Thursday, August 14, 2014

Defend Orashia Campaign Launched to Stop Removal from the UK by Home Office

In a follow up to a case I carried here in January of this year of a bisexual man who is Jamaican but is facing a possibility of being removed from the UK even after some ten years residing in that country is in fear of retribution if he is returned as the case has gotten some major press as of late. At one point he was made out to be a liar in a bid to get his stay in the UK and the authorities seem to also have bought into the line as well as he is not effeminate or "camp" as some other successful applicants are and are judged by.

A Facebook campaign has been launched entitled Defend Orashia led by No Border Leeds who have managed to convince persons as to the veracity of the story (including me) they have been on an aggressive public education drive since the matter broke.

Their latest post alongside their petition reads as follows(Aug 1):

"It's likely that the Home Office will try once again to issue removal directions shortly so please be ready to contact the airline.

In the meantime, check for how you can support & join our bloc at Leeds Pride tomorrow.
Press release-
Orashia's campaign gets support from Leeds Pride
Legal challenge continues as Orashia remains in detention

Leeds Pride Sunday 3rd August 12pm Millennium Square

The ongoing campaign by Orashia Edwards, a Jamaican bisexual fighting for asylum in Leeds, will be mentioned at the keynote speech during Pride tomorrow. Family and friends will march together to highlight the case of Orashia, who's currently in detention for the 3rd time this year. The march will also call for a complete review on how lgbti asylum seekers are processed as it is incredibly intrusive and currently 98% of people are denied asylum.

Orashia is currently in Colnbrook detention centre where his mental health has deteriorated dramatically but he cannot access the care he needs due to conditions there. Due to an intervention by his solicitor, he was able to see a psychiatrist who reported 'acute mental distress'. Obviously this condition cannot improve until he is released and campaigners will continue to focus on this.

His application for bail was denied on Friday 1st August as the Home Office hope to try and issue removal directions shortly. However Orashia's legal team will keep on fighting until he receives the protection he needs. Both a Judicial Review and a new bail application will be applied for on Monday."


Orashia Edwards, pictured left

The Petition can be seen and signed HERE

The Group says:

If he is forcibly removed by the Home Office, his life is in severe danger in Jamaica. All is family are settled in the UK and he would be completely isolated and in hiding. His case has gained mass media attention and support in the past months and he has become well known both here in the UK and in Jamaica. This means that the danger his life is in, because of his sexuality, has increased and he was recently victim to a homophobic attack here in Leeds where he lives. This cannot be tolerated and if the British government and the Home Office say they stand for human rights and equality then they need to release Orashia from detention now.

In 2013 a Home Office spokesman said: ”We have changed our guidance to ensure that we do not remove individuals who have demonstrated a proven risk of persecution on grounds of sexual orientation.'' ( Why is this then happening to people like Orashia?

Orashia is an amazing person who has the ability to shine so much more than he has been given a chance to here in Britain. He is a faithful friend and does what he can to help and support others going through similar issues to him. He has a close family, many friends and is involved in various groups and organisations around Leeds. His situation has meant that life is a daily unknown battle for himself, his family, especially his mother who works overtime on order to support him, and those closest to him. Please sign this petition and demand Orashia be given a fair chance at a real life now and not be punished for his sexuality.

You can watch a short documentary about Orashia's story called State of Limbo here:

Another documentary called Judgement Day about Orashia's court hearing on 30th June can be watched here:


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