Manjeet Must Stay in the UK – RAPAR

Manjeet RAPARManjeet Must Stay in the UK – RAPAR:   

Manjeet Kaur is an Afghan national and current Chair of RAPAR, the human rights organisation based in Manchester. Since she sought asylum in the UK three years ago.
Manjeet’s StoryManjeet came to this country after she was subjected to a series of threats and attacks following the disappearance of her husband in India in February 2011. Before he disappeared, Amitt Bhatt, a campaigning journalist and Panun Kashmir activist, had been persecuted and attacked as a result of articles and books he had written criticising the Indian government’s policies in Kashmir.  Manjeet helped with research and proof-reading for Amitt’s books, ‘Lies and Genocide of the Indian Government’ (2011) and ‘Cryashmir’ (2009). Following his disappearance, Manjeet was beaten at her home in Delhi on two occasions by a group of men looking for information about her husband’s whereabouts. They told her if they failed to find him, they would be back to rape and kill her. Manjeet uses a wheelchair due to paralysis resulting from polio and the injuries sustained from these attacks have worsened her condition. The violent assaults were reported to the police in India but no protection was offered to Manjeet, despite increased vulnerability due to her paralysis.Manjeet fled India in March 2011 in fear for her life. She came to the UK to be with  family members who live in London because they could offer her the safety and support she needs. When she claimed asylum, Manjeet was housed in Manchester and now has numerous friends and supporters she has met through her work for RAPAR, community and trade union activities, and national disability rights and access to justice campaigns.

Despite documents which show that she is from Afghanistan, the Home Office wants to return Manjeet to India where she has already been threatened, and where  there is no-one to support her and 90% of the infrastructure is wheelchair inaccessible. She needs to be with her family and friends in the UK. We urge everyone to support the campaign and demand that Manjeet is given asylum here.

Manjeet is appealing against the Home Office decision to return her to India.  The tribunal date has not yet been set but is likely to be in March and the campaign group will be inviting all supporters to join us in a presence outside the Asylum and Immigration tribunal offices in Moseley Street, Manchester, and inside the court itself.  We will circulate the date and time of the tribunal hearing as soon as we have more details.

Two and a half years ago, Manjeet successfully fought eviction from her asylum support housing in Whalley Range when the Home Office first turned down her case. With the help of RAPAR, Manjeet contacted community, trade union and disability activists who turned up to her home to prevent her being thrown out onto the streets.

Her case was taken up by Trafford MP Kate Green and her story covered by the media.  Manjeet’s asylum support was reinstated and, following critical media stories, the rundown block of asylum support flats where she lived was re-decorated and re-furbished.

The Home Office initially told Manjeet she had to report weekly at Dallas Court, Salford Quays, despite the fact that she had a manual wheelchair at the time and had to take four buses to get there and back again in all kinds of weather. After a long campaign, Manjeet was finally told she could report to Dallas Court by telephone and her fight set a precedent for all disabled people seeking asylum.

Manjeet is a member of Unite’s Manchester Community Branch and her campaign is also backed by the Manchester and Salford branch of the National Union of Journalists which has worked with the International Federation of Journalists in order to establish what happened to Amitt.

Together with another member of RAPAR, Manjeet worked with the UK Disabled People’s Council on a Disability Murals project in Bristol. A group of disabled people seeking asylum helped an artist put together a mural portraying their struggles against the asylum system. Copies of the mural have been exhibited throughout the country and Manjeet featured in a film about the project – the title of the film, “I’m An Asylum Seeker, It Changes Everything” is a quote from Manjeet.

Please write letters of support to Manjeet’s MP, Kate Green!
Model letters are available here.

During her time with RAPAR, Manjeet has also·        Spoken about immigration policies and practices at Manchester Trades Council and many other meetings
·        Related her experience of eviction at anti Bedroom Tax meetings and rallies
·        Joined lawyers on the platform at demonstrations to speak out against the cuts in legal aid
·        Run a workshop at a union sponsored event to campaign against Nick Griffin’s re-election to the European ParliamentMedia coverage includes
·        Being interviewed on News At Ten and in the Disability Murals film
·        Her story featured in the Manchester Evening News and other local media
·        A short film called “Manjeet’s Journey” focusing on Manjeet’s campaign for telephone reporting to Dallas Court

What You Can Do To Help
  · Get your union branch or other organisation to pass a motion backing the campaign
· Write to your MPs urging them to contact Manjeet’s MP, Kate Green, to offer support.  If Kate Green is your MP,  ask her to continue to support Manjeet
·  Write to the Home Secretary and Immigration Minister telling them that Manjeet must stay in the UK
·  Sign the petition
·  Donate to campaign costs, which include legal fees
·  Join the campaign group

Please sign and share the petition to voice your support for Manjeet to remain safe in the UK!