My wife and daughter and I are asylum seekers from Sri Lanka. We
are Tamil. One day soldiers arrived and took my 26-year old
daughter Anutha and me to two different detention camps. Anutha has
severe learning difficulties, yet they tortured her and held her
for almost 25 days. Then they brought her back and just dumped her
until some townspeople found her and told my wife.
We don’t exactly know what happened to her as she can’t express
anything, but when she came home she had scars and so many
problems. I was also tortured with hot oil – I still have to wear a
Later, I escaped when someone exploded a grenade and in the smoke I
ran and ran. We knew they would look for us so we decided to get
out of the country. My cousin is a businessman, and he phoned for a
lorry to take us. It was a very bad experience travelling with
goods in a lorry with a disabled daughter with diabetes.
We managed to get a flight to this country and arrived in Hounslow
last year. We were moved to Lambeth, where Mencap and social
services were looking after Anutha and she became very happy. They
arranged for her to go to a day centre and a dance class, and she
went on holiday. This gave my wife and I the time to learn English,
and I worked as a volunteer. The mayor of London Ken Livingstone
presented me with a certificate for my community work.
But then the National Asylum Support Service (Nass) gave us two
days’ notice that we were being dispersed to Liverpool. I tried to
explain about my daughter and gave them letters from our MP and
others, but they did not listen. In Liverpool we contacted social
services about doing something for Anutha, but each time they said
“next week, next week”. They did take us to one day centre for
severe learning difficulties where people were all lying on beds,
but the lady told us this was not suitable for Anutha.
After five months in Liverpool we are suffering. Anutha has been
indoors most of the time and she bangs her head against the wall;
at night she screams. Life has been very tough, especially for my
wife. I do some work as a volunteer with people with learning
difficulties. We take them to a drama club, but I cannot afford the
fee for Anutha to go as we are on income support. I am 58 years
old, so I could work and use my experience to help disabled people,
but I am only allowed to be a volunteer.
Six months ago our case went before the courts and the judge said
that we should get leave to remain because of our daughter’s
problems. But the Home Office said because of their new policy the
answer was no, so now we are waiting for the appeal to be heard.
My wife and I are not worried about our lives – God gave us a
daughter with learning difficulties and we must look after her
well. But we need some help to do it. So we would like Nass and
social services to listen to us.