“Dig My Own Grave” – Saving Lives or Protecting Borders – video
Documentary film about Roseline Akhalu by Marishka Van Steenbergen and Joe Bream of Humbledinger Productions.
“An arm of the government has done everything to save my life, then the second arm wants to take it away just like that.”
On 29 November Roseline Akhalu won her appeal against the UK Border Agency’s rejection of her claim for leave to remain at the immigration tribunal in Bradford. However, despite accepting that Rose would die if she were returned to Nigeria, on 25 May 2013 the Home Office decided to lodge an appeal against the decision of the Immigration Tribunal to allow Akhalu the right to remain in the United Kingdom. Rose’s appeal is due to be heard by the Upper Tier on 16 July 2013.
Rose, a Nigerian university graduate, came to the UK in 2004 on a Ford Foundation scholarship to do an MA in Development Studies at Leeds University. Seven months into her studies she was diagnosed with kidney failure and began over four years of treatment.
In 2009, she had a successful kidney transplant but needs immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life, something she could not afford if she is sent back to Nigeria.
Dr Simon Parker, co-founder of Refugee Action York and the campaign group End Child Detention Now, said:
“Roseline has faced her illness and the terrible uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds with such dignity and fortitude. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live with a potential death sentence hanging over you. The least we can do is to campaign to end the brutal persecution of this much loved and valued member of our community, not just for the sake of Roseline but for the values of humanity and compassion that underpin any civilised society”.
Rose, a 49 year old widow, has no family or friends in Nigeria who can support her and fears she will die if she loses her appeal. Director of Madill Parker Research and Consulting and campaigner Esme Madill said:
“The Home Office accepts that to return Rose to Nigeria would lead to her death within 4 weeks. However, in spite of her poor health and the constant threat of deportation Rose has, in her own quiet and determined way, contributed to the lives of all those who have come into contact with her: from the elderly in her parish through to the young mothers living in exile who benefit from her support.
Rose’s friends, over a year ago, asked me to help them stop her being returned to her death. It has been a privilege to get to know Rose and to see the love and affection her friends have for her. I find it shameful and inexplicable that our government should seek to deport someone to their death, someone who has contributed so much to the lives of so many, and whose only wish is to be allowed to live in peace with those who love her, while she works tirelessly to help others in need.”
To find out more go to the campaign website.
You can also see a news film published in the Guardian in February 2013.