Abdul, 30, from Burma living in the UK

“From the beginning, nothing was clear to me.”

Abdul is a Rohingya from Burma.  He is stateless, so cannot return to Burma or Bangladesh.  Despite this, when he claimed asylum he was placed on the Detained Fast Track

Fast Track asylum process in detention
There are a lot of people in detention, almost 700 people. Some have been here for few months and some for over a year.

It has been five months now.  I was first arrested on September 26th 2012, then I was transferred to a detention centre.  This is the first time.

After my asylum interview with the Home Office on December 6th, I was told by the immigration officer that I am on Fast Track. Then my solicitor got in touch with me and assured me that I will be taken off it. Before the interview I had no clue about it, it was only after I was told about it by the immigration officer that I got to know about Fast Track. It was very sudden. In the afternoon they came and asked me to get ready as I have an interview at 2 pm. I was caught off guard.  And from the beginning nothing was clear to me.

Waiting in detention
I remember, a few days ago someone in my neighbouring room felt dizzy and fell down. He was lying on the floor and when the guard came in, instead of helping him, the guard started laughing.  The guard casually said “I have seen people faking it like this.”  And then, thankfully, he was taken to the doctor.

I just can’t sleep. I have this constant tension bogging me down.

I end up having only dinner sometimes. If I am very hungry I go to the shop located inside the centre and buy noodles, add hot water and have it.  In the evening I visit the office once again, just to see if I got something. I also try calling up the solicitor to find out about my case.

I am an orphan and have no family. But I do have a lot of friends, or actually did have a lot of friends.  But after being detained, their attitudes have changed. When I call them they don’t pick up, and when they do, they seem to be in a hurry. Probably they think I will ask them for some favours.  But I just want to talk, I don’t really need any help. After being ignored a couple of times, I have stopped calling them.

No place to go
If I am asked which place I consider home, I would have to say Burma. In spite of the fact that Burma won’t have me back, I would still call it my home. It’s strange, but I really have no place to go, I don’t have anything in Bangladesh either, I don’t have anything in India. I know I don’t really have anything in Burma too, but that’s where spent my childhood. But I can’t go back there now.  In Burma I have no future.

I am waiting for such a long time and wasting my days in the centre not doing anything productive. I would really request the authorities to not keep anyone like this, for so long in detention.

13 years in the UK
Still undocumented and unreturnable because of statelessness