Mrs G., a young Cameroon citizen and a single mother was granted refugee status by decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners.

We met Mrs G. for the first time when she was 4-months pregnant and, after having crossed the Polish-Belarusian border, she was placed in a detention center. We tried to get her out of the facility as early as possible. In our opinion, Mrs G. should never be there:as a victim of violence in her country of origin, she met the negative conditions for detention. In addition, considering her pregnancy, Mrs G. continued stay in a detention center posed a threat to her life or health, as she did not have regular access to medical care.

After about a month and a half stay in the detention center, the migrant was released to an open center. However, this was not the end of the procedure. She felt very insecure, given that waiting for a final decision she was uncertain whether she would be obliged to return to her country or not. When applying for asylum, Mrs G. argued that, as a French-speaking person, she was persecuted by members of the English-speaking militias, in connection with the long-lasting conflict between these linguistic groups in Cameroon.

During the proceedings, Mrs G. was invited to attend a status hearing at the headquarters of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw. Given her place of stay far from Warsaw and her medical condition (postpartum), she was given the opportunity to take part in the hearing by providing a written answer to the Office’s questions, which was indeed easier for her.

Moreover, in the course of the proceedings, a psychologist, who does still support Mrs G., provided a clinical opinion, which confirmed the experiences of the asylum seeker in her country of origin and on her way to Poland. Experiencing violence had negatively affected her mental health, including the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

After more than one year from crossing the Polish border and submitting an application for asylum, Mrs G. and her daughter born on the Polish territory received refugee status in Poland, which is an ultimate guarantee of security for both of them. It will also allow Mrs G. to better cope with her traumatic experiences in Cameroon.

Mrs G. received legal aid from the Association for Legal Intervention lawyer Magdalena Fuchs, as well as the Egala Association and the Wolno Nam Foundation.