Gurkhas win yet another battle - this time to stay in the UK
GURKHAS won their court battle today for the right to settle in Britain.
Lawyers for the men who fought alongside British troops in battles over 200 years said: "Today we have seen a tremendous and historic victory for the gallant Gurkha veterans of Nepal.
"This is a victory that restores honour and dignity to deserving soldiers who faithfully served in Her Majesty's armed forces.
"It is a victory for common sense; a victory for fairness; and a victory for the British sense of what is 'right'."
Six claimants brought a judicial review test case against the Government, challenging what has now been declared an unlawful immigration policy which excluded veteran Gurkhas who retired before 1997 from the United Kingdom.
The Gurkhas in this test case represented approximately 2,000 others who were refused entry to the UK because the Government said they had failed to demonstrate "strong ties" to the UK.
The judge, Mr Justice Blake, made clear that the long military service of these men, their wounds sustained in battle. their conspicuous acts of bravery, their acts of gallantry and their commitment and loyalty to the Crown all point to an unquestionable historic "moral debt of honour" and gratitude which the ordinary people of Britain embrace and celebrate.
Martin Howe, of solicitors Howe and Co, said the case had brought "a torrential outpouring of affection and concern" from the ordinary British public towards the old warriors from the hills of Nepal.
"The bonds of affection and ties of loyalty between the people of this country and the men from the Brigade of Gurkhas, who have unswervingly served this country for 200 years, has never been stronger."
Hundreds of Gurkhas came to the High Court today and packed the courtroom to hear Mr Justice Blake give his ruling.
The case heard last month was brought to challenge the lawfulness of the Government policy that 2,000 Gurkhas who retired prior to July 1997 – the date that the Brigade of Gurkhas moved its base from Hong Kong to the UK – did not have the necessary "strong ties" to be allowed entry.
They were represented by five claimants, including a wounded Falklands veteran, Lance Corporal Gyanendra Rai, 52, and Gulf War veteran Rifleman Birendra Man Shrestha, 46, along with a Gurkha widow.
All had applied to come to settle in UK, but were refused entry by British Entry Clearance officers at the British Embassy in Kathmandu and the British High Commissions in Hong Kong and Macau.
The Gurkhas directly affected by this decision fought for Britain in all conflicts since the Second World War, including the jungles of Malaya, the Falklands and the Gulf.
Mr Howe said the Gurkhas who have seen victory today now call on the British Government to adopt the direction given by the judge.
"My clients, and the thousands of Gurkhas standing behind them, ask for nothing more from this country than the unfettered right to live amongst the British people – a people they have protected and loved throughout years of long and loyal service to the Crown."
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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