Paddy: Dishonouring service of Afghan interpreters is our worst act of shame

Paddy Ashdown condemned the Government after an Afghan interpreter, Nangyalai Dawoodzai, who had to leave his country after spending 3 years helping the British forces for, killed himself after being told his application for asylum in the UK had failed and he would be returned to Italy, the first European country he had arrived in.

From the Guardian:

The 29-year-old, who paid people smugglers to reach the UK, was told his request for asylum in Britain had been rejected when it was found he had been fingerprinted in Italy on arrival in Europe, according to the Daily Mail.

Under the EU’s Dublin regulation, aimed at preventing multiple asylum claims by individuals, Dawoodzai had to pursue his claim in the first country he applied in.

Faced with being sent back to Italy to claim political asylum there he killed himself, a fellow translator told the newspaper.

Paddy, who has long campaigned for these interpreters to be allowed to settle here, was understandably furious.

Lord Ashdown, who has championed the cause of Afghan war interpreters for years, said their treatment was scandalous.

It wrenches your heart out sideways. Here is a man who served in Helmand, probably on the frontline, who did it day in and day out for British troops, no going back home every six months, whose family were not tucked away safe but was in the community.

[He] then had to leave Afghanistan because of death threats and because we would not honour our commitment to him, and travels across half the world to get to us. Made the mistake of being fingerprinted in Italy and then struggles to get across the Channel, we don’t know how he did it, and is then going to get sent back.

As an act of shame in our nation dishonouring the service these people have given, I can’t think of a worse one,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

How can we ever expect people to help us when we treat them like this? It seems very unjust to accept someone’s help and then just dump them. We should have given them the right to settle from the start. Liberal Democrats made the same point with the Gurkhas, fighting for them to be allowed to settle.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th May '16 - 4:31pm

    Outrageous ! A significant part of why my view on immigration, is we should limit the so called needs of the economy argument, in favour of needs of the society,and the far more important reason to allow an immigrant to settle , a connection with this country !

    My late father , having , along with his generation ,in Italy , been forced to be a member of the Mussolini Youth , saluting the very man , went on to support the partisans and join the British Military police in Trieste .Several years later he settled here !

    The poor man at the centre of the article should have been able to apply on the basis of service .We are turning applications to settle into an economic competition and a grubby pay your way in with a big salary all nicely secured .Disgrace !

  • Absolutely atrocious treatment of a man who helped Britain.

  • Katerina Porter 5th May '16 - 11:34pm

    I happened to know some Romanians who helped us against the Germans during the War, were imprisoned – and tortured – by the Communists after the War. When they were finally released they were given British nationality, jobs in UK, rights to pensions.
    This was not unusual. That was then. Why not now? And of course so short sighted as
    with that kind of story people will be reluctant to work for us when we will undoubtedly need them somewhere sometime.

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