Justice4Sanaz at Surround Yarl’s Wood — Shut Down Dentention Centers! And Other Demos…#SaveKelechi

It’s been fairly quiet on the Justice4Sanaz blog because for the past few weeks we’ve been working with a Manchester-based filmmaker, Naomi Mabita on a short film about this very campaign.

We’ve also been busy attending many demos. First of which was the anti-austerity demo in London that took place on the 20th June 2015.

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Sanaz Raji marching with 250,000 others to Westminster during the 20th June 201 anti-austerity demo against further draconian austerity policies and the rise of racist xenophobia in the UK.

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“Fuck the Fucking Fuckers” our favorite sign from the anti-austerity demo and the most succinct message to the nasty Tories right outside 10 Downing Street.

On the 6th July 2015, Justice4Sanaz took part in protest that shut down the Elbit plant in Shenston from making drone technology for the Israeli government that have been used to kill and cause destruction to Palestinians in Gaza.

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At the ‘Block the Factory’ demo outside the Elbit plant.

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At the ‘Block the Factory’ demo outside the Elbit plant.

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Despite the dreary wet weather, many turned out to show their support for Palestinian cause.

Justice4Sanaz attended the Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary organized, Surround Yarl’s Wood, Shut Down All Detention Centres demonstration that happened just yesterday, 8th August 2015. We were joined many many other activist groups, including WAST Manchester, Manchester No Borders, No Borders Leeds, Sisters Uncut, Black Dissents, Unity Centre, Hotel Workers Branch, and the All African Women’s Group among others who attended.

On the WAST Manchester coach headed for Yarl’s Wood, many of whom were women who had survived detention, the mood was both defiant and boldly resistant– with many euphorically shouting, “End detention” and “Shut down Yarl’s Wood”.

This brief video taken by Sanaz, who was on the WAST Manchester coach, conveys the spirited energy by those on-board.

Naomi Mabita produced a short video from the Surround Yarl’s Wood demo, which can be seen below.

Photos taken by Sanaz conveys the feeling of passionate, righteous anger and rage at seeing vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers locked in an exploitative, racist, violent, and vile immigration system that further dehumanizes and leaves them without any hope of freedom and safety. Justice4Sanaz supports Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary repeated calls for all detention centers to be shut down! No Borders…No One Is Illegal…From Gaza to Yarl’s Wood- No Justice, No Peace!!!

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Last but certainly not least, we are appealing for all supporters to please give much needed solidarity to our friend, Kelechi Chioba. Kelechi is a WoC, disabled international student who is now under threat of deportation.

As the #SaveKelechi petition states,

“[Kelechi] came to study in the UK as a postgraduate student, having paid for her visa and fees herself through work which she had to plead her father to arrange for her in Nigeria so that she was able to pay for essentials. She was sexually abused in the workplace, which led to her attempting suicide in desperation. A friend advised her to apply to study in the UK. She came to the UK to escape the abuse, her mental health and disability worsened however, and whilst arriving needing only crutches she later became wheelchair-bound, which then led to cause damage in her arm meaning she is reliant on a electric wheelchair. Her brother and sister, who arrived in the UK before her have been caring for her, however she fears that returning to Nigeria would mean they would succumb again to the societal pressures and strong influence of culture and kinship in Nigeria that discriminates against disabled individuals.

Having to cover the costs of the wheelchair herself, financial hardship meant she could not complete her course. This made it impossible to apply for extra leave when her student visa ran out. Seeking help from the advice bureau on how to remain permanently, they told her she would need to give up her student status and make a fresh application that would now need to be made from Nigeria.

She made a human rights’ appeal for her case for fear of prosecution and discrimination, which was rejected by the Home Office. It is a human right that no one shall be subject to torture or inhuman treatment, and that everybody’s life should be protected by law. It is reprehensible that the government can say ‘there was nothing sufficiently serious in the family or private life circumstances that could possibly outweigh the need for immigration controls to be enforced’ when,  if she returns Kelechi fears that she will face further abuse, and be put in a psychiatric home. Having witnessed patients in psychiatric care being chained up and forced to take medication, she fears for her life.”

There will be a #SaveKelechi demonstration outside the Home Office in London on Tuesday 11th August 2015 starting at 8:30am, info here.

We urge all London-based Justice4Sanaz supporters to please attend Tuesday’s demo, to sign the #SaveKelechi petition and write a letter to your MP demanding that Kelechi be allowed to remain the UK.

As ever, thank you for your support and if you have some spare coins, please make a donation to help keep the Justice4Sanaz campaign going.

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About justice4sanaz

For 3 years, Sanaz Raji, a non-EU international student from the United States, has waged a fearless and brave fight against institutional aggression, bullying, and racism from the School of Media and Communication (formerly the Institution of Communications Studies) University of Leeds. The School of Media and Communication took away Sanaz's scholarship in August 2011, only 2 weeks before the start of her third year into her PhD studies. The School of Media and Communication breached their own procedures and rules concerning evaluating student progress. By taking away Sanaz's scholarship, the School of Media and Communication prevented her from continuing her studies in addition to having a decent standard of living with food and shelter that all students expect as a human right. In waging her battle for equal rights for non-EU international students, Sanaz was evicted from her university accommodation in May 2014, threatened with an ASBO (anti-social behavior order) and now fighting against deportation. All non-EU international students should have the right to challenge their universities for their failings without the threat of harassment or deportation. Justice4Sanaz is a movement to redress the failure of the student movement to discuss the myriad of ways that non-EU students, especially those who are people of color, are silenced, bullied and threatened within the neoliberal British university system.
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