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Trying to deport disabled children


by Sunny on 1st September, 2006 at 2:08 pm    

In January I pointed to a campaign to stop the deportation of asylum seeker Samina Altaf and her disabled children. Samina and the children fled Pakistan after domestic abuse by her husband. All 3 suffer from severe rickets and are receiving proper medical support in this country. But the Home Office want to deport them. And I got this yesterday:

Samina Altaf and her children have just received a letter from the Home Office turning down their application to remain in this country. They repeat the adjudicators claim that Aqsa is not ‘completely disabled’ and that this is “an attempt to embellish her claim and it does not reflect the true situation.”

The true situation is that the Home Office have not conducted one medical examination of their own. On the other hand the family’s representatives have submitted numerous medical reports to substantiate the claim. If returned to Pakistan the family would suffer violence because of their disability.

The Home Office or the doctors and social workers at Booth Hall Children’s Hospital, Bury Social Services, Salford Social Services, and Community Paediatricians, who have all written reports that have been sent to the Home Office.

Hazel Blears, who has met Samina and the children and knows her situation, represents a government that says it is committed to tackling disability discrimination and yet discriminates against the disabled.

What does ‘completely disabled’ mean?
What kind of prejudice is the Home Office guilty of?
A wrong is being committed here against Samina and her family.

Background story

Samina Altaf and her two children Aqsa and Sumama fled Pakistan in May 2004 to escape domestic abuse. All three are disabled with severe rickets and are receiving medical support in this country. Nonetheless the Home Office want to deport the family. Their Home Office reference number is A1233290.

Their case has already received local and national press coverage in the Salford Advertiser, the Manchester Evening News, the Guardian, BBC Radio and Granada TV.

The disabilities

Hazel Blears is the family’s MP. Having personally met with Samina and Aqsa she is in no doubt as to the severity of their disabilities. Aqsa in particular has severe difficulties and uses a wheelchair to get around school. She has transport provided by Salford Education Authority to get her to school and back. Social Services assessment reports states that ‘Aqsa is quite severely disabled with rickets and requires a disability social worker to assess her and the family’s needs’. Both children are receiving treatment through Booth Hall Children’s Hospital and Aqsa is waiting to hear about her admission for major surgery.

Many people have pledged their support for the family and include her lawyer David Pountney at Bury Law Centre, the Headteacher of St Sebastians school where Sumama is a pupil, Pamela Thompson, Aqsa’s teacher at Abraham Moss, the doctors at Booth Hall, and members of the local community in Salford. Julie Hesmondhalgh (Haley from Coronation Street) is one of the main supporters of Samina’s campaign and has spoken at public meetings in support of the families right to remain in this country.

For more information contact:

Samina Altaf 07940 331 028
Denise McDowell 07834 023 146
David Pountney, Bury Law Centre, 0161 272 0666



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22 Comments   |  


  1. Galloise Blonde — on 1st September, 2006 at 2:53 pm  

    I’ve copied this across to mine, hope you don’t mind Sunny.

  2. Amit — on 1st September, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

    WTF? That’s disgusting! Why don’t they focus on getting rid of all the sicko’s, rapists and murderers instead of trying to make examples of people who have a genuine case and a genuine need to stay in this country!

  3. Don — on 1st September, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    Surely this is just using resources most effciently? For the time and effort it takes to track down and deport one agile sex-offender or gang-master here illegally, you could probably net five or six kids in wheelchairs.

    Gotta get those numbers down somehow.

  4. Bert Preast — on 1st September, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Would they really face violence in Pakistan because of their disability?

    And one has to wonder at the intelligence of any civil servant who thought even mentioning deportment might be a good idea. Rules are rules, but if as in this case they could be quietly bent leaving no one the wiser, surely that’s the sensible option?

  5. Amey — on 1st September, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    Heck if we let in women only coz’ of domestic abuse then we will have half the world’s women here. Heck why does she have to come all the waay to UK for treating something like rickets. I trust Pakistani health care is competent enough to treat rickets… Let the people at Home Office do their job… we cant let everybody in.

  6. DR1001 — on 1st September, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    “Heck why does she have to come all the waay to UK for treating something like rickets”

    It doesn’t sound just like rickets per se but the crippling effects of it hence the severe disabilites.
    Maybe they just had a high regard with the British NHS and trust that their treatment here will help them more. It’s not unheard of for people to travel to other countries for treatemnts.
    In this case sadly there seems to be more to it regarding the husband etc and they would like to stay.

