Deaf six-year-old boy threatened with removal given a last-minute reprieve

Wednesday 18 January 2017

A six-year-old profoundly deaf boy from Iraq, who the Home Office planned to remove, from the UK has been given a last minute-reprieve. The boy is being represented by Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers.

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Lawand Hamadamin was born profoundly deaf and has had limited exposure to language since birth. He arrived in the UK in a traumatised state after fleeing his home in Northern Iraq with his family, travelling by boat to Greece and living for a year in a camp in Dunkirk where his cochlear implant was broken, meaning he lived for a period of time in a completely silent world with no means of communication. His final journey to the UK involved travelling for over 10 hours in darkness in a lorry from France. He has, since his arrival, been enrolled at the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby where, for the first time, he is learning to communicate, and where he is making significant progress.

The Home Office has refused and certified Lawand’s asylum and human rights claim under Dublin III Regulations and has proposed to remove him and his family to Germany. He was due to be removed from Heathrow on Monday 16th January but his removal was cancelled after an urgent application was lodged with the Upper Tribunal on Friday 13th January. His substantive case will now be considered in the coming weeks.

The Headteacher of The Royal School for the Deaf in Derby, Helen Shepherd has said:

"We are delighted that the decision to deport the family has been postponed. Lawand has made exceptional progress in the few months he has been with us and both staff and parents were devastated that he might have to leave us. When Lawand arrived at the school in September he had no means of communicating with anyone, even his own family. Today he is signing incredibly well and we are very proud of him.

"He has made good friends who he is able to communicate with, he has grown both physically and in confidence and has completely exceeded all our expectations. Lawand has been through a great deal for someone so young. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be detrimental to his health and well-being to remove him from this setting now.”

The case has been reported extensively in the press, including by the BBC, The Telegraph and The Times. You can watch an interview with Lawand here via ITV news.

Gráinne Mellon is a public law specialist with expertise in immigration law, education and discrimination law and children’s rights. She was instructed in this case by Aisha Abdul Latif of Fountain Solicitors.

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