Ivorian political activist withdrawn from deportation flight thanks to Salford charity

A political activist from the Ivory Coast seeking refuge in Greater Manchester will remain in the UK whilst further evidence is considered, following a campaign by a Salford-based charity.

Kouame – whose full name and age can not be disclosed – fled to the UK in 2014 because of threats to his life in the Ivory Coast. Living in Manchester, he was rejected by the asylum system and faced forced removal from the UK to the Ivory Coast last week.

But due to the ‘Keep Kouame Safe in the UK’ campaign, organised by the Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research (RAPAR), the flight was cancelled just hours before it was due to depart after additional evidence was provided to the Home Office.

“Until Kouame’s solicitor was notified, we had to assume the fight was going ahead, so we were still campaigning and asking people to contact the airlines. It was very last minute but we managed to do it,” said a spokesperson for RAPAR.

“We were fortunate that we got a really good solicitor that worked round the clock to make sure the submissions went to the Home Office,” they added.

RAPAR’s campaign saw hundreds of emails and letters sent by Greater Manchester locals to the Home Office, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and local MPs, requesting that the flight to the Ivory Coast was cancelled.

Ultimately legal action prevented the flight from going ahead but RAPAR said they were certain the decision by the home office to cancel the flight was influenced by the high volume of emails and letters that were sent.

RAPAR added: “We are really very grateful to all the other groups that helped, and I think it’s testimony to the fact that Kouame does engage a lot [with refugee charities in Manchester]…it was great that people all worked together and it was very effective.”

Kouame remains in a detention centre in London, where his solicitor is arranging for him to be released pending a review of further evidence.

RAPAR has requested that members of the public refrain from further action whilst this review takes place. You can keep up to date with Kouame’s case on RAPAR’s website and Twitter page.

Quays News has contacted the Home Office for a comment.

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