Charity chief executive’s father banned from UK

Sabir zazai scottish refugee council

The father of Sabir Zazai has been blocked by the Home Office from seeing the Scottish Refugee Council boss receiving an honour

16th May 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity chief executive has hit out at a decision to ban his father from attending a celebration.

Sabir Zazai, of the Scottish Refugee Council, is set to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow for his services to civil society over the last 20 years in the UK.

However Zazai’s father will not be in attendance at the event after he was barred from entering the country. A letter to Zazai from the Home Office has said it fear his father would not return to Afghanistan if he was allowed to enter the UK.

“I feel that I’m in a high security prison where I’m not allowed family visits,” Zazai said. “I also feel that because of my background as an asylum seeker, my daughters, both British citizens, are being denied their right to a family life because they’re not allowed to meet their grandfather.”

It is not the first time Mohammad Zahir Zazai has been refused permission to visit his son by the Home Office. He was prevented from attending Zazai’s graduation from the University of Coventry in November 2013 and from attending his 40th birthday and his granddaughter’s fifth birthday.

The Scottish Refugee Council released a statement in support of their chief executive.

Chairman Peter Lloyd said: “For the University of Glasgow to bestow such a degree on Sabir and in doing so recognising the contribution of everybody at Scottish Refugee Council is a very special honour. For the Home Office to prevent his father attending adds a sour note to the proceedings and is a shameful insult to the university.

“We know that Sabir is not alone in being confronted with seemingly arbitrary decision making around visitor visas to the UK. But it is particularly sad for all of us who know Sabir as a colleague and friend to witness the deep hurt this has caused him and his family in what should be a proud moment in his life.

“The board of Scottish Refugee Council along with our friends at the University of Glasgow and others are challenging this manifestly unfair decision in the expectation that it will be corrected as a matter of urgency.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are urgently looking into this case and will be in touch with the applicant in due course.”