Playwright Lydia Besong wins asylum seeker status
Published: 17th May 2012 07:44:42
A Cameroonian playwright and her husband, who hours away from deportation from the UK, have won the right to political asylum.
Lydia Besong and husband Bernard, who live in Bury, Greater Manchester, were granted a judicial review in January as they were due to be deported.
The UK Border Agency said it was disappointed that an asylum tribunal had ruled in the couple's favour.
The Cameroon High Commission said the country respected human rights.
"The tribunal has recognised that Lydia and Bernard's political and cultural activities will place them at risk if they are returned to Cameroon," said their solicitor Gary McIndoe.
"This is a deeply important victory for everyone interested in ensuring the safety of our refugees," he added.
The couple, who came to the UK in 2006, argued they would be tortured and beaten if they were returned to Cameroon.
Their high-profile supporters included actor Juliet Stevenson, author Nick Hornby and playwright Alan Ayckbourn.
The couple, who were released from Yarl's Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire in January, had been due to be put on a flight to Cameroon.
They belong to the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), an organisation campaigning for the rights of the country's minority English-speaking population in the largely French-speaking African state.
The group is illegal because it advocates secession for two English-speaking provinces.
Mrs Besong who was an English lecturer in Cameroon, has written plays in the UK including How I Became An Asylum Seeker and Down With The Dictator, which was performed recently in Manchester.
Nkwelle Ekaney, the Cameroon High Commissioner for the UK, rejected the couple's claims.
"After a series of meticulous investigations, the Home Office came to the conclusion that over the years, Cameroonian asylum seekers had been taking advantage of the leniency of the system to use human rights abuse as the most expedient and guaranteed method to acquire asylum status in the United Kingdom," he said.
"Cameroon is a country that respects human rights and the rule of law and also adheres to relevant treaties and international conventions that respect the integrity and dignity of the human person," he said.
At 06:56:48 in SportManchester United's record signing Juan Mata has revealed new manager Louis van Gaal has told his players they must communicate in English.
At 05:42:37 in HeadlinesHousing issues are reported in several of Saturday's papers.
At 04:22:44 in EnglandMiles of the Broads waterways are now available to explore online thanks to a pedal powered "duck's-eye view" of the nationally protected wetland.
At 03:46:18 in HeadlinesA judge is being investigated after he was accused of falling asleep during a child rape trial.
At 03:25:02 in EntertainmentIt's exactly half a century since the premiere of Fiddler on the Roof - among the most successful stage musicals written to date. In 1964 Sheldon Harnick and his colleagues worried that the setting, a small Jewish township in eastern Europe in the early 1900s, might limit the show's appeal. But, says Harnick, the show's real subject is a universal one - family.
At 03:21:18 in HeadlinesLife is speeding up. News travels fast, data is everywhere and gadgets keep our days on track.
At 02:59:05 in HealthSeveral big names have pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in the past few weeks with injuries and illness.
At 01:32:45 in HeadlinesTwo teams of actors and authors are reprising a historic cricket match which died out before World War One. Why?
At 01:30:04 in HeadlinesAuthor Jeremy Clay tells the singular story of the girl who was frightened to death by a coffin.
At 01:14:03 in HealthScientists have discovered a previously unknown virus living in the human gut, according to a study in Nature Communications.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Playwright Lydia Besong wins asylum seeker status [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1429131/Playwright-Lydia-Besong-wins-asylum-seeker-status [Accessed 26th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Nine people have been rescued after getting cut off by an incoming tide at Rhyl.
When this picture of Ed Miliband's battle with a bacon butty hit the news, the Labour team pulled a few faces of their own. So why is the party's leader talking about how he looks?
Several big names have pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in the past few weeks with injuries and illness.
Manchester United's record signing Juan Mata has revealed new manager Louis van Gaal has told his players they must communicate in English.
A group of local councils in England is formally asking the government for new powers to tax large supermarkets.
It's exactly half a century since the premiere of Fiddler on the Roof - among the most successful stage musicals written to date. In 1964 Sheldon Harnick and his colleagues worried that the setting, a small Jewish township in eastern Europe in the early 1900s, might limit the show's appeal. But, says Harnick, the show's real subject is a universal one - family.