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Afghan teen commits suicide in UK after fear of deportation

Afgan refugees wait to be processed after arriving on an evacuation flight from Afghanistan, at Heathrow Airport, London on 26 August 2021. [DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Afgan refugees wait to be processed after arriving on an evacuation flight from Afghanistan, at Heathrow Airport, London on 26 August 2021. [DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

A teenager who arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied minor has committed suicide believing he might be deported back to Afghanistan after his eighteenth birthday.

The 19-year-old, who has not been named on request of his family members who fear for their safety back home, was found dead at home in Birmingham on 21 April.

A senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Louise Hunt, concluded that he committed suicide.

The teenager arrived in the UK when he was just 13, after fleeing persecution back home in Afghanistan and applied for asylum.

He was granted temporary leave to remain until he turned 18 and was told that he would have to apply again.

The boy's personal advisor Stacy Clifford told the Guardian that he was upset "because he hadn't heard from his solicitor about his immigration case" and feared that he would not be allowed to stay in the UK.

It is thought that he was a victim of modern slavery after he worked unpaid in a pizza shop.

READ: EU should work to save lives, not punish asylum seekers, think tanks say

In August, the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan highlighted the plight of Afghan refugees in the UK as videos emerged of people trying to escape the country.

The UK government has since announced it will resettle 20,000 Afghans in the UK whilst critics have said this is nowhere near enough.

Charities have warned that many will attempt to arrive in the UK using irregular routes, such as the Channel crossing, at the hands of traffickers because they have no other choice to seek safety.

This young boy's claim predates the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the fate of Afghan refugees in the UK has long been an issue.

The Home Office has previously refused asylum to Afghan refugees and used monthly charter flights to return Afghans who have had their claims rejected.

Immigration lawyer Jamie Bell commented to the Guardian in August that Afghan refugees have had a "lengthy uphill battle to be recognised as refugees."

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