Turkey where they faced persecution before.
Meltem has been going to school in the UK for the last 6 years and has been preparing to sit GCSEs next year. If she and her mother are returned to Germany she will not be able to continue her education, because she does not speak German and is very likely to only be allowed to stay in Germany for a short period of time before being deported to Turkey.
Meltem has learned English for the past 6 years and has built up a wide circle of friends. She should be allowed to continue her education here without the fear of deportation to a country where she has been persecuted.
On 11th October Meltem wrote this letter from Yarl's Wood:
My name is Meltem Avcil. I have lived in the UK since September 2001. Our family was initially dispersed to Bradford where we lived for six months and then to Doncastor, where we have lived ever since. I am due to be deported with my mom to Germany tomorrow Friday 12th of October.1)
I was born in Turkey. In Turkey the life was so difficult in our village my mum and dad got persecuted like everyday. They were living in the fear of persecution all the time and that fear never stopped.One day they thought if we live like this there is no point of living. Finally I was born. My parents said to themselves we have to do something about this. They moved to Germany when I was 6 year old. Germany refused to give us asylum, so our family made their way to the UK - this was in September 2001.
Please think for a minute - if we had not come to UK, Germany would have sent us back to Turkey. From there I would have the same persecution. I know you might be thinking how can they persecute a little girl but I'm sure they do. Because in this country, the UK, there is something called human right. But in Turkey they don't have that so then we moved to UK and claimed for asylum but they refused that in 2005.
Immigration 'Snatch squads' first came for us at 7 o'clock in 2005 and bought us to Yarl's Wood removal central. I was small then I did not know anything, after three days they released us. From that day I could not get a bit of sleep in my eyes as I was growing up. Can you feel how I felt always thought what's going to happen to us tomorrow?
My dad ran away in 2006. I didn't feel anything. My mom was sad about it. We have never heard from him and have no idea where he is or why he left.
Was thinking again and again there is a big difference between asylum child and child who has leave to remain in UK. I never thought they were different.
When a friend asks you 'can you come to my party next week' the child that is an asylum seeker thinks first what is going to happen tomorrow? All day all night always asking them, what is going to happen? But when it comes to the party day. You feel nothing happened. Why do I have to live with this feeling all the time? And you start thinking about that as well you think the questions get more and more you can't concentrate on your work.
In August 2007 the immigration came for us again in the morning at 7 o'clock. My friends were sleeping in our house. As soon as my mom opened door they rushed in. They do that to all families but can't they think why do they have to come in the morning? Sometimes they awake small babies from their hot bed! Even sometimes they get teenagers to think y future is down. They said to us to be quick, they were shouting in our ears. One time they lead my friends away with out her saying bye to me! How do they feel that I'm never going to see her again?
Anyway they took us to the car and drive us to the police station, told us to stay there and wait, there is another car going to come and take you to the removal centre. The car came and it was awful. For a minute I thought to my self am I an animal? They even treat animals better then that. The car had a cage. I said to myself I wished I had died and never saw this day.The escorts bought us to Yarl's Wood. And since that day I haven't seeing no friends. It has been 1 month and 3 weeks I'm here. I tell you it has no difference than a jail. Put your hands to your heart and think this girl's family, friends and loved ones are all in this country.
What would this girl do in a different country? How would she survive in different country one that she doesn't even know?Now I need your help for the first and last time. Please help me! (...)
Yarl's Wood IRC Thursday 11th October
1) Meltem didn't get deported to Germany in October because the family found a new solicitor that put in a JR. This JR was refused last week.
SOAS detainee support group.