Fouzia Benmira, her husband Bensalem and their family of four daughters; Malika, aged 11 years, Kadija, age 7, Amira age 3 and Mariam, 9 months have lived in the UK for four years now, since 2002. The family fled their home in Algeria as they felt they were not safe. They had been threatened by persons they believed to be terrorists and also feared that their daughters were at risk from female genital mutilation.
According to the last U.S.A. 'Country Reports on Human Rights Practices'. The Algerian government's human rights record remains poor; c discrimination against women and minorities c failure to account for past disappearances of persons c allegations of abuse and torture of detainees c impunity c arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention c lack of judicial independence c denial of fair and expeditious trials c restrictions on civil liberties (freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and movement) c limitations on freedom of religion c corruption and lack of government transparency
Their asylum claim was refused on the grounds that the family would have sufficient protection from the Algerian Government!
At 6.00am on the morning of Thursday the 20th September, immigration and police officers 'snatched' the family from their Leeds home and took them to Tinsley House IRC, where they spent five days before being transferred to Yarl's Wood IRC. Removal directions have been set for Sunday the 8th October.
Whilst living in the UK Malika and Kadija have attended Hunslet Moor School in Beeston, Leeds, where they have made lots of friends, they also attended after school club one evening a week. Malika had just started secondary school and had settled in well when the family were detained.
Whilst they have been seeking asylum in the UK, Bensalem has done various volunteering work for St Jude's charity shop in Leeds. Fouzia has been actively involved with Sure Start, attending stay and play sessions, and the unity group which is a support group for asylum seeking families.
Fouzia has also recently been attending ESOL classes at Sure Start where she was progressing well up until her detention. Fouzia has also brought her family to all the trips and activity days provided by Sure Start.
The family settled well in Leeds and have made many friends in Beeston where they lived for most of their time here. Malika and Kadija have been doing very well at school and their English is extremely good. They have made friends who they have had to leave behind without being able to say goodbye to.
Amira also enjoyed the various Sure Start crèches she came to whilst her mum was at a group or class. The family have integrated well and have become popular, well liked members of their local community.
It is very traumatic for the children who have spent the most formative years of their lives in the UK; two of them have known no other country than the UK, one would have very little memory of Algeria and the eldest has only a distant memory of Algeria. To be uprooted so suddenly and put behind bars in a immigration removal centre pending deportation is an injustice.
The children's future should be here in the UK not Algeria.
How you can help Benmira Family stay in this country:
Fax Liam Byrne, Minister for Immigration, using the model letter 'Attached', which you can copy/amend/write your own.
Fax: 020 7035 4745 from outside the UK + 44 20 7035 4745
Please notify the campaign of any faxes sent:
End of Bulletin:
Source for this Message:
Benmira Family Campaign