'It's not illegal to claim asylum': Former refugee speaks to LBC

25 November 2021, 16:28 | Updated: 29 November 2021, 13:49

Former refugee shares harrowing story with Shelagh Fogarty

By Seán Hickey

This former refugee tells Shelagh Fogarty that the UK needs to give asylum seekers 'due process' following the tragic death of dozens of migrants in the Channel.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Gulwali Passarlay fled Afghanistan and travelled across Europe in the hands of people smugglers. He came to the UK in 2007, gained refugee status after five years and became a British citizen after thirteen.

Read more: 27 migrants die in Channel crossing after 'floating death trap' dinghy deflates

Mr Passarlay is an author and his book The Lightless Sky accounts his perilous journey aged 12 from Afghanistan.

"The focus on deterring, the focus on not allowing people to come with this anti-refugee bill criminalising refugees, penalising them and dehumanising them hasn't worked" he told Shelagh Fogarty.

Read more: RNLI receive outpouring of support for migrant rescue efforts after latest Channel tragedy

"We should give them due process, they have to be treated fairly, not with the two-tier system: the deserving and the undeserving, sadly people have died because of our policies."

Border force patrol the English Channel port in Dover

Read more: Living in Syria 'scarier' than risking life in Channel: LBC speaks to migrants in Calais

Mr Passarlay lived in Kent after arriving in Britain in the back of a lorry. He explained to Shelagh that the only reason he persisted to come to the UK was because his brother lived in Manchester.

"I would have certainly stayed in Italy if it wasn't for my brother."

Read more: Fishermen blocked RNLI boat rescuing migrants, caller tells James O'Brien

"We need to look at more than just the UK don't we?" Shelagh asked, noting that systems in Europe are constantly becoming overwhelmed by the demand put on by the number of people arriving and seeking asylum.

"One in nine people are not in Europe." The former refugee explained.

'Joint patrols' of the Channel between UK and France needed

"Not everyone is coming to Europe...we need to take our fair share. This is a global crisis."

Read more: 'Not just a British problem': UK ready to send ground support to France, minister says

Mr Passarlay added that while the current situation is tragic, the UK's actual processing of asylum seekers has drastically fallen overtime: "When I first came to this country, Britain used to have 60 to 80 thousand asylum applications a year. Now we're down to 30,000."

He went on later to claim that the pressure on French authorities is intense barring out the camps in Calais. "We can't expect them to take all the refugees" he insisted.

Mr Passarlay said that his processing once he eventually arrived in the UK was extremely difficult: "My age was not believed, my nationality was disputed...it was a long process."

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

The Princess of Wales says she edited the photograph that was released to mark Mother's Day.

The insistence that we see Kate is tantamount to stalking, writes Shelagh Fogarty

Caller tells Shelagh his solution to illegal immigration.

LBC caller tells Shelagh Fogarty that the Channel islands are the answer to 'illegal immigration'

'Rishi Sunak chooses to do the self interested party politics': Shelagh Fogarty reflects on Tories' immigration policies

'Rishi Sunak chooses to do the self-interested party politics': Shelagh Fogarty reflects on Tories' migration policies

Shelagh Fogarty

Former Treasury official outlines 'three immediate priorities' likely to be reflected in Autumn Statement

Shelagh Fogarty

Suella Braverman's hardline crime bill seems like she's ‘interviewing' for career at ‘pathetic’ news channels, says caller

Shelagh and caller Sam

Anti-Semitic chants and actions 'delegitimize' pro-Palestinian cause asserts this Shelagh Fogarty caller

Shelagh and Ricardo Dos Santos

'It's sickening': Ricardo Dos Santos speaks to Shelagh Fogarty as two officers sacked over stop and search


Rishi Sunak has 'failed monumentally' to 'humanise' both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict says Israel expert

Shelagh and Callum

Twitter is a 'particularly dangerous' place to get information now says the Centre for Countering Digital Hate

Shelagh and caller Simon

LBC caller details 'disgusting anti-Semitic' act he witnessed, as hate crimes rise in fall out of Israel-Hamas war

Sister of missing Israeli woman

'We hope she's hiding somewhere': Sister of missing Israeli festival goer fears she is being held hostage by Hamas

Distraught caller on Israel-Gaza conflict.

'This is a war against Hamas!': Distraught caller wants Israel and Palestine to take down the 'enemy' together

Shelagh and Alicia Kearns

Head of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee expresses concern over Israeli 'siege of Gaza'

Shelagh Fogarty caller on facial recognition.

This caller lacks 'trust' in the government's handling of the AI facial recognition debate

Shelagh condemns PM's comments on 'dignity' of the elderly.

'He painted a picture of a Britain that the Conservatives meant to build...': Shelagh Fogarty condemns PM's suggestion that elderly have 'dignity'

Shelagh Fogarty on Jenrick

'We're full aren't we?': Shelagh questions Robert Jenrick's motive behind encouraging Brits to increase birth rate