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Don’t deport us back to Iraq

PLEA: Yosra Taleb Abdalla and Usamah Ather Ali with children Yosef Usamah Ather and Shams Usamah Ather. They are worried that they will be deported from Belfast back to Iraq PLEA: Yosra Taleb Abdalla and Usamah Ather Ali with children Yosef Usamah Ather and Shams Usamah Ather. They are worried that they will be deported from Belfast back to Iraq
By Ciara Quinn

TWO junior Iraqi doctors who fled their war-torn nation due to death threats made to one of their lives, say they hope the Home Office will reconsider its decision to imminently deport them due to complications with their visa.

Speaking from their home off Lisburn Road’s Chadwick Street, Yosra Taleb Abdalla who shares the property with her husband Usamah Ather Ali and two young children – one of whom is aged just 20 months – explained how she and Ali had been working as junior doctors when Ali, who worked for the Ministry for Defence in Baghdad, received a threat to his life.

“We applied for a visa to Dublin and then went onto Belfast,” said Yosra. “We have been here nearly three years, from the beginning of January 2016.”

Yosra continued: “The people here have been extremely kind to us and the children enjoy the multicultural side of life.

“We feel safe here, we are safe here; we feel that no-one can hurt us here.”

Yosra explained how the Home Office decision, which was made in late July, refused the family’s submission for asylum and to date the family have received no further correspondence as to when they have to leave the country.

As both Yosra and Ali have not successfully secured asylum neither can work, leaving the family in limbo.

“We fear we will forget all we have learned in our profession,” said Yosra. “It is our hope to work.

“We were doctors in our home country, we were living a normal life, and now we are here trying to live our lives. We don’t know what to expect from the future. Our youngest is only 20 months old and our son is going to be four in November.

“We want a chance to prove ourselves and return to our normal life as we are very frustrated with the way things are and for our young family. It is a extremely stressful time for us and we would ask the Home Office for further reconsideration.”

South Belfast MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who has been supporting the family, said he would be asking the Home Office to look again at their case and allow the young family to remain in the city where they have been embraced by the local community.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Each asylum application is carefully considered on its merits against background country information to ensure that only genuine claims are granted.

“Where a decision has been made that a person does not require international protection, and there are no remaining rights of appeal or obstacles to their return, we expect individuals to return voluntarily to their home country.

“The Home Office’s full range of country policy and information notes (CPINs) is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/country-information-and-guidance.”

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