Petitioning home office

Save Palestinian-Syrian student Yousef from deportation #SaveYousef

The Home Office wishes to callously remove a vulnerable Palestinian refugee from the UK, refusing his plea to remain in the UK with his family, as he fears for his safety and the uncertainty of his future. If removed from the UK under the Dublin III Regulation that provides a mechanism for determining which country is responsible for examining an application for international protection, Yousef Hassan will be sent to Italy where there is no guarantee that he will be granted refugee status. Yousef, now 22 years old, is a Palestinian refugee who was only fifteen years old at the start of the horrors of the Syrian crisis. He is particulary vulnerable as a Palestinian refugee due the fact he remains a stateless person and is not automatically given the same rights as other refugees. In fact, statelessness is an extra vulnerability and the UK has a responsiblity to reduce and eliminate statelessness.

Yousef is a young Palestinian refugee who was preparing to study in Damascus when he was 18 years old. He flagged up on the system as being of army age and the Syrian regime attempted to force him to join the military. He fled Syria via Turkey and ended up in Italy after the precarious crossing of the mediterranean sea. He was forced to give his finger prints and treated extremely poorly by authorities there. He ended up in the back of a lorry in a desperate attempt to rejoin his family who had already been granted leave to remain in the United Kingdom.

Yousef is suffering from the trauma of his now over extended ordeal and the home office has decided to refuse his claim for asylum in the United Kingdom on a technicality of him being over the age of 18 and claiming he does not have close family ties despite the fact his father - who has been granted refugee status and the right to remain - provides accomodation, funding and support for him over the last two years in Middlesbrough. Because he arrived separately to his family, with the added complication of the Dublin III regulations, the Home Office has tried everything to push the point that he is over 18 years old and that he can maintain adequate family ties through e-mail, phone calls and letters. This is frankly outrageous and demonstrates the callous disregard for family unity and his basic human rights. His family are absolutely devastated by this situation and spend each day in constant fear that they will be separated from Yousef. His younger siblings are all here in the UK in the same family home.

Should the Home Office succeed in returning Yousef to Italy there is absolutely no guarantee that the authorities there would grant him protected refugee status and there is a risk they would also seek his removal. To date, the United Kingdom not resettle a single Palestinian from Syria under its scheme for vulnerable refugees program.

He now wishes to progress his English in order to attend university here in the UK . He is currently enrolled on a free course at Middlesbrough College where he has been doing well in both English and Maths. He has lost out nearly seven years of his youth so far due to the situation he has found himself in as a result of an uncaring Home Office and an immigration system that is not fit for purpose. Yousef's family have also had to endure islamophobic and anti-refugee abuse as a result of the demonisation and structural racism here in the United Kingdom.

Yousef has made a number of human rights’ grounded appeals for his case and has even submitted evidence that his family are able to support him financially, with housing and there is even employment available for him if only he were permitted to undertake it. He has a genuine and real fear of persecution and discrimination. All of this has been rejected by the Home Office. It is a human right that no one shall be subject to torture or inhuman treatment, and that everybody's life should be protected by law. It is reprehensible that the government can dismiss this case claiming that Yousef has no significant family ties and they even used the fact that his father was a newly arrived refugee and thus hadn't secured accomodation two years ago when Yousef himself arrived in the UK. If deported to Italy Yousef and his family fear he will either be stranded there without any support or that he may be returned to Syria. Yousef is deeply afraid of the possibility he will face further abuse, and be mistreated in Italy's already overwhelmed immigration system.

We should not have an immigration system which devalues the lives of those facing oppression and even death such as Yousef. We have an urgent responsibility, as one of the world’s richest nations, to ensure that those fleeing war, oppression and discrimination wherever they come from, get the same right to a quality of life in the UK as any UK citizen. Whilst in the UK, despite all the barriers and difficulties, Yousef has worked and volunteered to better the lives of others and it is shameful that the UK government wishes to rip him away from his family. Yousef is a third generation refugee. It is obscene that he would have to endure this situation simply because he was born a refugee in Yarmouk camp. It is not for us to condemn others to persecution, hate and death as part of our immigration process.

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