Sulaiman Mohammed is a 17-year-old young person from Iraq who is being denied asylum, despite desperately needing it, and after serious malpractice within the UK social services. In post-invasion Iraq, 2004, Sulaiman’s father, who worked for the Iraqi security services, was kidnapped and murdered by a terrorist group. The murderers have never been prosecuted, and Sulaiman’s family ties place him in ongoing danger from the same group.
In June 2005, Sulaiman was the victim of a car bomb attack, in which he lost a leg, and three months later his mother passed away, leaving the 13-year-old Sulaiman an orphan. He went to live with his uncle, but the danger posed by Sulaiman’s father’s killers led his uncle to make arrangements for Sulaiman to flee Iraq.
After a period of destitution, Sulaiman claimed asylum in the UK, and was placed in foster care in Greater Manchester. He lived with his foster family for over a year, attending Stockport College. However, a social worker conducted a ‘Merton-compliant’ age assessment and incorrectly claimed that Sulaiman was over 18. (He was 15, as was later, eventually found by the UKBA) As a result, Sulaiman was taken away from his foster family. Appallingly, Sulaiman was never consulted over this; he was simply moved from the foster home to live alone without legal or emotional support.
Eventually Sulaiman came to RAPAR, the Manchester-based human rights organisation. Sophie, a social work student based at RAPAR, comments: “For me, social work is about supporting vulnerable people in a way which respects human rights and promotes social justice. In contrast, the asylum system operates in such a way that oppression is compounded, human rights are violated and social workers are expected to work as quasi immigration officials. This is not what I, perhaps quite naively, expected social work to be about”.
The UKBA is still planning to proceed with the enforced removal of Sulaiman back to Iraq to face his father’s killers even though the country is deemed too dangerous for able-bodied British adults not specifically at threat from terrorists to visit. After illegally invading Iraq, wrongly removing the care services Sulaiman was entitled to, falsely accusing him of lying about his own age, and now threatening him with deportation, it is about time this country started showing some semblance of fairness and compassion towards Sulaiman.
RAPAR has organised a campaign to support Sulaiman. Please demand an immediate halt to the deportation in letters to your MP and to Home Secretary Theresa May, and sign the petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sulaimanmohammed
More information about the campaign and RAPAR: http://www.rapar.org.uk/