Wednesday, 17 September 2008

No one is Illegal

I attended a demonstration today outside the UK Border Agency Offices on Newport Road in Cardiff. It was called in response to the detention and threat of imminent deportation of Babakhan (Babi) Badalov to Azerbaijan. Babi is a radical artist who has spoken out against his government. He has been persecuted for this, and because he is gay. He faces a threat of honour killing from his own family because this homosexuality is considered unacceptable in Azerbaijan.

The UK has obligations under international law to protect people who are fleeing persecution. Babi has made many friends in Cardiff and his mental state is fragile. He and his friends are genuinely petrified that he will be killed if he is returned.

A fresh asylum claim is pending after his solicitor uncovered new evidence relating to his violent history and mental state. We are hoping to be able to stop his deportation so that this new evidence can be put.

Do the UK Border Agency Officers remember Ama Sumani? Do they care?


Chris Cope said...

What does that mean: "No one is illegal"

It's got a sort of tag line ring to it -- it looks good on a banner. And as a foreign national living in Cardiff and hoping to stay I can't help but find it to be an appealing phrase. But what does that actually mean? Are you suggesting that no citizenship/residency laws should exist?

Luther said...

Hi Chris
I think 'no one is ilegal' can be interpreted different ways by different people. Personally, I believe that migration controls should not exist, but the slogan doesn't have to imply that (for more on my views you can read about them on this site:
More generally the slogan's a reaction to the increasing use of the word 'illegal' to describe people... see the Sun and the Daily Mail every day referring to migrants as 'illegals' as if the person him or herself were somehow illegal.
This is an impossibility of course, and it's a tactic the right and the right-wing press have used to dehumanise those coming to this country to seek a better and safer life.

Leanne Wood said...

What people do can be illegal, but a person can't be illegal. I agree with Luther's comments above re: tabloid dehumanisation.