Groups mobilise to halt deportation of Christian asylum seeker

Anselme Noumbiwa

Anselme Noumbiwa

Anselme Noumbiwa could be  deported from Britain on Wednesday, but  supporters  of the asylum seeker from Camaroon are campaigning hard to stop it  happening. Many  people – including members of church groups - have signed an  online  petition in support of Anselme, asking the Home Office to stop his  removal  and he has over 400 supporters on the social networking site  Twitter. 

He left his native country in 2006 after refusing to  become a tribal chief upon the death of his father. Anselme particularly  rejected ‘marrying’  all the former wives of his father, which went along with  the role of chief.

A Catholic, he felt such a polygamous practice conflicted  with his Christian principles. Fearing that another man could not be chosen as  chief until he was dead, he fled to the UK and has been based in the Tees Valley in the North of England for nearly  four years. His application for asylum has been refused and the  UK’s Immigration Services  reject his account of his experiences despite compelling evidence in the form of  a newspaper account of his ordeal in L'Effort Camerounais, the respected  newspaper of the Catholic  Bishop's Conference in Cameroon. He has  also produced a medico-legal report,  commissioned by Justice First, a local  asylum support group, documenting  his trauma and scars on his body consistent  with torture.

Anselme attends the Catholic parish of the Sacred Heart in  Middlesbrough,  which has a large congregation  of refugees and asylum seekers. He lives with the family of a Baptist Minister  and is active in the local Stockton-on-Tees  community. His many friends and supporters are outraged at the unjust and  inhumane manner in which Home Office officials have treated him. The Anglican  bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, supports Anselme. As  deportation loomed in 2009, the bishop said: “I have followed the case of  Anselme Noumbiwa for a long time now and have been appalled at the way it has  been handled by the Home Office”.
The online petition to stop deportation on  21 April is available at:
Letters supporting Anselme can be sent  to:  Rt Hon Alan Johnson, MP , Secretary of State for the  Home Office, The Home Office 2 Marsham St London SW1 4DF. Fax: 020  8760 3132

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