Elsa and Bethlehem
Elsa arrived in the UK with her daughter in December 2004 and has been living in Leeds ever since.
Elsa's case for asylum rests on the fact that she is Tigrinian (from Eritrea ) but had been living in Ethiopia with her ex-husband (the father of Bethlehem ) who is Ethiopian. Elsa separated from her husband because he was abusive towards her and she subsequently fled. Elsa had been living in Ethiopia before the civil war which led to the creation of Eritrea. As a Tigrinian, Elsa is regarded as persona non grata in Ethiopia and would not be allowed to live or work there. Elsa would also be regarded as a persona non grata in Eritrea having continued to live in Ethiopia with her Ethiopian husband after the creation of Eritrea. Elsa believes that Ethiopian authorities will not allow her entry to Ethiopia and she fears that if she were deported to Eritrea she would be imprisoned as a traitor.
To complicate the situation further, Elsa's daughter, Bethlehem was born in Ethiopia and Elsa believes, would not have any rights (including education or health) in Eritrea . Elsa fears that if they are deported to Ethiopia then Bethlehem would be allowed entry but she would not be. She particularly fears that her ex-husband's family would claim Bethlehem and that Elsa would not see her again.
The UK Borders and Immigration Agency insist that Elsa is Ethiopian and do not believe her when she says she is Tigrinian, hence the reason for deporting her and Bethlehem to Ethiopia and not Eritrea. Her case was refused in 2005 and fresh representations were refused only this month. She was only notified of this as her home was raided at dawn on Thursday 25th of September.
The family have settled extremely well in Leeds and have become active members of the community and the Church. Elsa has enrolled for a course at Park Lane College in Leeds to gain a qualification in accountancy (she had been a professional accountant in Ethiopia before fleeing). She loves being an accountant and her hopes are that she will be able to practice as an accountant in the UK once she has the appropriate qualifications.
Elsa's daughter has just started at her new secondary school and that despite only being there for two or three weeks was already settling in and doing really well, especially in Maths, which she excels at. At her primary school, the teachers were really impressed by Bethlehem 's ability and willingness to learn and that she was top of the class in Maths.
Elsa is involved as a volunteer at Solace and helps run the Women's Group where she is in charge of the activities and also looks after the database. She is also an active member of the Beeston Hill United Free Church.
Elsa's detention last Thursday and threat of deportation this Wednesday came completely out of the blue as these things often do. Elsa is a thoroughly decent human being who potentially has much to offer British society, as does her daughter who shows so much promise at school and has integrated so well.
Please take the time to help Elsa and Bethlehem in stopping their enforced removal by writing/faxing/phoning the following (please make sure you quote her details and her removal direction information).
1) Please send urgent faxes to Nigel Turner, Chief Executive Officer BMI Airways, asking that BMI should not facilitate Home Office enforcement policies, using the attached "model letter" (ElsaIMbayeBMI.doc) you can copy/amend/write your own version, if you do so, please remember to include the following details: Elsa Temesgen Imbaye and her 11 year old daughter, Bethlehem due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Wednesday, 1 October 2008 on British Midland Airways flight BD913 from Heathrow @ 14:15 to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Fax: Fax:: 01332 854875 from outside the UK: + 44 1332 854875
2) Ring BMI Head Office and ask to speak to the CEO, Nigel Turner (Tel: 01332 854000). You probably won't be able to speak to him personally, but you should be able to leave a message, at least to say that you have sent a fax.
3) Please send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Elsa Temesgen Imbaye and her 11 year old daughter, Bethlehem be granted protection in the UK. Please use the attached "model letter" (ElsaIMbayeJS.doc) which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include their HO ref: A1248575).
Fax: 020 8760 3132(00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)
Please let the campaign know of faxes/emails sent:
Friends of Elsa & Bethlehem
Carolina Albuerne / firstname.lastname@example.org
End of Bulletin:
Source for this Message:
Friends of Elsa & Bethlehem