sabato 27 febbraio 2010

Fight for student who faces being deported

Lucy Adams A youngster at Glasgow’s Anniesland College is due to be deported … despite having sought asylum as a child. Rima Andmariam, from Eritrea, in north Africa, was, according to her baptism certificate, born on July 1, 1992. This meant her asylum application should have been treated as an unaccompanied minor. But the Home Office contested her age, and after moving in with a university professor, she was detained last year at Dungavel House Immi­gration Removal Centre, Lanarkshire. Campaigners have condem­ned the action as a breach of the UK Government’s promise to end detention of children at Dungavel. Rima won a brief reprieve but now she faces being deported to Italy within days. Students at the college are organising a campaign to stop her removal and have a petition with more than 400 names. Professor of languages and inter­cultural studies at Glasgow University, Alison Phipps, has effectively fostered the girl. Alison said: “Rima is terrified and traumatised again. She has had to leave her parents, lost her father to prison, lost contact with her mother after authorities at Dungavel took her Sim card, and is to be taken from a second, stable, loving family. “Our plea is for clemency, but we have not exhausted legal routes.” Rima’s family are Pentecostal Christians, a religious group which is banned in Eritrea. She fled after becoming separated from her father, and crossed into Sudan and Libya. From Libya she took a boat, which sank off Italy, where she was rescued. When she arrived in Britain in March 2008 she was 15 and was taken in by social services in Cardiff and treated as a child. When she arrived in Glasgow she was homeless and was taken in by Prof Phipps and her husband in March 2009. There is an outstanding Judicial Review and Miss Andmariam’s supporters say she has a strong case for asylum from Eritrea, but under the Dublin Regulation she is liable to be returned to Italy. A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We do not detain unaccompanied minors except in exceptional circumstances. Where there is a dispute about the age of claimed minors we refer to social services and take their advice. “Where social services judge that a claimed minor is, in fact, an adult, the UK Border Agency will treat them as adults unless contrary evidence is produced. “Under the Dublin Conventions the first EU state to receive an asylum application is responsible for deciding that application.”

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