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17.32 13 Jan 2020


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Thousands of people have signed petitions as part of a campaign to stop the deportation of a family living in Direct Provision in Cork.

The Edmund Rice Schools network has rallied behind the campaign to support the family, which includes four brothers who are current and past pupils of Coláiste Éamann Rís in Cork.

Hamza, Zubair, Umair and Mutjuba Khan, along with their parents and sister, are due to be deported on Thursday.

They have been living in Direct Provision since they arrived in Ireland in 2017 but have been informed that they have been refused international protection here, the network said.

Hamza, the eldest brother, is studying computer science in UCC after he was awarded the UCC Sanctuary Scholarship following his Leaving Certificate last year.

His other brothers are in fifth year, transition year, and second year.

Almost 6,000 people have signed two online petitions set up by Coláiste Éamann Rís and UCC calling for the deportation order to be revoked.

The CEO of Edmund Rice Schools Trust Gerry Bennett said the students were "hard-working, promising academics".

In a statement, he said the network of 96 schools was "saddened" by the decision to deport the family.

He said: “These boys are beating the odds every day by not just attending school but by studying hard and joining in all of the school’s activities.

“Their hope and dream is to be independent and fully contributing members of Irish society.

“This decision will have a catastrophic impact on their education and their emotional wellbeing, particularly as they have already endured the stress of leaving their home country.”

According to the network, the family’s father Mubeen fled to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan to escape persecution in 1982.

However, the family was forced to leave Saudi Arabia in 2017 when they faced deportation to Pakistan.

They are now being deported back to the United Kingdom as it was their first landing point in Europe, even though the family has never lived there, the network said.

The petitions are available on the Change.org website here and here.

Main image: Hamza Khan. Photo: Change.org/UCC Students' Union

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