"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Politics.co.uk : Immigrant stories: The British citizen who was stripped of her passport


'The holiday wasn't supposed to last long.

'Jean Gander had travelled back to Zambia, where she grew up, to visit family. She couldn't have known that 15 months later she would still be there.

'She is still there now, trapped with her two children in a bureaucratic nightmare....


' Within a few years they had moved in together, got married and had a couple of children. Jean took up a job in Harrods and the couple moved into a house in Russell Square.

'Then, in January last year, she visited family in Zambia and took the kids along.

'While she was there, disaster struck. Her sister was diagnosed with cancer. Jean decided to extend her stay. And then she made a second fateful decision. She went to get her passport renewed.

' "My brother, who lives here, said I shouldn't renew my passport here," she says.

' "He'd got his passport done by flying to England. But I said: 'I've got nothing to hide. I've renewed this passport twice before in London. I might as well do it here.' I didn't see anything wrong. It hadn't even expired. It was still valid for another two months."

'For some reason which was never explained, they treated the case as a stolen passport rather than a renewal. Jean was born in Zambia in 1967 and had no birth certificate, so she had to send on her baptism certificate. But the document showed her African name, Christine Chibwe Chenda. This had never been a problem in the passport office in London Victoria, where she'd previously had it renewed. But it triggered questions in Africa.

' "The official confiscated it," Jean says.


' Now, Frank is trying to get Jean back into the UK by using his rights as a European citizen to live with his wife. Once Jean has returned, they will reapply for the passport again from there.

'For now they are stranded – left without help by the British government, relying on one last legal avenue to get her back home.

'"I need them as much as they need me," Frank says.

'"I fly three or four times a year to see my kids and my wife. I miss them. I miss them above anything.

'"What am I going to do in the future? This can't carry on forever. I have to consider, if the worst comes to worst, that I may have to quit my job and go live there."'

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