Belfast Telegraph

Party in support call for young Ukranian woman

12 February 2005

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Oksana Sukhanova

The SDLP is calling upon the government to allow the young Ukranian immigrant, who lost her legs when she became homeless, to rebuild her life in Northern Ireland.

And young party members will today circulate a petition on the matter among MPs, Assembly members, councillors, delegates and members of the public who attend the party's annual conference in Derry.

The petition expresses horror at the plight of Oksana Sukhanova, who had both legs amputated at Christmas time.

The young woman had developed frostbite when she became homeless and was forced to sleep on the streets of Ballymoney after being made homeless.

The petition goes on to call on the government to allow the woman to remain in Northern Ireland so that she can recover fully and rebuild her life.

SDLP's chief whip John Dallat, who is heading the campaign, said: "Oksana's plight has been raised with the direct rule ministers and as a first step the party's youth wing is asking for an assurance that she will not be deported but will be given every opportunity to complete her rehabilitation and find a job.

"She is a wonderful young person who has shown remarkable courage and she must not be forgotten and allowed to be sent back to her village where there are no opportunities for her."

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