Gay asylum seeker who fled Sudan due to persecution fears deportation from Belfast to Rwanda

UTV News reporter Judith Hill speaks to asylum seekers who say they are living in uncertainty.

An asylum seeker living in Northern Ireland fears he will be deported after he fled persecution in Sudan due to his sexual orientation.

Muhammad, who is gay, fears what life could be like if he was forced onto a deportation flight to Rwanda. 

Asylum seekers in NI have called on the Government to abandon its controversial plan to deport people to the country.

The first flight was cancelled on Tuesday night after a last-ditch legal ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, but the Government insists it will press on with more flights.

Muhammad arrived in Belfast in February, and feels vulnerable to deportation because he arrived after the new policy was introduced.

Speaking via a translator, he told UTV News: "My journey as an asylum seeker has been really long and I've reached a point of fear.

"We are already coming from traumatic situations, and we're now facing the prospect of deportation and uncertainty.

"A lot of people are worried. There have been suicide attempts in the hotels and people trying to escape."

He said the ruling that halted the Rwanda flight was welcomed with emotion by his fellow asylum seekers in NI.

"Yesterday was a stressful day. People were awaiting the court's decision. Tears of joy were shed by some people. People feel hopeful for the future homes and that they're protected.

But Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted the government is acting in an innovative manner to clamp down on people trafficking, and vowed to prepare for more flights.

She told MPs the government could not keep spending millions on hotels, and said the situation was causing pressure on public services.

The latest Home Office figures show over 1,000 asylum seekers are being housed in hotels in Northern Ireland.

Morhaf is a young Sudanese man who has been granted refugee status. 

He supports others who are processing asylum claims, and says many people are living in limbo.

He told UTV News: "People are crammed, families are separated from each other.

"It is very hard for people. This lawsuit will do nothing but create a more hostile environment for asylum seekers and will also create a giant black hole in the public's wallet."

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