Socialist Worker

Asylum seeker left in legal limbo refuses to end hunger strike

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2724

Abdul Safi says he will not end his hunger strike until he is granted leave to stay

Abdul Safi says he will not end his hunger strike until he is granted leave to stay (Pic: Glasgow Stand Up To Racism)


An asylum seeker in Glasgow is refusing to end a hunger strike until the Home Office allows him to stay in Britain.

Abdul Safi stitched his lips shut and went on hunger strike on Monday in protest at 12 years of living in legal limbo.

A Home Office security manager came out to Abdul’s tent at 4pm the following day, saying, “They’ve given you limited leave to remain.”

“I’ve sat all day talking with the immigration people who are dealing with your paperwork,” he said.“What they’ve said to me is that you’re going to get granted a positive decision, going out in the post today.”

Mohammad N Asif, Afghan Human Rights Foundation chair and founder of the Scottish Afghan Society, says Abdul will “only end the hunger strike once he gets the letter”.

“His son went to the home address this afternoon and he has not received it so far,” he told Socialist Worker.

“And limited leave to remain can be six months, one year or three years, it’s not permanent.”

Abdul and one of his sons fled Afghanistan, a country destroyed by Western bombs, after his life was threatened. They have both lived in limbo since then due to the British state’s racist immigration system.

Scapegoating

Mohammad said, “When he came I saw Mr. Abdul Asif and his eight year old son, who is now nearly 21 years old.”

“He has a wife and children back in Afghanistan and they are almost adults.”

“His asylum claim was initially refused, but he was then granted one year limited leave to remain. Since then he’s applied to the Home Office for an extension to limited leave three times and has been given it.”

He added, “Some people say the ‘system is broken’, but the Home Office is not broken.

“It is a well-designed system to intentionally dehumanise asylum seekers and discourage people from coming here.”

The Tories are ramping up scapegoating of refugees and migrants to deflect from their failings during the coronavirus crisis.

The Home Office sent a letter to charities saying the eviction of thousands of refused asylum seekers would begin “with immediate effect” in England. Some were put into hotel accommodation at the beginning of the lockdown.

Many people trying to settle safely in Britain are fleeing the West’s wars, dictatorship and poverty. As Mohammad said, “These are the victims of British, American and Nato bombing.

“Britain was involved in bombing Iraq, it was involved in bombing Afghanistan, it was involved in bombing Libya and in Syria. It is involved in selling arms to Saudi Arabia that’s bombing Yemen.

“Britain has a moral responsibility to take asylum seekers.”

Refugees should be allowed to come to Britain safely, immigration detention centres should be shut down and asylum seekers granted indefinite leave to remain.


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