IRELAND: I was subjected to torture for 3 years – claims Zim asylum seeker

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By UK Correspondent & Agencies

IRELAND: An asylum seeker has claimed that he was subjected to torture for three years, adding that sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin was better than sleeping in a house in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean, only identified as Kal, reportedly arrived in Dublin last Friday at a time asylum seekers described sleeping rough on the streets, following the closure of an emergency shelter by the government.

The transit hub was closed after reaching capacity, which also followed a shortage of accommodation options across the country.

Kal told local media that he slept on a floor in a room with around 40 other people after being bussed there last night.

“We were given sleeping bags, food and bathrooms just for the night,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’m going back there or if they’re going to give us other accommodation. I’m not sure what’s going to happen at all.

“But I see it as better than where I was. [In Zimbabwe], a lot is happening. People are disappearing. I’ve been subjected to torture for three years.

“Maybe here I might get some medical attention. After the torture and everything that happened me, I now have a lot of problems.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t mind sleeping on the street here; better than sleeping in a house and waking up dead [in Zimbabwe].

“I went through a lot even to get here. It’s tough stuff, but I’m grateful that at least the government is able to welcome me and will try and see where they can assist me.”

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) alleged that Ireland was in “clear breach” of its international obligations by leaving asylum seekers to sleep rough.

In a statement, the commission said it had written to Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman saying it is “deeply concerned” at the situation and called on the Government to “use all of the powers at its disposal to address” the matter.

The Irish Refugee Council’s chief executive Nick Henderson described the situation as “extremely serious” and said IHREC’s statement was “very important”.

“Some people are presenting with health issues and because they are now having to sleep rough, they’re extremely distressed,” he told RTÉ’s News at One programme.

“So it’s an extremely serious situation and it’s a very important intervention from the State’s national human rights institution.”