A petition has been launched to stop UCC first year student Hamza Khan from being deported from Ireland.
Khan, who is a Sanctuary Scholar at UCC studying computer science, is facing deportation from Ireland as early this week along with his parents, sister and three brothers. UCC's Sanctuary Scholar is a scholarship scheme aimed at refugees and asylum seekers.
Hamza arrived in Ireland in 2017 and has been living in direct provision in Cork City. He started studying at UCC in the autumn.
In a statement, UCC's Sanctuary Working Group had nothing but praise for Hamza's contribution to student life at UCC.
In the space of just two and a half years, Hamza’s academic trajectory has been very impressive.
"He made a huge impact on his school, Deerpark CBS (now Coláiste Éamman Rís). Not only did he achieve a strong Leaving Certificate, he won the Most Improved Student award 2018 and Student of the Year award in 2019. Hamza's two younger brothers are current students at Coláiste Éamman Rís.
"In September 2019 Hamza applied for the UCC Sanctuary Scholarship scheme and in September 2019, was ranked among the top applicants and became one of UCC’s second cohort of undergraduate Sanctuary Scholars."
Hamza, whose family originally come from Pakistan, came to Ireland via Saudi Arabia. His family had to leave Saudi Arabia after new laws passed in the Arab state threatened his family with deportation back to Pakistan, where Hamza's mother had fled in the early 1980s.
Today, sadly, we have to ask anyone and everyone reading this to please sign our petition to #SaveHamza who is a computer science student, a Sanctuary Scholar and a part of our UCC Community. Please sign and share.https://t.co/6iItqkIQIn
— Ciara Kealy (@UCCSUDeputy) January 11, 2020
— Kate Stapleton (@KateStapleton_) January 11, 2020
It's incredibly sad to see someone, a Sanctuary Scholar, who is pursuing an education be told they aren't allowed to apply for international protection in Ireland. Please sign the petition calling on Charlie Flanagan stop this deportation order. #SaveHamzahttps://t.co/pnsxrnTkeo https://t.co/QOzZlWjpyX
— Stephen O'Riordan (@Stephen0Riordan) January 11, 2020
— Frank Milling (@TippManInMeath) January 11, 2020
You can sign the petition here. Over 3800 people have signed the petition so far.