  7. Tasneem — on 1st September, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    Someone tell me, plz: What’s the diffrent between being “disabled” and “completely disabled”?!

  8. Tasneem — on 1st September, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    *diffrence ;-P

  9. Richard — on 1st September, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Tasneem. Samina’s daughter Aqsa spends part of her time in a wheelchair. She is a very proud girl and tries to walk when she can. Watching her walk you can see how the rickets has degenerated her bones. Sometimes the pain is too much and she uses the wheelchair. At school she uses the wheelchair a large ammount of the time. She is due to have a series of four operations which are extremely serious. They are serious enough for anybody without the fear and problems that she has through the thought of being deported. But the answer to your question is that i have absolutely no idea what the difference is between being disabled and completely disabled. I’ve been involved in the campaign for a while now. I would just like to ask everybody to write to their MP , write to the Home Office and if you live in the Manchester / Salford area then please get in touch with the campaign and help in whatever way you can.

  10. Chairwoman — on 1st September, 2006 at 7:42 pm  

    I have become disabled. By this I mean that I have mobility problems. Walking is difficult, but everything else is OK. I assume that completely disabled means that everything, including things of a personal nature, have to be done for one.

    What really bothers me about the government is their inability to show compassion in individual cases.

  11. mirax — on 1st September, 2006 at 10:30 pm  

    >>Rules are rules, but if as in this case they could be quietly bent leaving no one the wiser, surely that’s the sensible option?

    I’d have thought so too but British offialdom seems intent on soft targets.Remember the recent case of the Indian muslim abused wife who was deported despite all the appeals on her behalf? It’s a shame.

    >>Heck if we let in women only coz’ of domestic abuse then we will have half the world’s women here.

    It’d be interesting to know just how many single women, with kids in tow, turn up requesting asylum.

  12. Miss Hawahawai — on 1st September, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    If they were animals they’d be plump and getting a daily arse polish by now, but they’re not.

  13. do do — on 2nd September, 2006 at 3:50 am  

    there are only abput 100 million people in africa who are disabled can they please come here ?

  14. do do — on 2nd September, 2006 at 3:53 am  

    also 50 million abused women in pakistan who are disabled can they come and stay here..also what about the millions in europe ? can they all come here ?
    why why not ???????????????

  15. Bert Preast — on 2nd September, 2006 at 11:58 am  

    Mirax wrote: “It’d be interesting to know just how many single women, with kids in tow, turn up requesting asylum.”

    Not many at all, I’d wager. And I think in the case of those that do, most people feel they are far more deserving of a place than some young hothead who’s politics have got him into trouble with the powers that be in his own land.

  16. Bert Preast — on 2nd September, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    do do - Maybe they can come here. But first they have to want to, and second they have to get here. That tends to trim the numbers a little.

  17. Richard — on 2nd September, 2006 at 12:39 pm  

    I was at a picket for Samina’s campaign outside Hazel Blear’s office. I got talking to another asylum seeker from Pakistan who had also fled due to abuse from her husband. She said to me (i paraphrasing) “do you realy i came here for any other reason than to flee domestic violence. I had a good job in Pakistan and a high standard of living. here i’m in a council house and can’t work. I wouldn’t have come here unless i was realy desperate”. Sums it up realy !

  18. Chairwoman — on 2nd September, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    Miss hawahawaii - What’s a daily arse polish? Should my dog be having one?

  19. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 2nd September, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    Can someone please explain to me why asylum seekers arent allowed to work? I dont know exactly how it works out in the states but if you are trying to change you immigration status before you recieve your residency they put you to work. Why is it different in other countries? I dont understand how you can have people come into the country and not allow them to work.

  20. do do — on 2nd September, 2006 at 8:01 pm  

    okay as people seen so upset about this poor lady.
    let her stay.
    q: how did she get here?
    all the starving millions on africa want to come here !
    let them.
    millions want to come here, let them..
    “it will be stanging room only!”
    maybe when the whole nhs welfare system colapes and no money for any one then and only them we might say
    oh botther should have had a imagration system..?

  21. Bert Preast — on 2nd September, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    do do - Fair comment, but until we are innundated with disabled women and children seeking asylum I can’t see why the rules cannot be bent to accommodate them. We’re a democracy, and I suspect that the majority of people if it were put to the vote would let them stay.

  22. Miss Hawahawai — on 4th September, 2006 at 6:13 pm  

    For the attention of Chairwoman

    WARNING: ‘Arse polish’ should NOT be taken literally when animals are concerned. It is a phase used to depict ‘being pampered’

    However a human arse polish is great!!!

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