Sunday 20-03-2016 - 14:35
Students and politicians stand up for student at risk of deportation
Students and politicians have come to defence of a Glasgow student, Lord Elias Mensah Apetsi, who has been detained by the Home Office and faces deportation on Tuesday 22nd March. It is understood that the decision by the Home Office is due to human error, not of Lord’s making, which saw a fresh application for Leave to Remain not submitted on time. Lord has previously won an appeal against the Home Office, and has suffered trauma as a result of the difficulties and treatment he has faced.
Lord has been studying for a Master’s Degree in Counselling at the University of Strathclyde. During his time at Strathclyde, Lord has been voted ‘Student of the Year’, and this weekend was elected Asylum and Refugee Officer on NUS Scotland’s executive committee, an election that happened in his absence as he was being held in a detention centre. During all this, Lord has been caring for two young children, his son and stepson.
NUS Scotland and politicians are calling on the UK Government to step in and halt Lord’s deportation. Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, which includes the University of Strathclyde, has written to the Home Office seeking urgent answers on the case. Students will tomorrow (Monday) be staging demonstrations at the Scotland Office, in Edinburgh, from 3.00pm, and the Home Office, in London, from 1.00pm.
Commenting on the case, Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“We’re deeply concerned for Lord’s wellbeing if he is forcibly deported. This case reveals the shocking and degrading inadequacies of our asylum and immigration system, and is sadly far from an isolated example. Lord is just one of countless people who are let down every year by a system that should to protect them, but instead condemns them to inhumane treatment and an uncertain future.
“This case has affected Lord immensely, as well as his young sons and the many others who are proud to call him a friend. Everyone who speaks about Lord does so of a warm, caring and intelligent man, who has given so much to his university and community. In return he has expected nothing except a safe place to study in and call home. He has done huge amounts during his time in Glasgow, always for others, and we should welcome him in, not force him out, recognising he has much more to give.
“NUS Scotland, Lord's friends, and politicians have all come together in his defence. We recognise that nobody deserves the kind of treatment he has received in this country. That’s even more true when he has given so much and has much more to offer, including as a father. As a parent, on behalf of a parent, I hope the UK Government recognises that, halts Lord’s deportation, and provides him with the status and compassion he deserves, rather than the contempt and disregard he’s facing.”
SNP MP Alison Thewliss said:
“Strathclyde University welcomes students from all around the world; they are valued, they make a contribution. This UK government is completely out of line in attempting to remove Lord Apetsi, a student who has proven that he is part of our city through his involvement in the NUS.
“It is wrong that his life can be turned upside down, that he can be separated from his children, and taken for removal. I urge the Home Office to reverse their decision and return Lord immediately to his family and friends in Glasgow.”