By Emma Ogao
Mohammed Mizro, a young Syrian man, is pleading to stay in Cardiff with his family, as he faces deportation to Bulgaria just a few months after arriving in the UK.
Mizro was separated from his family as they fled war-torn Aleppo, landing in Bulgaria as an unaccompanied minor, where he accounts enduring dreadful treatment and abuse, including being beaten by officers, being denied food for days at a time, and being handcuffed and detained in solitary confinement. Mizro, desperate to find his family, began his journey through Europe, eventually managing to enter the UK through Calais. In April 2017, Mizro was reunited with his family in Wales for the first time after years apart.
Whilst reporting to the Home Office in October as a requirement for his refugee status application, Mohammed was detained at Parc Prison, Bridgend, and told he would be removed from the UK this month. Now released, Mizra is uncertain of his future. His case falls under the “Dublin Regulation” – which states that the EU country a refugee arrives in should be responsible for his or her claim.
“Asylum seekers should claim in the first safe country they arrive in. Where there is evidence that an asylum seeker is the responsibility of another European country we will seek to return them there.”
Under this regulation, Mizra is the responsibility of Bulgaria, and is under threat of removal from the UK. Refugee abuse has been well documented in Bulgaria, with Amnesty International reports indicating a trend of impunity for abuse at its borders.
“I know it’s not a good thing to cross a border as I did but I felt I had no choice” states Mohammed. “I just want to be with my family…I have nothing left. Everywhere I get kicked. I just want to start my life. I want to go to university…I just want to contribute in some way.”
Over 38,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Mirzo to be allowed to stay in Cardiff, and members of Parliament have called on Amber Rudd, the home secretary, to intervene in the reconsideration of his refugee status.
“The Mizro family are an asset to our country and to our nation” states Jonathan Cox, of Citizens UK. “They belong together in Cardiff. The home office must not send Mohammed to Bulgaria”.