Defend Halima and Bailey Jr!
Halima Aboubacar and her baby son Bailey Jr. are under threat of deportation by the Home Office to the Republic of Cameroon, where Halima is at risk of persecution and inhuman treatment. 6-month-old Bailey Jr. was born in Britain and has never been to Cameroon. Halima and her husband fled Cameroon in 2005 after her father, a village Chief, tried to force her to marry a 68-year-old fellow Chief. A Chief is the highest authority in any village or town, akin to a British Mayor. When she refused she was severely beaten up. Her sister had also refused a forced marriage and had boiling oil poured on her, peeling off her skin and scarring her. The police refused to intervene, describing it as a ‘family problem’, and handed her over to her father for more beatings.
The racist British Labour government has refused to grant her refuge, and when she was 7½ months pregnant, evicted her from her home and tried to deport her. As she tried to avoid deportation and flee to France where she has friends, she was arrested and sentenced to 6 months in Holloway prison for ‘immigration offences’. A British citizen would have served 3 months, but Halima served 4½ months and gave birth to Bailey Jr. in gaol. Halima was handcuffed during her scan and police officers were present during her labour and strip-searched her. Bailey Jr. served his first 79 days in Holloway, and then transferred to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where he served 3 weeks of his ‘sentence’. When Halima asked for milk for breast-feeding mothers, she was told to ‘drink lots of water’.
Still on bail, they face the threat of deportation at any time to Cameroon where they will immediately be arrested. In Cameroon, torture and ill-treatment of detainees is ‘widespread and systematic’; a common method of torture is known as balançoire, ‘victims are suspended from a rod between their hands tied behind their legs and then beaten, often on the genitals…If you are a woman, your torture will almost certainly include rape’ (Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, 26 June 2002). Rape is a common form of torture in Cameroon, inflicted upon a third of the male and almost all the female detainees.
The Home Office regularly dismisses evidence of ill-treatment from asylum seekers and has deported thousands to face further persecution. The refusal rate for Cameroonians was 85% in 2005. Labour decided in 2005 that asylum applicants will be ‘fast-tracked’. Now 99% of all fast-tracked claims are conveniently refused. Of the 56 ‘fast-track’ countries, 31 are African - all nations underdeveloped, oppressed and exploited by British imperialism. The asylum and immigration laws on which these decisions are based are racist to the core.
Defend Halima and Bailey Jr! Stop deporting children and babies!
Defend all asylum seekers! No deportation to Cameroon! No to British state racism!