First published in Clarity: November 12 2014
In the past week, a petition calling on the Home Office to revoke a deportation order for Wadih Chourey, a Lebenese man with Down’s syndrome has gathered over 75,000 signatures. Wadih, who moved to Britain in 1997 with his parents, seeking refuge from the gangs who had targeted his family for abuse, had previously appealed successfully against the decision on human rights grounds. However, the Home Office successfully challenged the outcome, and the case is now being heard by the court of appeal.
Wadih’s case is the latest example of a disabled asylum seeker being vigorously pursued by the Home Office, in spite of compelling evidence that their illness or disability would make it hard for them to reintegrate into their country of origin. In this case, it is has been established by Wadih’s brothers that he is incapable of looking after himself, and that given the unstable political climate of the region, it would be dangerous to deport him. His brothers have emphasised the fact that Wadih has never claimed any benefits from the state, and helps out in the family bakery in Twickenham. “It’s a terrible waste of their (the Home Office’s) resources,” Vince Cable MP stated, “and it’s fundamentally inhumane.”
Across London, Enoch Fadoyin, and in Manchester, Manjeet Kaur, have faced similar experiences in the past year. Enoch, an autistic boy born in England to a Nigerian father who was in the country on a student visa, requires high level support, and has little awareness of danger, faces being deported with his family to a country he has never lived in, in spite of his teachers stating that even a change of schools would be highly stressful and upsetting. In Nigeria, he would be labelled an outcast – in some parts of the country, autism is linked to witchcraft and the influence of ‘evil spirits.’ His case is ongoing.