Kelemua Mulat – an Ethiopian refugee, a mother of one and abandoned by the government of the United Kingdom, and denied essential lifesaving cancer treatment has passed. This comes as the United Kingdom restricts its immigration policy against migrants and refugees.
The 39-year old was forced to pay upfront charges for her hospital stay, while the government stopped any allowance privileges for her living costs, putting her under pressure as be forced to be partially be supported by charity organizations for her basic care. By the time her medical privilege was denied last year, her cancer was spreading to her abdomen and spine.
Her lawyer calls her death a “Real and sickening human cost,” and that she “suffered unnecessarily as the result of a flawed policy which seeks to make hospital staff act as immigration officers. A job for which they are ill-prepared and ill-suited for,” according to a report from the Guardian that has been reporting on her story for a year.
Kelemua become a widow after her husband died during a protest that turned violent almost a decade ago. She had arrived in the United Kingdom in 2015 by way of Greece, living her child behind in Ethiopia with her mother.
The UK government and its new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson have used the issue of immigration as a strategy to woo populist votes, calling for more restrictions and wanting to bring the “brightest and the best in the fields of science, engineering and technology.” This is believed to be a code to discourage those people coming from the developing world.
He has also promised to scrap the nation’s target of bringing migrants to its shore.
There is a vigil planned for her at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Manchester and a Crowd funding campaign, which has so far netted more than EUR 6000 to bring her body to Ethiopia.