Mohammed’s story - Our deadly borders
Photo credits: @bookerphotos
Like so many others, Mohammed* was trying to reunite with family. He wanted to reach his brother. He’s originally from Kuwait. However, as he’s Bidoon, he has almost no rights at home. Even the most basic healthcare and education are out of reach.
Forced to flee
When Mohammed’s father and brother joined protests, things got even worse. The family were in real danger. His brother and father had to flee. In a bid to lure his father and brother back, the authorities wanted to arrest Mohammed and use him as bait. He knew he had to get away. Mohammed was only a child when he left home. He hasn’t heard from his father since. There are parts of his experience that he still doesn’t want to talk about.
Mohammed made it to the Greek island of Lesvos where he was stuck for a whole year. Life here was incredibly tough. He spent months in a tent and in accommodation with adults. Even when he was moved to a camp with people his own age, violence and infectious diseases were rife in the camp. Worst of all, Mohammed felt isolated. He was unable to understand his situation and what would happen to him next. He was in limbo.
“I was on the island for 12 months but it felt like 12 years”
Eventually, Mohammed made it to Athens. He lived in a refugee camp for eight months before being moved into an apartment. Life is very tough for asylum seekers in Athens. However, Mohammed saw it as a welcome change from the island. He was less isolated and was able to find support from organisations and fellow refugees. He quickly made a new best friend “he’s like a brother to me.” He just about got by with a mixture of occasional work, the Greek cash card and money from his brother in Liverpool.
Delay and rejection
Mohammed’s case should have been solved more than a year ago. His family reunion application to the UK was successful but the process was held up by the pandemic. This meant that it expired and the UK rejected his renewal. He was in limbo once again.
The importance of legal support
This is precisely the kind of injustice that RLS is here to fight. We worked with one of our partner law firms to support Mohammed take his case to judicial review. Our presence in Greece allowed us to work with Mohammed face-to-face and collect all the evidence to build a case. These cases are incredibly onerous and are extremely stressful for the client. However, the hard work paid off. Mohammed’s case was successful and, earlier this month, he was able to finally make his way to the UK.
A new start, without fear of persecution
He’s now reunited with his brother, the only family he has. It's the first time they’ve seen each other face-to-face for seven years. This isn’t the end of his story. He’ll continue to face challenges in the UK as he settles and fights for a more secure immigration status. “This gives me hope…I want to study. I want to learn new things”.
You can help more people through an unjust system
Every day we work with people like Mohammed who are trying to find safety and be reunited with loved ones.
You can help. If we reach our target of £8,000 we'll be able to keep helping people as they fight against unjust asylum systems so they can live free of fear.