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Britain to deport
HIV-positive mother and father to Malawi

Britain to deport
HIV-positive mother and father to Malawi

The United Kingdom plans to deport an HIV-positive mother and father on Tuesday despite pleas from children's rights advocates who say sending the asylum seekers back to Malawi could leave their 7-year-old son an orphan.

Caroline Manchinjili, who is also epileptic, is afraid that once she returns to Malawi she and her husband will not get treatment and that if they die, their son, Dumisani, will be left alone.

''In Malawi, there is death for people with HIV,'' she told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from an immigration detention center in the U.K. ''No one will look after us. Everyone will run away from us. This is just the end of our world.''

The U.K.'s Home Office, which is responsible for immigration, does not comment on specific cases. It said in a statement, however, that serious medical conditions are taken into account when evaluating asylum claims.

''We are not convinced that a special dispensation should be made for victims of HIV, as this could create inconsistencies in how we treat individuals with other serious illnesses,'' the statement said.

Manchinjili said the family's home in Malawi had been burned down and that they claimed asylum because they were at odds with their government and faced political persecution.

Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo's, a children's charity, said the issue isn't whether they should be granted asylum. They're simply interested in protecting Dumisani.

''There's a 7-year-old little boy here who could lose his mother in a week,'' Narey said. ''His father will die next.''

There is no other family to look after Dumisani in Malawi, Narey said. Dumisani has so far tested negative, but because of his family history there is a 30% to 40% chance he has HIV, Narey said.

In the past, the Home Office has allowed people with serious medical conditions to remain in the country, said Jill Rutter, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, a center-left London think tank. But recently, there has been more questioning about the burden migration places on public services, particularly health care. Rutter said that has caused the Home Office to ''tighten up'' on who is allowed to stay.

Narey said he believes there are about 20 other children in the same situation as Dumisani. Rutter said ''the numbers are quite small, and I think we have a moral obligation to provide health care for them.'' (AP)

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