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Sanctuary Ambassador op-ed: Big sadness about fleeing to the UK

This article has been written by Ernest Zhanaev, our newest Sanctuary Ambassador.

The asylum system in the United Kingdom does not welcome refugees arriving for protection. It rather drags them through its eternal abrasive corridor of numerous checks, exhausting interviews, and long waiting.

The whole process is accompanied by hunger, homelessness, and humiliation, and is completed with condemnation to torture or even death of refugees in their homelands in unsuccessful cases which constitutes the absolute majority of assessed asylum applications.

This system treats refugees as criminals simply for applying for asylum.

Some people want to introduce new rules harsh enough to be called cruel. They would only be pleased with the initiative to deport refugees, or “remove” them, as the bureaucracy so eloquently indicates, as if a human is a blemish on the untarnished body of proud Britain.

Needless to say, this Nationality and Borders bill that supposedly aims to eliminate modern slavery already is pushing some asylum seekers into hiding, putting them at risk of exploitation.

The establishment can only congratulate itself for inventing classes among underclasses as the refugees will be divided on how they arrived in the UK.

Having secured protection, which is temporary, refugees are obliged to prove they are still persecuted, or their former home countries are not safe to return to.

The whole asylum procedure is now built to cause as much pain as possible.

Is there no longer any power to international human rights law so vigorously drafted and promoted by the UK in the aftermath of the Holocaust?

Although I was trapped in the grinder of legal procedures, fortunately, I met kind and merciful people. And the lawyers were among them. I feel very sorry that lawyers in the UK who specialised in immigration are routinely smeared by the government just for doing their job of upholding the laws and human rights principles and being targeted.

When interviewed as a refugee I was asked questions designed to uncover my economic background and perspectives of me as an applicant to find out if I would be better off staying in my home country rather than in the UK. Persecution was a secondary thing to ask.

The adopted and planned procedures were condemned by the leading human rights groups, movements, and religious institutions for lack of ethics and morality.

Some people would call it institutionalised racism.

The “never again” moral principles set after WWII are becoming a negligible option for the UK Government. These are extraordinary times we are living in.

Learn more about Sanctuary Ambassadors here.