A Malawian family living in Dublin are running rings around the Irish authorities as they fight deportation from the country.
Clement Chigaru and his wife, Angela Peters, applied for asylum in Ireland, claiming that their daughter is at risk of rape from her grandfather as he seeks a cure for his HIV infection. That claim was rejected on its initial assessment, and again by the Refugee Asylum Tribunal, and steps were taken to deport them. Undeterred however, the family have launched various appeals to various courts to be allowed to stay.
In late July, they were granted an injunction by the Irish Court of Appeal halting their deportation. The judgement states that the family has been dishonest in its asylum claim, and has remained in Ireland illegally. However, the judges felt sorry for the two children being uprooted from their life in Ireland and granted the injunction stopping the deportation, until a full appeal can be heard and judged.
Chigaru and Peters arrived in Ireland with their one-year old daughter in April 2008. Their story when claiming asylum was that Peter’s father was HIV+ and had been told by asing’anga that to be cured he must have sexual intercourse with a virgin from his own bloodline. Bizarrely, it was claimed that the grandfather threatened to violate his baby grand-daughter for that purpose. This caused the family to flee Malawi.
When interviewed by the Irish authorities, Peters claimed that she did not know that she could be assisted in Malawi by the police or by NGOs. For his part, Chigaru said that the family could not have moved elsewhere in the country because his wife was six months pregnant with their second child, and he did not want her to experience any pressure in such relocation.
The Irish rejected the claims of the parents on credibility grounds, noting that police protection was available and that the highly educated parents were quite capable of relocating within Malawi. They also wondered how a pregnant woman could claim not to be able to relocate within Malawi, but could manage do so to Ireland, a country thousands of kilometres away and with which she was not familiar.
There was a period of time when the family absconded and the adults worked illegally, and it was only with some difficulty that the authorities were able to track them down and to start their attempts to deport them.
Even though deportation has been halted, the judges noted:
“It is plain that both the father and the mother have each engaged in wholescale abuse of the asylum system. In the period since the deportation orders were first made in against them in August 2011 they have each worked illegally and have also avoided their reporting obligations with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. If one looked at the cases of the parents in isolation, their applications for interlocutory relief would have little to commend them given that both of them have deliberately and [insolently] thwarted and evaded their obligations under the immigration system.”
However, the judges wrote a convoluted, legal decision halting the deportation temporarily on the grounds that it was unfair to penalise the children because of the behaviour of their crooked parents. They wrote:
“The deportation of these children to Malawi would be massively disruptive for them, as it would have huge implications for their schooling, friendships and family structures.”