Friday, 27 June 2014


Today, I want to write about Naome, a friend of the community I live in. Naome is a passionate activist for asylum seekers, she is also a 60year old grandmother and devoted Christian who has lived in the UK for 13 years. Her family;daughter and her grandchildren are British Citizens and Naome provided crucial support to her family, enabling her daughter to work and provide for her children.

Last Friday she went for her usual appointment, was given a refusal letter, detained and transferred to Yarlswood - yes, that Yarlswood that's featured so heavily in the papers because of abuses perpetuated by the staff. She was not allowed to pack any of her belongings or say goodbye to her family, friends, community, church. Naome was informed she would be sent back to Zimbabwe today, Friday 27th June at 8pm. She has been treated like a criminal, she is not, she has been in this country lawfully seeking asylum, she has created a life, contributed to the community she lives in. Suddenly, she is swept up, ripped from her life and told she is being sent back to country she fled from.

Naome is being denied her basic human right to family, a right every single person has, however because her familial relationship is grandparent it is deemed not, well, family enough. Her role as Grandmother has been dismissed, the child care duties, dismissed, her grand children's rights to their grandmother dismissed. Why? Because Article 8, while protecting rights to family also talks of proportionate;

judges decide if the disruption of your life is 'proportionate' to the interests of maintaining immigration control---we are saying that picking on grans is not proportionate, it is not fair and it is not in the best interest on the country

Jennifer, activist for asylum seekers.

Naome has not being given sufficient time to challenge the removal notice, to seek counsel from her lawyers.

It heartens me the surge of community this has caused; Naome's community, her friends and loved ones are protesting, feverishly writing letters, sending emails, making calls, posting selfies on facebook, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest in a bid to get her flight cancelled.

You can help too, use the templates below to send emails and faxes, add your own selfie holding a sign telling all why your grans matter - use the hashtag #allgransmatter

Rt Hon Theresa May MP,

Re: Naome Kakunguwo HO Ref k1108941/5

I have been informed that Human Rights campaigner at Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (MaMa) Naome Kakunguwo has been detained and fears her removal on Friday 27th. I would urge you to reconsider her deportation to Zimbabwe.

The consideration of her article 8 rights in the refusal of her asylum claim is that there is a lack of family life with her daughter and grandchildren. She is trying to be the grandmother her culture has taught her to be, and provide essential emotional and practical support to her London-based family. The claim that her refusal is proportionate to national interests is deeply disrespectful, considering the great role grandmothers are accepted to play in family life even in the UK, and the notion of denying someone this important relationship would be seen as completely unacceptable if it were to happen to a British family.

Having lived in the UK for nearly 13 years now, she has not only established her family life but also her private life within her community as an activist, volunteer and practicing Christian.

I am particularly shocked that the Home Office made the decision to detain Naome and serve her with her refusal letter at the same time, denying her due process, consultation with her legal representatives. Removing her from her life, especially at such short notice, will have serious implications for her mental health.

I would urge you to reconsider your judgement, to cancel removal directions and to give Naome the chance to prove that she is entitled to her right to family and private life under Art.8.

Yours sincerely,




Fax number: 020 7219 1145



We have a facebook group called #allgransmatter please join, and let's make a difference. Tell the Home Office that all grans matter, that Naome matters!

The facebook group also has contact details for the Kenyan High Commission, Kenyan Airlines, Equality Minister, Women's Minister, and more templates. I urge you to join now and help as much as you can, we only have till 8pm.

Prayers, lit candles, positive vibes all welcome too.


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