New Threat to Yarl's Wood Leader....
Mabel Gawanas Must Stay!
Stop Deportation of Yarl's Wood Freedom Fighter THIS THURSDAY
Mabel Gawanas faces deportation to Namibia on Thursday night. Mabel is the foremost freedom fighter, leader and organiser of women imprisoned in the notorious Yarl's Wood detention centre, a role model for every woman struggling for justice against Britain's inhuman and racist immigration. She is one of the leaders who have made Yarl's Wood the central battleground in the fight for women's rights and the right of asylum in Britain. Mabel has also been in Yarl's Wood for nearly a year! - She is currently the most long term detainee held there.
The racist Home Office wants to deport Mabel 5 days before the 7
th birthday of her daughter Alexandra, was born here and is a EU citizen, and despite Mabel's serious physical and mental health problems that are substantiated by medical reports. With devastating cynicism the most recent Home Office refusal justifies separating Mabel and Alexandra by saying they have only had 'limited contact' for some time - i.e. because Mabel has been in Yarl's Wood (in fact Alexandra & her father have kept in touch throughout and made regular visits to Yarl's Wood).
Mabel is exactly the kind of leader that the growing movement for justice and equality needs. She has been a leader in every struggle in Yarl's Wood from the protests that followed the Channel 4 exposures in March last year, and she has always been an active part of the Yarl's Wood Movement for Justice group. She is a leader for women of every nationality in Yarl's Wood - from every part of Africa, from India, Bangladesh, China, Eastern Europe etc. She has been organising the protests and placards at the windows on every one of the Surround Harmondsworth demonstrations since April 2015; people at the 12
th March demonstration heard Mabel speak over the phone and saw the large placard she held at the window, denouncing the sexual abuse of women by male guards.
Mabel has been central to making the fight inside the centre more organised. She was part of the 3-day courtyard protest by over 100 women in the run-up to September's parliamentary debate on detention, and organised successful collective action to support get a Chinese detainee taken to hospital. In November and March she organised women of different nationalities to defend Nigerian & Ghanaian women who were collectively resisting deportation. Both charter flights had to leave without any of those women on board.
Mabel has dramatically exposed the barbarity of the detention system to the local community in Bedford. She objected to being taken to her hospital appointments in handcuffs - a practice the Home Office denies - and in January she arranged for local reporters to photograph her being taken into Bedford hospital in handcuffs by Serco guards, and it made
(there was a
about Mabel in the same paper). Just today
has been released on OpenDemocracy.net.
The Home Office is prepared to tear Mabel and Alexandra apart, they are prepared to ignore all Mabel's medical reports and return her to a country where she was a victim of abuse and torture within her own family, and where she will not get the medical support she desperately needs. They try to justify their action by defining Mabel as a 'foreign national offender' with a criminal conviction - an unjust double punishment that the Home Office uses to drive up the number of deportations. In Mabel's case it was the result of a domestic dispute when she and her ex-partner were breaking up. We know that for her part Mabel will fight by all means necessary and possible, as she has done before, but we have to mobilise all the resources we can to expose the actions of the Home Office and stop her deportation.
What you can do
REMEMBER: In all communications quote Mabel's Home Office Reference, 1194349/5
1. Contact Kenya Airways and demand they refuse to take Mabel Gawanas on Flight KQ101 from Heathrow T4 at 18.25 on Thursday, 21/04/16
CALL: 020 82831800
Kenya Airways Marketing Director, Chris Diaz, @diazchrisafrica
Kenya Airways has the right and duty to protect the safety of its passengers and staff. Mabel is being forcibly deported - she will resist because she is fighting for her life. The escorts are well knows for their brutality, causing the death of Jimmy Mubenga and the brutalisation of many more. To ensure the health and safety of their passengers and staff Kenya Airways can and must refuse to fly Mabel - they may say this is not their decision, but it is.
Tell them that as Kenya Airways is their national flag carrier they must tell Kenya Airways to cancel Mabel's ticket for Thursday evening, and that they must make a stand against the continued harassment and deportation of African nationals living in the UK.
3. Tell Air Namibia not to accept Mabel Gawanas on the connecting flight SW373 leaving Lusaka for Windhoek at 12.25 on Friday.
FAX: Head Office in Windhoek, Namibia - 00 264 61 299 6146
4. Demand the Home Office cancels Mabel's removal. Write to:
Copy to these Home Office email addresses: