Disabled human rights campaigner Manjeet Kaur, who appeared for RAPAR on national television news to counter anti-migrant statements by Theresa May during the Conservative Party Conference last autumn, has lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Manjeet, who is Chair of RAPAR, is challenging a High Court decision to turn down her application for a judicial review of the asylum tribunal’s dismissal of her asylum appeal. Both the refusal of her asylum claim and the subsequent decision to reject her appeal were strongly influenced by the fact that her husband Amitt, an Indian journalist who disappeared in 2011 after being threatened because of his investigations into human rights abuses in Kashmir, had been given a visa to enter the UK.
This concentration on her husband meant that the refusals did not address the core features of Manjeet’s own case: namely her nationality; her direct experience of harm - including physical assault and the threat of rape and murder -and the practical problems of being wheelchair bound in India.
Both the asylum tribunal judge and the High Court concluded that Amitt's plans to travel to the UK showed that he felt safe enough to come out of hiding and this therefore undermined Manjeet's asylum claim.
It was only on the morning of Manjeet's case at the tribunal in April this year that the Home Office notified Manjeet about Amitt's visa for travel to the UK. No further information was available at the time and it was assumed by the court that the visa application meant Amitt felt safer than he had done previously. But, in fact, when he arrived in the UK later that month, he immediately claimed asylum at the airport.
Manjeet's lawyer, Gary McIndoe of Latitude Law, says: “Our view is that the appeal process was essentially hijacked by disclosure of Amitt's visit visa application on 2 April, and successive judges have failed to address the core issues of the case - Manjeet's nationality, the harm she suffered in the past and the practicality of removing her to India.”
A RAPAR spokesperson adds: “Manjeet is fighting a female version of David’s battle with Goliath. Since her husband’s disappearance she has been forced to learn everything about how to survive as a lone, wheelchair bound, woman. It is intensely ironic that the survival of her husband after all this time is now being interpreted by the State as a reason to return her to the danger from which they have both been forced to hide or flee.”