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Khan family case to be reviewed

Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 5:12pm

Students in Coláiste Éamann Rís in Cork city are celebrating instead of protesting today as three of their fellow pupils received news last night that the Justice Minister is to review their asylum applications.

The Khan family were facing deportation to the UK today but a last minute phone call on Wednesday night from An Tánaiste Simon Coveney to the school confirmed that his party colleague Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is to review their case.

The eldest brother, Hamza, is a former pupil of Coláiste Éamann Rís, where his three younger brothers, Zubair, Umair and Mutjuba, are currently students. In mid-December the family were notified that their application for international protection was rejected, but were unable to contact the relevant departments which had all closed for Christmas.

A protest had been planned for today but instead the school has decided to celebrate with the Acting Principal Aaron Wolfe adding that the event has brought their school community ever closer.

He said: “Our school community has been overwhelmed by the support and kindness shown to us and the Khans at this very difficult time.

“To see lines of our student queueing to sign our petition to keep the Khans embodies all that is special and unique about our wonderful school. I am so proud of our students for demonstrating such kindness and compassion for their fellow students.”

He said that the Khan family were “overjoyed” and they thanked the people of Ireland for coming to their aid in their time of need.

The school, along with the Edmund Rice Schools Trust and UCC, thanked An Tánasite Simon Coveney, Minister Charlie Flanagan and Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire for their help.

 

Previously

Last Friday 10 January, the family received a letter saying they were to present themselves to the Emigration Bureau in Dublin at 2pm today.

Before their arrival in Cork, the Khan family fled persecution in Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. However the Saudi government introduced harsh new laws discriminating against foreign nationals. They have been living in Direct Provision since 2017.

Coláiste Éamann Rís is part of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, a network of 96 schools across the country, which has expressed its consternation at the decision to deport the Khan brothers and their family.

In a statement, CEO of Edmund Rice Schools Trust, Gerry Bennett said: “We are really saddened by this decision. These boys are beating the odds every day by not just attending school but by studying hard and joining in all of the school’s activities. They are fully immersed in school life at Coláiste Éamann Rís and the school is fully committed to them. This decision will have a catastrophic impact on their education and their emotional wellbeing.”

Following his Leaving Certificate, Hamza was awarded a scholarship under the UCC Sanctuary Scholarship programme. The programme offers undergrad courses for asylum seekers and refugees ineligible for state funded schemes or grants. The UCC Sanctuary Working Group has made a direct appeal to Minster Flanagan to prevent Hamza from being deported.

The appeal said: “We have a mission to make UCC a place that welcomes asylum seekers and refugees, and to help others learn about what it means to seek sanctuary. As educators and advocates, the Working Group know that the removal of Hamza and his family from the state would put an end to their meaningful access to higher education.”

In a statement, Cork North Central TD Mick Barry said: “It would be an act of brutality on the part of the state if their family were to be deported. I will be appealing to the Minister for Justice to intervene here to prevent any deportation of this family.”

Before their arrival in Cork, the Khan family fled persecution in Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. However the Saudi government introduced harsh new laws discriminating against foreign nationals. They have been living in Direct Provision since 2017.

Coláiste Éamann Rís is part of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, a network of 96 schools across the country, which has expressed its consternation at the decision to deport the Khan brothers and their family.

In a statement, CEO of Edmund Rice Schools Trust, Gerry Bennett said: “We are really saddened by this decision. These boys are beating the odds every day by not just attending school but by studying hard and joining in all of the school’s activities. They are fully immersed in school life at Coláiste Éamann Rís and the school is fully committed to them. This decision will have a catastrophic impact on their education and their emotional wellbeing.”

Following his Leaving Certificate, Hamza was awarded a scholarship under the UCC Sanctuary Scholarship programme. The programme offers undergrad courses for asylum seekers and refugees ineligible for state funded schemes or grants. The UCC Sanctuary Working Group has made a direct appeal to Minster Flanagan to prevent Hamza from being deported.

The appeal said: “We have a mission to make UCC a place that welcomes asylum seekers and refugees, and to help others learn about what it means to seek sanctuary. As educators and advocates, the Working Group know that the removal of Hamza and his family from the state would put an end to their meaningful access to higher education.”

In a statement, Cork North Central TD Mick Barry said: “It would be an act of brutality on the part of the state if their family were to be deported. I will be appealing to the Minister for Justice to intervene here to prevent any deportation of this family.”

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