On 4 March, 2016, the Court of Appeal judges lifted the ban on the deportation to Afghanistan of Afghan nationals. The ban had been imposed in August 2015 to reflect concerns regarding the safety of returnees, including young people who had arrived in the UK as children, but were liable for deportation on reaching 18 if their asylum claims were not supported.
Ruling on the case HN and SA (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court was not judging the security situation in Afghanistan in general, or for the specific appellants, but rather were ruling on the legal process. As the press release from Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who represented the appellants, states, the security situation in Afghanistan has worsened since last year, and this should be evaluated before deportations are resumed. Toufique Hossain, the Duncan Lewis solicitor, makes clear than new claims will now be made following the Court of Appeal ruling.
The plight of young Afghans threatened with deportation once they reach 18 has been a key focus of the Uncertain Journeys series. Sue Clayton was a consultant for Divya Talwar’s BBC report on how the fear of deportation has led to many individuals going into hiding. This means that they live in constant fear of being picked up by the police and are unable to lead a settled life with family, friends and work. As Divya highlights in her report, this does not represent ‘a life’, but as Hikmat replies, he has no family or life in Afghanistan.
See BBC News item ‘The young Afghans hiding to avoid deportation’, and the film shown on the Victoria Derbyshire Show.