Stand Up to Racism

Otis Must Stay

Update December 27th from Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees

Things are looking much better for Otis. He did not fly on Christmas Day to our great relief.

Also on Christmas Eve he got an official letter from the Home Office headed "cancelled notice of removal". We have not had a confirmation from a lawyer, but it very strongly suggests to us that he will not be deported at least for the next 3 months.

Otis will not be safe until he has won leave to remain in the UK- which could still be a long journey. However, the support from all of you has encouraged so many positive outcomes - not least the fact that Otis has felt supported and so much less alone in detention than he would have done.

We now know how many friends and supporters he - and many other asylum seekers like him - have out there. Many of us will have learned a lot more about the iniquitous asylum system so many people seeking safety in the UK have to face.Also the importance of not just sitting back and letting things happen.

“My country is too dangerous. I will be punished by my government if I am returned home because I oppose what this government is doing. I am active in one of the main Congolese opposition groups here – Apareco. My opposition to the government will put me at great risk if I am returned to Congo by the Home Office.”

Otis Bolamu is a Congolese asylum seeker who has been based in Swansea. Despite having been tortured by his government, he is now facing forced removal from the UK to his home country on Christmas Day.

He was imprisoned and tortured by government agents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of his opposition to the government of Joseph Kabila.

Elections have been repeatedly delayed and violence has increased in the DRC amid opposition protests and government crackdowns. According to Amnesty International, the human rights situation in the country has further deteriorated in recent months.

He had been living in Home Office accommodation in Swansea and volunteering at an Oxfam shop. He was seized in a dawn raid at about 4am on last Thursday and, after first being held in Bridgend, was taken to Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick where his health is poor. Supporters have launched a petition to try to prevent his removal and are calling for him to be released in time to celebrate Christmas with his friends and members of his church in Swansea.

What You Can Do

Share and Sign this Petition


Write to your MP - you can find out who they are and contact them here

For Swansea East, where Otis has been living, it is
Carolyn Harris MP
485 Llangyfelach Road
Sa5 9EA
01792 462054

For Swansea West it’s
Geraint Davies MP
18 Craddock Street
01792 475943

You can write to the Home Secretary to express your concern. The address is
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
Or you can write to the Immigration Minister, Rt Hon Caroline Noakes MP, at the same address.

Otis’s name and ref number are
Otis Bolamu

Back Story
More Information about the case

Otis comes from Democratic Republic of the Congo and sought asylum after his work supporting fair and open election systems, and his ensuing political affiliation, put him at risk.

DRC is currently in a state of great turmoil and the Home Office are advising travellers to avoid DRC because of the risks arising from a turbulent and unsafe political situation.

Otis worked for the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in Congo Kinshasa (2005) and Bandundu (2011-2017);

-He was activist member of political movements Palu first and then UDPS before arriving in the UK.

Otis was arrested and detained in May 2017 for denouncing the forced enrolment of young persons and soldiers, signed up to support the existing president.

-He escaped the detention with help of friends and was smuggled out of the country.

-He is a member of the political movement Apareco, in the UK, one of the main Congolese opposition groups here.

-Otis will face serious harm and problem if he is deported.

Otis is in Brook House detention centre having been seized from his home in Swansea at 4.00am on Thursday morning. Our understanding is that he will be forcibly removed on Christmas Day. He is a practising Christian, actively involved in his local church, who was planning to spend Christmas Day with his church friends.
He still has evidence to present but instead he has been summarily seized from his home and deported to a turbulent and dangerous situation in DRC, from which he was forced to seek asylum in the first place.

We call on the Home Secretary to review this case and halt this cruel and unjust deportation.

Guardian Story here
BBC Story here

Keep in touch with Swansea Stand Up to Racism
Facebook page here
email us here standuptoracismswansea@gmail.com