An anti-deportation campaign has been launched in aid of Amdani Juma, a Burundian refugee who has been refused indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Amdani, a torture survivor, came to the UK in March 2003 as a UN – sponsored asylum seeker and was granted humanitarian protection. Many of his family and friends were tortured and some were murdered. Many others like him were forced into exile. Amdani settled in Nottingham and worked at the Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum (NNRF) for two years. Amdani was selected to serve the Home Office itself, on the Community and Media sub-group of its social policy body, the National Refugee Integration Forum, under John Reid. This post ran from 2005 to March 2007, just before his leave to remain was rescinded. He has been involved in other national organisations including HIV-awareness campaigns (National African HIV Prevention Program and African HIV Policy Network) and refugee organisations (The National Refugee Integration Forum and Refugee Action). Locally, he has worked in the Nottingham Council Tenants’ Forum and advises Nottinghamshire Social Services and other East Midlands bodies on asylum issues.
Amdani’s recent routine application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) was refused by the Home Office and he has been told he faces deportation to a country where he has no immediate family and which is unsafe. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has commented that ‘the human rights situation in Burundi remains poor’. An appeal will be heard on 28 November. His friends and supporters, who are ‘shocked and bewildered’ at the refusal to grant him indefinite leave to remain, are encouraging people to write letters of support and have circulated a petition to present to the court.
The Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum told IRR News: ‘The Home Office has offered no evidence that the situation in Burundi is now safe for someone of his political and ethnic background. Not only would his friends miss him, but we genuinely fear for his life should he be deported to Burundi. [Amdani] always gives freely and selflessly of his time and has helped many people in difficult circumstances. His departure would be a great loss to us and to the wider community of the city, as reflected in a motion in support of Amdani passed by the Notts & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum at its recent AGM.’
Amdani told IRR News: ‘I feel safe in Nottingham and I am well integrated in the UK, I am so shocked and can not imagine returning to a country where I suffered loss of friends and family and I still sustain scars from the Rwandan genocide and escaping Burundi in 2003 to safety in the UK. It is very difficult to feel that people wish me to stay yet the Home Office turned down my ILR application after years of work and putting roots in Nottingham. The decision has made everyone so sad.’
Download the petition (word doc, 31kb)