16 July 2010

Politicians throw support behind campaign to give Precious a UK Visa

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Glasgow politicians have backed the campaign to prevent the deportation of Precious Mhango and her mother Florence.

UK visa

Unless Precious and Ms Mhango are issued with a UK Visa they will be deported.

Florence and Precious entered Britain in May 2003 as dependants of Ms Mhango’s husband, who was in the country on a UK Student Visa. They had permission to be in the UK until 31 October 2007.

Florence said her husband had been violent towards her in the past, but she hoped that a new life in London would bring a change. When the domestic violence continued she fled to Glasgow with Precious to stay with a friend.

The separation from her husband meant she no longer had the right to be in Britain, and she and her 10-year-old daughter face being deported back to Malawi despite Precious being raised in the UK since the age of three with no memories of her birth country.
There are also fears that returning to Malawi will mean Precious and Ms Florence will be separated.

The Malawian marriage contract states that any children from the marriage are the property of the husband’s family, and although Ms Mhango’s husband is understood to be living and working in Britain, she said her family has been informed that his family will take their granddaughter if they return to Malawi.

More than 1,300 letters have been written to Home Secretary Theresa May urging her to issue a UK Visa to allow the Mhangos to remain in the UK.

First Minister Alex Salmond, Deputy First Minister and Govan SNP MSP Nicola Sturgeon and Glasgow Lord Provost Bob Winter are among the family’s supporters.

Ms McLaughlin said: “There is a truly terrified young woman who made the courageous move to take her child away from a violent domestic situation and who is being punished for it, while her ex-husband continues to live and work in Britain.

Deputy First Minister and Govan SNP MSP Nicola Sturgeon also said she fully supports the campaign to allow Ms Mhango and Precious to remain in Glasgow.

“Precious has been here most of her life. She considers herself a Glaswegian and people who know her consider her to be a Glaswegian. It is unthinkable she should be deported to a country she does not know.”

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