A mum living in extreme poverty has been found dead beside her malnourished baby in a Glasgow flat. Mercy Baguma, from Uganda, was found dead by police on Saturday, August 22 after friends raised the alarm when she had not been heard from since Tuesday.
The baby boy was rushed to the hospital for treatment and is now being cared for by his father, reports GlasgowLive. Mercy – who was an asylum seeker – lost her job after her limited leave to remain had reportedly expired, meaning she was no longer allowed to work.
Mercy, 34, and her son were believed to have been relying on food from friends and charities. The Home Office has promised to carry out a full investigation into her case. Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing said: “This is the third tragedy to affect the city’s refugee population in as many months. Mercy contacted our charity on August 11 and said she was not getting any financial support yet had made an application to MigrantHelp. Had she lived she would have been a high priority for a crisis payment from our Emergency Relief Fund like hundreds of others left functionally destitute by the asylum system.
“The question remains, why are mothers and babies being left to go hungry in this city, why is it being left to charities and volunteers to pick up the pieces? Does society have anything to say about that other than call them a drain on society? The fact is there is no safety net if you’re a refugee or migrant. “You are left destitute and without resources. And you’re left silenced by far-right rhetoric for being forced to ask for help. Would this mother be alive if she was not forced out of her job by this cruel system that stops you from working and paying your way because a piece of paper says your leave to remain has expired? I’m sure Mercy’s son will want to ask this and other questions once he is old enough.”
A friend of Mercy has set up a GoFundMe appeal to raise funds for her infant son and to cover the costs of her funeral. Mercy was described as an amazing “mother, sister and best friend” who “always put her family first.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police received a report of the sudden death of a 34-year-old woman within a property on Kennedar Drive in Glasgow around 11.30am on Saturday, August 22. “The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
The tragedy comes after Syrian man Adnan Olbeh was found dead at a guest house in the city. Earlier this year a man was shot dead and six people were injured in a knife attack in the Park Inn Hotel in Glasgow city centre in June. The charity is demanding the Home Office carry out a public inquiry into the deaths and accommodation provision for asylum seekers.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “This is a tragic situation and our condolences go to Ms Baguma’s family. “The Home Office takes the wellbeing of all those in the asylum system extremely seriously, and we will be conducting a full investigation into Ms Baguma’s case.”