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Rape victim's Home Office plea

FLAVIAH: Hoping to see her children again

A RWANDAN rape victim is hoping that a new Government policy will help reunite her with her children.

London-based Titti Flaviah who founded the Mothers Campaign of the All African Women’s Group has been battling to be reunited with her three children after successfully attaining refugee status.

Flavia was forced to flee to the UK in 2002 after being raped and her husband killed by Rwandan soldiers. Her children, now aged 15, 18 and 20, were left behind.

She told The Voice “They have been left without my care and protection, and we have all suffered terrible hardship. It was only holding onto the hope that one day we will be together that has kept me alive. Denying us and other families like us the right to family reunion would break our hearts.”

But now she believes that there may be a chance of seeing her children again after a recent Government decision to hold a public consultation on family reunion policies for immigrants.

The Home Office announced plans to “consult on the family route shortly and look at what requirements we should place on foreign nationals who wish to establish a family life in the UK."

However, while Flavia welcomed news of new Home Office policy, she said “The Government's review of family reunion must address the injustices mothers and children are suffering and make sure that our right to family life is protected.”

She added: “Cuts in legal aid and other restrictions on the right to family reunion are already making it too hard for children and mothers to be together. I suffered rape, my husband was taken and killed, and I had no choice but to flee without my children because they would be safer without me. We have suffered five heartbreaking years of separation needlessly because UKBA never dealt with my asylum claim.  Instead, I was eventually given status last year under the “legacy" programme but this did not give us the right to automatic family reunion.  I fought on and finally won full refugee status this April but by then two of my children had turned 18 so are no longer automatically entitled to join me so we are still fighting to be together.”

Her campaign is being supported by Black Women’s Rape Action Project, who told The Voice: “This government claims to care for families yet untold numbers of children and mothers are being separated, often for years, because of unjust asylum laws.”

She said “Evidence of racism from immigration caseworkers, officials and even judges is becoming known due to the courage of whistleblowers. People of colour are more likely to be labelled liars bogus and denied our right to be reunited with our children. Any review of the right to family life must redress this discrimination and injustice.”

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