An Afghan asylum seeker in the UK has claimed some of his friends are fleeing to Ireland to avoid being sent to Rwanda under the UK government’s controversial flagship policy.
An 18-year-old nicknamed Taraki fled Afghanistan after his family was shot dead in a suspected Taliban attack. He arrived in the UK after a traumatic two-year journey, inews.co.uk reported.
Along the way, he witnesses the death of his friend and was electrocuted while stepping out of an oil tanker they were hiding in on a train in Greece.
Taraki said he finally crossed the English Channel after 14 attempts. After four months in a refugee camp in Dunkirk, France, he paid people smugglers £2,000.
In April, the British government announced plans to stop migrants entering the state via the English Channel from France by transporting them to Rwanda while they await a decision on their asylum claims.
Home Secretary Priti Patel finalized the deal with the east African country, which was initially worth £120million and would result in migrants arriving without permits being removed for processing.
Human rights organizations have raised concerns about the plan, saying asylum seekers are going into hiding as a result.
Taraki told inews.co.uk he was afraid of being deported under Home Office policy.
“Since they announced [the Rwanda scheme] Some of my friends have fled to the Republic of Ireland,” he said.
“They asked me if I wanted to go, but I had no money. If I did that, maybe I would flee too, because I’m worried.
“It took two years from Afghanistan to here. I’ve seen a lot of hard things on the way here. Some of my friends have died. Sometimes we didn’t eat for two or three days. When we were in Greece trying to get to Serbia, we hid in an oil tanker because we didn’t have money to pay smugglers.
“We were in there 24 hours. We got in, 12 guys. I was the first to get out, but when the fifth boy got out, he got up and was caught in the power lines above the train.
“He burned before my eyes. I was so scared I cried.”
Taraki now lives in south London, awaiting processing of his asylum application.
“I’ve been happy here but since Rwanda was announced I’ve been so scared. It’s like a dream to play cricket here, go to college and learn English,” he said.
“As I sat here on the boat, I didn’t think I was going to survive. I feel like a chance of a lifetime. I don’t know why they should send me away.”
Campaigns director for the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London charity, Nick Beales, said he had noticed a marked change in Taraki’s behavior recently.
“Right now the Rwanda plan has yet to get rolling in the sense that no one has been sent there yet, but just by seeing his reaction to it I think that gives an indication of how damaging this policy is. ” he said.
“We were shocked to see how his behavior took a turn for the worse after the news, from happily enrolling in college, playing cricket and getting along well, to suddenly becoming depressed, withdrawn and hopeless.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the UK Home Office told inews: “Asylum seekers have access to health and social services from the point of arrival in the UK. We take every step to prevent self-harm or suicide, including a dedicated team responsible for identifying vulnerable asylum seekers and providing tailored support.
“However, the UK asylum system is broken, with criminals exploiting vulnerable people via illegal smuggling routes, at a huge cost to taxpayers.
“As part of our world-leading migration partnership with Rwanda, a fundamentally safe country, illegal migrants are relocated to Rwanda to have their asylum claims assessed, helping to disrupt the human trafficking business and save lives.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/uk-asylum-seeker-says-his-friends-are-fleeing-to-ireland-to-avoid-being-sent-to-rwanda-under-new-plans-41647650.html The British asylum seeker says his friends are fleeing to Ireland to avoid being sent to Rwanda as part of new plans