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Found this on breastfeedinguk via someone on my Twitter flist. The summary is that an 18-year-old Ugandan woman in the UK was thrown out of her housing, 9 months pregant and with a one-year-old daughter. She was taken to the hospital, gave birth to a son, and the family was put into two-week temporary housing. On the third week, Social Services took both of her children and put them in foster care and sent the mother to an immigration detention facility and told her she would be deported because her asylum claim had been closed.

A group called the Black Women's Rape Action Project based in London appears to be taking the lead on this. The full mailing from them is behind the cut, and it includes contact information for the various agencies involved.

URGENT: Ms Janipher Maseko Room 211A
Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre

We ask you to urgently act to help reunite Ms Maseko, a young Ugandan mother aged 18 years, who has been detained in Yarl's Wood since last Tues 9 May with her two babies – her new born son (three weeks old) whom she was exclusively breastfeeding and her one year-old daughter - both children have been brutally taken from her and placed in foster care.

Ms Maseko contacted us by fax (attached). When we called back she told us she had been found on the streets just over three weeks ago by the police as she had been thrown out of her accommodation despite being heavily pregnant and having a one year old child. She was taken to Hillingdon Hospital and gave birth to her son. When she told the hospital she had nowhere to live, Uxbridge Social Services put her and her children into accommodation for two weeks. On the third week they took her son whom she was breastfeeding and her one-year-old daughter, and placed them both in foster care. Despite being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they told her she was being sent to Yarl's Wood and would be removed to Uganda without her children because her asylum claim had been closed.

Ms Maseko is extremely distraught and desperate for her children. Her breasts are full of milk and she is in constant pain. Her children need to be urgently reunited with their mother. They must also be terrified and desperate for her. One has been forcibly taken from his food supply.

Brief background to Ms Maseko's asylum claim:

Ms Maseko’s mother died when she was thirteen and having no siblings she became a domestic worker in order to survive. The husband of the woman who employed her raped Ms Maseko when his wife was out of the house. Ms Maseko reported it to her employer who refused to believe her. Both husband and his wife beat Ms Maseko badly. Aged 14 years, she fled Uganda to Britain with the help of an agent. Two years ago she developed a relationship with a boy she met at college, who left her when she became pregnant. Her daughter was born in March 2006. She became pregnant again following a second relationship.

Ms Maseko turned 18 in February 2007, which means she is longer treated as an unaccompanied minor. Because of her great distress it has not been possible to get more details. No removal directions have been set. We are urgently trying to get her a solicitor.

Ms Maseko is the best person to meet the needs of her two babies who depend on her.

Please send a fax or email immediately, followed by a phone call, to the people below demanding that Ms Maseko be released and reunited her with her children, and that they receive the accommodation and support they need and are entitled to. Please stress the need for the infant to receive breast milk immediately, that Ms Maseko must be able to express her milk and it be taken to her son so that he is not deprived of this essential food, the harm to Ms Maseko's immediate health as a result of being unable to breastfeed, and the damage being done to the children by this separation at such a young age.

Victoria Jones, Director Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, Twinwoods Road, Clapham, Bedsfordshire, MK41 6HL Fax: 01234 821152

Liam Byrne MP, Minister for State for Nationality, Citizenship & Immigration Home Office, 3rd Floor, Peel Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF Fax: 0207 035 4745

John Randall, MP for Uxbridge randallj@parliament.uk Tel: 0207 219 6885 Fax: 01895 904914

Dugald Millar, Quality Standards Manager, London Borough of Hillingdon, dmillar@hillingdon.gov.ukTel : 01895 277261

Thank you,

Cristel Amiss
Black Women's Rape Action Project, 230a Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2AB
Tel: 020 7482 2496 or 07980 659 831
Send copies of any letters to bwrap@dircon.co.uk or fax to 020 7209 4761.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 19th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
lord have mercy what's wrong with people.
May. 20th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
Ye gods. Done. Posting this to worldfeminism as well.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )