Charles Atangana a national of Cameroon and resident of Glasgow, is currently in Colnbrook IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 on Tuesday 29th June 2010 at 20:00 to Nairobi and then KQ524 to Yaounde in Cameroon
Charles arrived in the UK in May 2004. He has been in the UK for over 6 years. During this time Charles has played a significant role in the local community both as a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau in Parkhead but also as an active member of the National Union of Journalists and a activist with the Maryhill Integration Network.
This will be the second attempt to deport Charles a previous attempt in July 2007 failed after a last minute intervention by his legal team.
His original asylum application was refused he submitted fresh representations in December 2008 and the same month had his support stopped. Since then he has had to survive on the support of friends and supporters. 17 months after he had submitted his fresh representations he was given a refusal letter.
A professional journalist and an active member of the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (CJTU/SNJC) Charles had been arrested by the Cameroonian authorities after he wrote several articles critical of them. In detention for forty days he was stripped naked and beaten. In Cameroon his wife has also been detained, stripped and beaten and shown an arrest warrant for Charles.
After 28 years of the Biya dictatorship, Cameroon faces potential instability in the run up to the presidential elections scheduled for late 2011. Constitutional and legal uncertainty; rivalries between the regime’s leading figures; the government’s attempts to control the electoral process; the rupture of the political contract between leaders and the population; widespread poverty and frustration; extensive corruption; and the frustration of a large part of the army all point to the possibility of a major crisis. [International Crisis Group 24/06/10]
US state Department Background Note from Febraury 5 2010 notes that
“Cameroon has a number of private newspapers, radio stations, and private television stations. Censorship was officially abolished in 1996, but the government has on occasion seized or suspended newspapers, radio stations, and television stations.
In recent years the harassment and arrests of journalists in Cameroon has increased. In February 2008, the government closed Magic FM radio, a Voice of America (VOA) affiliate, and confiscated its equipment, which included VOA transmission equipment, and shuttered Equinoxe Radio and Television after the three media outlets carried controversial reports and critical commentaries about Biya’s regime. In September 2009, the government shut down the Yaounde-based Sky One FM Radio station after the station refused to stop broadcasting its most popular program, Le Tribunal, which allowed listeners to air grievances and seek assistance in redressing outstanding issues with government entities. Journalists have been fired from their jobs allegedly for openly discussing the change of the constitution and criticizing the government. The government also banned a popular song on the radio about constitutional change.
Despite strong civil rights on the books, the government recurrently infringes upon rights and liberties in practice. Discrimination against women, homosexuals and indigenous peoples is pervasive. Criticism of the president, ranking officials or the government at large continues to be met by harassment and physical force by the government. Similarly, the rights to assemble and of association are often curtailed according to ideology and political alignment. The public’s ability to seek recourse from the courts remains minimal due to insufficient resources and physical access, and corruption. Government prisons are plagued by overcrowding, poor sanitation, and corruption by security forces. Reports of torture, excessive force, unlawful arrests and detention, and unlawful killings by police and security forces remain widespread. Forced labor and human trafficking are also chronic problems.”
Cameroon is listed 26th in this years failed states index: A failed state is A state having little or no governance, endemic corruption, profiteering by ruling elites, very poor Human Rights, the government cannot/will not protect the population from others or itself, massive internal conflict, forced internal/external displacement, institutionalised political exclusion of significant numbers of the population, progressive deterioration of welfare infrastructure (hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses) not adequate to meet health, needs, progressive economic decline of the country as a whole as measured by per capita income, debt, severe child mortality rates, poverty levels.
Friend in Glasgow and Glasgow NUJ are campaigning to keep Charles in the UK
What you can do to help / take urgent action NOW!
1. Email, fax and phone, Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways. Urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Charles Atangana, and to consider the airline’s reputation. A model letter letter CharlesAtanganKA.doc is attached. You can copy, amend or write your own version – if you do please quote ‘Charles Atangana due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 on Tuesday 29th June 2010 at 20:00 to Nairobi and then KQ524 to Yaounde in Cameroon.’
Put as much pressure on this airline as you can, to make them consider if it’s worth the hassle to continue as one of UKBA’s deportation airlines.
Fax: 020 8745 5027 (Or from outside the UK + 44 20 8745 5027)
Phone: 020 8759 7366 (Or from outside the UK + 44 20 8759 7366)
2) Email/Fax, Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Charles Atangana, be granted protection in the UK. Please use the attached model letter, CharlesAtanganaTM.doc. which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include his HO ref : A12277296
Fax: 020 8760 3132(00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)