A teenager has spoken out about recent Home Office plans to send immigrants to Rwanda, which have left him shattered and unable to rebuild his life. Deen* arrived to London in January this year after his family was killed in Afghanistan.
The 18-year-old Afghan national had hopes of rebuilding his life and had enrolled in college as well as a cricket club when he found out he was at risk of being deported to Rwanda, a country he has no links to and has never visited. Deen had finally arrived to the country after travelling for two years from Afghanistan and attempting to cross the English Channel nearly 20 times.
His journey was traumatic as he feared for his life due to the horrific weather conditions. Alongside this, his friends were killed crossing the channel last year which left him devastated.
READ MORE: ‘Child asylum seekers are ‘fleeing London out of fear of being sent to Rwanda’
Speaking to MyLondon, he said: “I didn’t have any support in Afghanistan and no one to help me. It took me two years from Afghanistan to get to France. On my way here and when I got to France I met friendly people from my village, people I knew and from there people helped me out, some of my friends had gotten there before me in Paris.
“They had received refugee status in Paris, they took me in and advised me to go to the UK, they said we don’t think Paris is the place to be, they said all they do is go to work and go home, they said if you want a good life go to the UK. I came to the UK in a boat and knew people who had died on journeys previously.
“It wasn’t easy. I tried at least 12-15 times, not more than 20 to get on the boat. They would push the boat out in the water and the water would be so rough, they tried so many different times and it would fail and they would call French police due to lots of issues. After so many tries, I arrived in the UK but during the boat journey things got rocky, while I was there I was praying and hoping nothing would happen – we didn’t really think we would get there alive, it was in January this year I was successful.”
Deen had already been left traumatised as a group of his friends died months earlier travelling in a dinghy, he had gone to their funeral in France and was extremely upset. Once he had got to the UK he felt unwell, his body felt locked up due to the journey and he was taken to hospital to recover.
Speaking about life back home, Deen said he has no immediate family as his father, who used to be in the army, was shot and killed alongside his whole family when he was just 16-years-old.
“All I have left is an uncle but sometimes I can’t connect to his number and also cant afford to call as much as they (Government) only give certain amount of money,” he said.
(Image: Holly Evans)
When he arrived to Crystal Palace, South London, Deen says he was looking forward to rebuilding his life. He joined a cricket team which kept him distracted and managed to build a routine with college. He had hopes and dreams of getting into a career of designing homes, however he felt the rug was pulled from under his feet when he heard about the Rwanda plans.
He said: “My entire family was taken from me and they died, they all went in one moment – it also took me two years to get to the UK and then I didn’t have any type of support or assistance, I thought I could make a life here but it’s been shattered.
“When we heard about the Home Office plans to deport people to Rwanda, there was a lot of anxiety and loads of people I was living with fled to the Republic of Ireland since the announcement. There has been a lot of worry around what is going to happen to us.
“I have been really disturbed, not sleeping well, I sleep at 3am because I am scrolling online and seeing these upsetting things around Rwanda. I was using online classes for college and cricket to distract myself but now I can’t even do day to day jobs properly. It’s messed me up as I can’t do much and its not in my control – I am distraught.
“I’m so gripped by the news and prior to it being reported I was incredibly happy. I wanted to be here in London and build a routine. Now I don’t feel motivated as I don’t think I will be allowed to stay. I have lost hope, I’m reluctant to look towards the future. The idea was to learn English, go to school and get involved in cricket, then eventually get into home designing, but I’m so distracted as it doesn’t seem like I will be able to stay.”
The UK Home Office has confirmed that the first group of migrants will this week be informed of the Government’s intention to relocate them to Rwanda. Migrants who crossed the Channel will be among those to be notified by the Home Office that they face a one-way ticket to the East African nation.
In April, the Government announced the new immigration policy which will see asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats sent for processing to Rwanda, where they will have the right to apply to live. Following the £120 million economic deal being struck, cash for each removal is expected to follow.
*Names have been changed amid safety concerns.
At MyLondon, we want to make sure you get the latest and greatest from across the capital.
And one way you can do that is by getting the best news, reviews and features from wherever you are straight to your inbox with our free email newsletters.
We have seven newsletters you can currently sign up for – including a different one for each part of London, as well as an EastEnders one for all the gossip from Albert Square, and a London Underground one to keep you up to date on the latest transport news.
The local newsletters go out twice a day and send the latest stories straight to your inbox.
From community stories and news covering every borough of London to celebrity and lifestyle stories, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.
To sign up to any of our newsletters, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.
And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.