3 September 2021: StatusNow4All: We call for an inquest into Harvey Wittika’s death
This call was made at the demonstration outside Holyrood on 2 September 2021:
The death of Harvey Wittika, aged 37, who died after falling from the second floor of his flat building in Glasgow calls for a thorough investigation.
It is reported that Wittika, a Malawian national, moved to Glasgow after the Home Office refused to renew his application to stay in the UK. At the time of his death, Wittika had lived in the UK for 16 years.
The details of his death are scanty but the British Government’s ‘hostile environment’ has to be in this frame: we suspect an act of suicide that was caused by his suffering at the hands of the government department in charge of immigration control – the Home Office.
Wittika was stripped of his human rights by the state. He lived a miserable, intense and continuously stressful life for many years. He was not allowed to feel settled in the UK. He lived with fear of deportation hanging around him daily. Here was a man whose home was the UK, but whose right to work to earn his living was denied to him. Such a limbo life can push any person to take desperate measures.
Wittika’s suffering was tragic and unnecessary, but not isolated. The Home Office has shattered many dreams and continues to treat many migrants in the UK as if they are the worst sort of ‘criminals’.
Wittika was described by a friend as a wise and beautiful person, a good listener, hard worker, simply amazing and always positive. The University of Hertfordshire Computer Science master’s degree graduate had aspirations to have kids but his life was cut short.
Status Now 4 All engages with many people in the UK who are in the same position that Wittika found himself; many if not most of them have had suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Worse, the deaths of people who are undocumented are becoming ever more frequent and often, being they are far from home, ejected by the Home Office – as Wittika was – forced out of the community support they develop over time in the UK, with no family or friends to represent their interests, or adequate legal representation, their deaths receive cursory attention.
Piecing together Wittika’ story will be difficult as attested by the difficulties which were there to locate his family members in Malawi. It is essential that when someone dies in this way, without their family nearby, organisations with expertise are allowed to represent their interests.
Status Now 4 All calls for an inquest into Harvey Wittika’s death.