The Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked by conflict since the 1990s, with over 3 million people killed. In 2003 our client, a mother and political dissident, was detained by DRC authorities and subjected to horrific torture. In 2004, she fled to the UK and sought asylum, which was refused as her account was considered inconsistent. JCWI obtained medical evidence showing that PTSD and trauma had affected her memory, and she was granted asylum in 2008.

Throughout the process of claiming asylum, our client ‘Mrs T’ continually talked about her family in DRC. Tragically, she had lost contact with her children after being detained. In 2008, through the British Red Cross, she finally traced her children, who had found shelter in a church in DRC. She was desperate to be with her children, but her limited resources and the conflict in her home country meant she was only able to reunite with one of them, in 2011. Four years later, her other child - the twin brother of the child who had come to the UK - was refused refugee family reunion because the Home Office didn’t accept he was Mrs T’s son. By this stage, Mrs T had developed stage-4 cancer. 

Their relationship was proven by a DNA test, but even then the Home Office continued to seek ways to refuse him entry, claiming he had an independent life in DRC and could maintain his relationship with his mum and sister over the internet and by telephone. We argued that sleeping on a church floor, desperate to be reunited with his family, could certainly not be described as an independent life.

The Tribunal allowed the appeal, and directed that the Home Office grant entry clearance to the boy. Finally, after 12 years, Mrs T could be reunited with her child.