Cork asylum seeker ends hunger strike after 'assurances' he would not be deported

Hunger striker Nadim Hussain, originally from India, issued a plea "to those in power" to grant him refugee status from his hospital bed in Cork University Hospital this lunchtime
Cork asylum seeker ends hunger strike after 'assurances' he would not be deported

Nadim Hussain on day 6 of his hunger strike earlier this week.

An asylum seeker has ended his nine-day hunger strike after receiving assurances from the Department of Justice that he would not be deported.

Nadim Hussain, 34, who is originally from India, but who has been denied refugee status here began his hunger strike in a bid to remain in the State.

The Twitter page Abolish Direct Provision Campaign shared a video of Nadim thanking people for their support.

“Thank you every one of Ireland for helping me,” he said.

“Just know, my legal team has informed me that the Minister of Justice has given assurance that I will not be deported.”

Earlier, Nadim issued an emotional plea "to those in power" to grant him refugee status from his hospital bed in Cork University Hospital (CUH) this lunchtime.

"My stomach is in pain, I am very weak, my head is spinning but I am prepared to keep going until I die, unless I get my papers," Nadim said.

"The doctors have told me to eat and take fluids but I am prepared to die.

"I am on painkillers and the doctors say I now have pancreatitis.

"To everyone in power, to the Minister for Justice, please help me.

"And if I die, I want to donate my organs to the Irish community."

Rallies

Anti deportation rallies were set up in Cork and Dublin at lunchtime to highlight his plight. 

Mr Hussain worked as a hospital security guard in Cork during the pandemic.

He changed jobs later and was classed as an essential worker in a food-related business during level five lockdown.

But last month, Mr Hussain received a letter from the International Protection Appeal Tribunal (IPat) which affirmed a recommendation that he should be refused a declaration as a refugee and subsidiary protection status.

He embarked on his hunger strike on October 13 and told the Irish Examiner that he felt he had no other option to focus attention on his plight.

“I am vomiting, my head is spinning, my stomach is spinning. I am feeling that I will die in one or two days.”

He was visited by a GP at the Kinsale Road direct provision centre last night where he was in a very weakened state having refused food for over a week.

Following a physical examination, an ambulance was requested and he was taken to Cork University Hospital where he is receiving treatment.

In a statement today, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) said it is concerned for his well-being.

It has urged the Minister for Justice to expedite the Section 49 review process with a view of granting him permission to remain.

It also reiterated its call made earlier for the government to grant long-term residency (permission to remain) to all frontline workers with a precarious immigration permission in the State and workers without immigration permission.

“Receiving a negative decision in the international protection process has deeply negative effects on a person’s mental well-being,” a spokesman said.

“There are people who have died on foot of a negative decision in large part because of the traumatic experiences people have been through in their home countries. Thoughts of being forced to return to sites of trauma are themselves traumatic.

“It is also important to remember that 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.

“A hunger strike is an appeal to the good conscience of those who have the power to effect positive change.

“It is also an appeal to the collective conscience of Irish society to reflect on how asylum seekers are treated.” 

Legal aid

It also called on the government to provide legal aid for asylum seekers to challenge IPO and IPAT decisions in the High Court. “Absence of legal recourse leads to tragic circumstances for people who are directly affected by these decisions,” it said.

“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.” 

The Irish Refugee Council has also called on the government to address Mr Hussain's situation urgently and before his health further deteriorates.

“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,” it said.

Mr Hussain’s parents were killed in anti-Muslim riots in West Begnal in 2018. He fears his life would be in danger if he returns to India.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne, said earlier this week that a negative decision on an appeal from IPat is not the final stage in the international protection process.

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