UPDATE: We are very pleased to have met our original goal of £2000. Steven and his family will receive this £2000 in a few days.
We have increased the funding goal - any contributions over the original £2000 will go to another Chagossian football team player who is experiencing similar citizenship problems. Please continue to share this campaign and to encourage people to donate, it makes a huge difference to the community. Thanks so much.
The text below is about Steven Leelah. As the original goal of £2000 has been met, Steven's family will be receiving these funds in the next few days. Anything raised above £2000 will be given to another Chagossian footballer who is also in need of our support.
Dear friends, my name is Sabrina Jean, Chair of the UK branch of Chagos Refugees Group and founder of the Chagos Football Association. Yesterday one of our CFA players was taken to an immigration detention centre near Gatwick after signing at his Home Office reporting centre. Steven Leelah is 21 years old, and he is in the process of applying for the right to remain in the UK. His mother is a UK citizen.
The Chagossian people were removed from their homeland - part of the commonwealth - by the British and US governments in the 1960s and 1970s - they should all be recognised as British citizens. The process of attaining British citizenship is deeply complex for Chagossians, and is being exacerbated by the Home Office's 'hostile environment' policies.
This young man and his family are victims of a colonial era injustice that has been perpetuated by every British government since, both by refusing to allow Chagossians to return to their homeland and by refusing to give many Chagossians the British citizenship status they deserve.
Steven needs your support immediately to pay lawyers fees so that he can continue his appeal and get out of the detention centre. This is a totally unexpected experience for him and his family. He has been living in the UK for 7 years with his family and playing on the Chagos team for 4 years.
Please spare what you can to support Steven win his appeal and remain in the UK. Also, please share this fundraiser on your social media and encourage people to contribute.
Thank you so much from everyone at Chagos Football Association and the UK branch of Chagos Refugees Group.
(if this fundraiser goes beyond beyond its target, any extra funds will go into a fund for Chagossians who are experiencing similar detention / citizenship problems)