the friend online
27 April 2007

Forced migrants - preview

Spare rooms for those forced to migrate to the UK

John Okello is fifty-eight, an Acholi from Northern Uganda
  • He was a well known TV journalist
  • In 1997 he was detained by the military while on an assignment in Northern Uganda
  • He was held for three nights in a barracks and beaten up
  • On release he was told never to return to the area, which is his homeland
  • He was then told by a friend that his home in Kampala had been raided, tapes and videos had been taken and the place trashed
  • John faces probable arrest if he is returned to Uganda on suspicion of sedition for his strong anti-Museveni views and his belief that some of the atrocities in Northern Uganda ascribed to the Lord's Resistance Army were committed by the Ugandan Army
  • As he was badly represented for his initial application for asylum and his appeal against refusal, he has had to make a fresh application
  • The Home Office failed to acknowledge this for over two and a half years
  • Until they do he is not entitled to even the seventy per cent of income support that the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) provides
  • His first solicitor did not apply for permission to work for him so he can't
  • Spare Room have enabled him to survive by offering a room of his own and enabled him to successfully complete high level computer courses and Access to Business Studies at Walthamstow College
  • In 2006 he received offers from five different universities: Queen Mary, University of London are keeping a place open for him for 2007/8

  • Chris Gwyntopher

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