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 "Atrocious Barbarism"

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Number of posts : 1056
Age : 69
Location : Pretoria - South Africa
Registration date : 2007-10-18

PostSubject: "Atrocious Barbarism"   Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:34 am

It is when I read "stories" like these that I feel so fooken powerless ... so fooken useless

Deported, abandoned and saved in Ghana

By Will Ross BBC News, Accra - Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 14:12 GMT

Ama Sumani is slowing down. She is only 39 but moves like an elderly grandmother.

Her feet, legs and face are swollen.

A week ago Ama was lying in a hospital bed in Cardiff. Her kidneys damaged by cancer, she had just
had a session of the dialysis treatment she needs three times a week to stay alive.

Then early in the morning, in walked three immigration officers.

They removed her from the hospital in a wheelchair, drove her to Gatwick airport and the very same
afternoon put her on a plane to Ghana.

Ama's visa was out of date and so she had been in the UK illegally.

No grudges

The next evening I found Ama sitting next to the swimming pool at a luxury hotel a stone's throw
from the Ghanaian president's house.

The immigration officers were still with her and looked upset. Their efforts to help the widow get
dialysis treatment at Accra's main hospital had failed.

They had obviously struck up quite a relationship and one of the officers had even given Ama a pair
of her shiny silver-coloured earrings.

They may have escorted her out of Britain but Ama certainly held no grudges and was grateful they
had at least tried to help. So she wanted to show a bit of Ghanaian hospitality to the British by
seeing them off at the airport.

But they left late that evening without saying goodbye to Ama.

Knowing that she faced an uncertain future without the life-prolonging treatment, perhaps it was
easier that way - but Ama could not understand it and she rang their mobiles over and over again.
There was no reply.

Useless possessions

The next morning Ama had to check out of the £100 ($200) a night hotel which had been paid for
by the British taxpayer.

It was clear she was totally lost. Her family lives in northern Ghana and Ama had only spent one day
in the capital in her life and that had been on her way to the UK, via the embassy to pick up her
four-year visa.

I offered to help her try again at the hospital and so Ama packed her bags, not sure where she
would sleep that night.

She had a couple of suitcases and a large plastic bag full of furry-collared winter coats, which in
Ghana's stifling heat had suddenly become her most useless possessions.

"Won't be able sell them for much here, will I love?" Ama joked.

Another mannerism she had picked up in Cardiff emerged as she left the hotel.

"Thank you. Ta Ta," she cheerfully said to the porters.

Costly treatment

The dialysis room in Ghana's main hospital does not fit the image many have of the medical facilities
in Africa.

There is an impressive line-up of white machines, blinking lights and digital read-outs.

But when Ama Sumani asked about the cost of the dialysis, she was presented with a scrap of
paper which brought tears to her eyes. It was a bill for about £2,500 ($5,000) to be paid upfront.
That was just for three months' dialysis.

Ama reached slowly into her pocket and pulled out a few crumpled notes - enough money for just
two days' treatment.


When Ama had appealed against her imminent removal from the UK, doctors had advised the judge
that without the treatment she had only weeks to live.

As it became clear that the dialysis was available but unaffordable, criticism of the Home Office
grew and the medical journal, the Lancet, described Ama's removal from the Cardiff hospital as
"atrocious barbarism".

Of course, there are plenty of people who are quick to back the government's action and question
why on earth British taxpayers should pay the medical bills for a Ghanaian who was not even there

"It's the National Health Service not the International Health Service," is a view I've heard a few

But there is a counter-argument.

Turn up at a British hospital and do not be too surprised if the nurse or doctor who treats you is
Ghanaian. With the drain of this exodus on the Ghanaian health service, some here suggest the UK
might owe Ghana a favour or two.


This week I have seen Ama deteriorate as she skips the dialysis treatment.

Her face and feet have swollen and she can barely walk.

But now help has arrived.

