Derby

Deaf child migrant, 6, threatened with deportation

Lawand Hamadamin
Image caption Lawand Hamadamin was born profoundly deaf and has been learning to sign in the UK

A six-year-old deaf boy who fled Iraq with his family to escape the Islamic State (IS) group is being threatened with deportation.

Lawand Hamadamin came to the UK after spending a year in a refugee camp in France.

Staff at the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby where Lawand is a pupil were "heartbroken", the head teacher said.

The Home Office would not comment on the deportation, but said the family would receive asylum in Germany.

'Understandably devastated'

The boy and his family said they fled northern Iraq after IS threatened to kill disabled children.

They first landed in Greece, but moved on to Germany and eventually to a refugee camp in Dunkirk, France. They then hid in the back of a lorry to get to the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Where there is evidence that an asylum seeker is the responsibility of another European country we will seek to return them there.

"It is only fair that we do not shoulder the burden of asylum claims that should rightly be considered by other countries.

"Asylum seekers should claim in the first safe country they arrive in," a Home Office spokesman said.

Image copyright DeafKidz International
Image caption Lawand and his family lived in a refugee camp in France before coming to the UK illegally

Lawand's school said his mother, father and nine-year-old brother have received notification from the Home Office that they may face deportation in January.

Head teacher Helen Shepherd said: "Lawand's family are understandably devastated that they are being deported, especially since he has made such extraordinary progress in the few months he has been with us.

"When Lawand arrived at the school in September he had no means of communicating with anyone - even his own family.

She added he has now made "exceptional progress".

He is awaiting for a hospital appointment to replace a cochlear implant after his first one broke.

Steve Crump of DeafKidz International, which helped Lawand while he was in France, said: "Disability and deafness is seen as a 'curse' [in Iraq] and it is highly likely that Lawand and his family would be persecuted or at best marginalised."

Mrs Shepherd said: "Being profoundly deaf is enormously challenging for any child, but Lawand has had to overcome so many more challenges in his short life."

Image caption Head teacher Helen Shepherd said Lawand has made excellent progress since coming to the school

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