16 Aug 2022

Asylum seeker in Cork says his 'life is in danger' as he continues hunger strike to avoid deportation

Asylum seeker in Cork says his 'life is in danger' as he enters 6th day of hunger strike

Nadim Hussain came to Ireland from India after his parents were killed during a conflict in March of 2018.

An asylum seeker based in Cork says his "life is in danger" as he takes part in a hunger strike with the aim of staying in Ireland and avoiding being deported to India.

Nadim Hussain came to Ireland from India after his parents were killed during a conflict in March of 2018.

He applied for refugee status in Ireland and was placed in the Direct Provision system while awaiting approval.

Hussain was then informed that he was not eligible for refugee status from the government, and is yet to receive permission to remain in Ireland.

He began his hunger strike last Thursday October 14th, and his condition has rapidly deteriorated since. His progress has been documented in photos posted to his Twitter account.

His GP has informed him that his kidneys have started to fail and his condition could be fatal if he continues the strike for another three days.

When asked why he chose hunger striking as a form of protest, he said that he was inspired by the Irish hunger strikers and their "strike for freedom" and that this strike "is for [his] freedom".

He encouraged those in government to read the messages of support that people have sent in response to his progress pictures each day. 

Both the Irish Refugee Council and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) are also urging the Irish government to act.

A spokesperson for the Irish Refugee Council told Cork newspaper The Echo on Thursday:

“We call on Government to address Mr. Hussain’s situation as soon as possible and before his health further deteriorates. We are very concerned about his welfare and health, more than seven days into a hunger strike.

“We have repeatedly called for people who worked in the healthcare sector during the pandemic to be offered permission to remain as an exceptional recognition of their contribution to Irish society. We wrote to Ministers Humphreys and Browne on Wednesday morning requesting that permission to remain be granted.”

MASI noted: "Ireland does not provide legal aid for an asylum seeker to challenge the appeal tribunal’s decisions in the high court. Thus, people like Mr. Hussain who may well have a winnable case end up being unjustly served with expulsion notices."

The group added: "MASI wishes to express solidarity with Nadim and all other frontline workers who face potential expulsion from the State after putting their lives on the line throughout the pandemic."

On October 19, TD Mick Barry raised Hussain's story in the Dáil, and urged James Browne, Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice, and Immigration, to take action.

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