Ama took a phone call from Wales. And as the total stranger on the end of the line explained that
she was sending the £2,500 so she could start the treatment, Ama's face moved from shock to joy
and the phrase "God bless you!" was repeated over and over, and then finally laughter.

It will be a struggle for Ama to pay for the ongoing dialysis. But as she phones to say she is on her
way to the hospital there is some cheer in her voice as she tells me, "Thanks love. See you later.
Ta Ta."

BBC News
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Number of posts : 392
Location : Johannesburg
Registration date : 2007-11-02

PostSubject: Re: "Atrocious Barbarism"   Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:36 am

Ms. Sumani had first come to Britain in 2003; she enrolled
as a student but was unable to finish the course and took a job.
Taking employment contravened her student visa status. She flew
to Ghana in 2005 to attend a memorial service for her late husband.
On her return to Britain, her visa was revoked.

She became ill two years ago, and doctors say that without
regular dialysis she has only weeks to live. A Border and Immigration
Agency (BIA) spokesman claimed that “Part of our consideration
when a person is removed is their fitness to travel and whether
the necessary medical treatment is available in the country to
which they are returning.”

Ms. Sumani attended hospital in Accra, the day after arriving
in Ghana. According to reports by the BBC and Independent,
the hospital in Accra will not provide treatment for her. The
reports state British officials would provide funding for treatment
for three months, but the hospital said that without funding for
ongoing medical treatment, they would not be prepared to accept
her as a patient.

Her lawyer Sara Changkee said: “It’s just so sad;
her only future now is death.”

Annan Cato, Ghanaian High Commissioner in London, has made
an appeal to the British government to allow Ms. Sumani to be
returned to continue her treatment.

The treatment of the Ghanaian woman is one more example of
the British government’s increasingly reactionary and punitive
treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers.

The Independent on January 2 highlighted the case of
Adedoyin Fadairo, a three-year-old girl who has been threatened
with deportation to America. The child was born in the US but
has lived most of her life in London with her grandmother and
has no family in America.

The girl’s 32-year-old mother is also threatened with
deportation, in her case to Nigeria. She has been held in the
Yarls Wood detention centre and has been separated from Adedoyin
for 10 months. Adedoyin has a kidney condition but is not entitled
to medical treatment.

The case has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights,
which has ordered the British government to put the threat of
deportation on hold whilst it considers the case.

The right of failed asylum seekers to receive medical treatment
is currently restricted to emergency care and access to a general
practitioner. Other treatments, including provision of antiretroviral
drugs to babies born of HIV-infected women, are prohibited. The
government’s Home Office and Health Department is due to
publish a review imminently that will recommend restricting medical
intervention to emergency care only.

The Labour government has taken an increasingly anti-immigrant
stance since coming into office. The 2006/2007 annual report of
the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC),
published in April of last year, noted: “The increased use
of charter flights (to facilitate deportations) is very worrying;
there are now 5/6 flights a month.”

A BIA press release in November 2007 boasted: “Britain’s
tougher border controls have led to the lowest level of asylum
applications in 15 years.... [T]his year 45,000 people have been
removed from the UK...[matching] the all time high of 2003....
Between January and September 2007 there were 16,520 principal
asylum applications lodged, this represents a seven per cent fall
in applications compared to the same period in 2006. It is also
the lowest number of applications since 1992.”

In a fit of “you ain’t seen nothing yet” hyperbole,
the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said in a December press release,
“People in Britain want to see changes to our immigration
system and in 2008 we’ll see them. It’s the biggest
shake up for 40 years.”

The plight of one of the most vulnerable sections of workers
can only become more precarious.

See Also:
Britain: Gifted young footballer fights

[4 January 2008]
Conditions worsen
at UK asylum-seeker detention centres

[14 June 2007]

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PostSubject: Re: "Atrocious Barbarism"   Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:38 am

true, WF.....a heart-wrenching story.....
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PostSubject: ...........   Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:15 am

Her lawyer Sara Changkee said: “It’s just so sad;
her only future now is death.”..................... So sad , ...
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