First, the good news – Josephine Komeh’s deportation was canceled on Tuesday, the day before she was due to be sent back to Sierra Leone. That’s tremendous news. And it’s possible that all of you who signed and shared the petition helped make it happen.
This week the fight by asylum seekers, women detainees in Yarl’s Wood detention centre, refugees and supporters organised by the Movement for Justice, and the determination and leadership of Josephine Komeh and Mariama N themselves stopped the deportation of both these courageous women. Josephine & Mariama with other Movement for Justice women in Yarl’s Wood organised their own petition campaigns inside the detention centre in co-ordination with the petitioning, demonstrating, calls and e-mails to the Home Office and the airlines and the online publicity organised outside.
Josephine Komeh was trained to follow her grandmother and mother as the ‘cutter’ carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) in their community in Sierra Leone, but she refused to continue the brutal practice and to stood up against the threats from traditional elders. She was brutally tortured and escaped to join her son & daughter in Britain where she claimed asylum. Josephine resisted one attempt to deport her on 5 June and won the time to build her support, gather more evidence and get new legal representation. The attempt to deport her this week was an outrageous attempt by the Home Office to get rid of her before her ‘Fresh Claim’ could be submitted. It failed: on Tuesday afternoon her removal was canceled.