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Friday, August 05, 2005

UK: New law 'to split' refugee family

From the Guardian:

A mother who claims she fled persecution in Africa but has been denied asylum in Britain may be parted from five of her six children on Friday when the Home Office withdraws her benefits.

Ngiedi Lusukumu, who escaped from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2001, is among the first asylum seekers to be caught by tough new immigration legislation introduced late last year.

In a letter which mistakenly suggests that she is from Somalia rather than the DRC, the national asylum support service (Nass) orders her to leave her council house in Bolton, Greater Manchester, on Friday when it will stop paying rent to the local council.

Other cash benefits will also be withdrawn, leaving her destitute and homeless. Bolton council could be forced to take five of her children - including a seven-month-old baby - into care. But it would have no legal responsibility to help Ms Lusukumu, now on medication for depression, or her 18-year-old daughter Flores.

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