Kamil Ahmad, a disabled man, fled his home in Kurdistan, having been tortured and imprisoned. He arrived in Bristol, in 2012, hoping to find peace and safety. Instead, his application for asylum was refused, and on 7th July 2016 he was murdered.
There has been a murder trial and a safeguarding review. Of course those responsible need to be held to account and lessons need to be learned. However, it is important to recognise that Kamil was failed long before this period.
In this short film, Kamil speaks of his experiences four years before he was murdered. Some of his experiences may have been the result of oversights (which is bad enough) but others are the result of deliberate policy. The hostile environment is designed to be hostile.
We can, and should, blame the government for many things, but until now the government has known that removing rights from asylum seekers, and particularly disabled asylum seekers, will not cause protests. That is our collective responsibility and that is in our power to change.
On 29th June, an event will be held in Bristol, in honour of Kamil, Bijan and other disabled asylum seekers and refugees who have been failed by the system. The event is supported by disabled peoples organisations, the asylum sector, trade unions, mosques, and many allies. At a time of such sadness and anger there is also determination to build a broader movement of real solidarity, to begin to address the systemic change which is needed.