‘I don’t want to be isolated in another country,’ says Syrian refugee in Rwandan asylum program

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Alaa Al-Heraki arrived in Glasgow five months ago, where he has an aunt and uncle, after a grueling eight-month journey across Europe, including a treacherous trip in a small boat across the English Channel, from where he was rescued by the British authorities.

Under the new government program, Damascus University student Mr Al-Heraki, 24, who fled Syria due to war and forced conscription into the Syrian army, would be considered as “inadmissible”, as it arrived in the UK by non-legal means. rather than through an approved visa system. Therefore, if he were to arrive once the arrangements were in place, he would have been sent to Rwanda.

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He called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to understand the plight of refugees fleeing war.

Migrants arrive at the Port of Dover after being picked up from the channel by Border Force yesterday in Dover, England.

He said, “Has she been in the same situation as a refugee or an asylum seeker? Did she go through all that stress and trauma, or did she have gunfire phobia? I would like her to think about it, because it is very important.

“She can’t see that it won’t make any difference and won’t stop people from leaving their country. If there is war, people want to flee their country to seek protection and find a safe country.”

Mr. Al-Heraki decided to leave his hometown of Damascus due to the continuing danger resulting from the war.

He embarked on an eight-month journey, which saw him travel through Turkey and by boat to Italy, then on foot to France, before taking a second boat to the UK.

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He said: “It was a small crowded boat. There were ladies with children, who were terrified of being in the sea and it was very cold. At one point the high tide was so high that we We were about to sink into the sea. Fortunately, we were rescued by the British authorities.

After two months of Mr Al-Heraki staying with his relatives in Glasgow, he applied for government housing and was surprised to be moved to Sheffield, where he is waiting for his application to be processed in a hotel with hundreds of other refugees.

He said: “Even being sent to Sheffield, away from my family, it’s very lonely, I’m alone. We’ve all been very worried about this plan for Rwanda and hearing about it today has been terrible. .”

He said he read about the instability in Rwanda, which experienced a civil war in the 1990s, as well as the 1994 genocide. Although the country has had a much more stable situation in recent years, there are also had recent tensions with neighboring countries. Uganda, which led to it closing its border with the country in 2019. The border only reopened earlier this year.

“I read that there was fighting in Rwanda and killings,” Mr Al-Heraki said. “The country is not a stable country. I left Syria because my country was in the midst of a civil war. I don’t want to go back to the same way of thinking, or the same life without security, as I would feel in Rwanda if I went there.

“I came to the UK to seek safety and protection and to work and help the economy in the UK, it’s not available there in Rwanda.

“I don’t want to be isolated in another country, I came to the UK because it’s a safe country and also my uncle and my aunt are here, which gives me a better situation. I don’t want to go be isolated elsewhere or in another country.”

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