Some of you may remember the story of Serena, our Burkina Faso trafficked lady, and her little daughter Tila, an elective mute.
I last wrote about this in July, when we had all been to court with her, and the judge had allowed her appeal on the grounds that the welfare of Tila had not been considered.
The Home Office had two weeks to appeal against this ruling. The appeal never came, and we all, in our naivete, thought that it was only a matter of time before Serena received Right to Remain.
The bad news is that today, more than 4 months later, she had a huge wadge of paper through the post which gives all the reasons why she is not going to be allowed to remain after all, and she must lodge another appeal on different grounds in two weeks, or be forcibly repatriated.
We’re all depressed. Tila is beginning to do well with her speech therapy, and the two of them have been looking so much happier. Serena shed 10 years after the last ruling: she now looks much older again.
We’re going through the ruling with a fine toothcomb. There are still things that have not been taken into consideration – in particular, the fact that Tila’s muteness was traumatic in origin. In other words, it must have arisen out of having to watch her mother being abused.
How is forcible repatriation going to help a 5-year-old with psychological problems owing to past trauma? Burkina Faso is not a well-developed country and certainly can’t offer any help. This is inhumane treatment.
Hub is now engaged in writing a letter of his own, and he and Serena will go to see a firm of lawyers tomorrow who run a free drop-in service. The previous service has been deprived of its grant and no longer exists.
I know that our Borders Agency has a real job to do catching people who are here illegally and sending them home. But the botched way they are handling this situation begins to feel very much like harassment.
All hands on the prayer deck, and we fight on, as long as we can.