Mohamed is from Somalia. He fled the civil war that has been going on there since 1991. He is a member of a small clan, which cannot protect itself from the larger clans who are in control. Mohamed was lucky – he was granted refugee status by the Home Office. But he had had to leave his family behind – his wife, his four young daughters, and two young nephews who had been been part of his family for many years following the death of their parents. When Mohamed first arrived in the UK he did not know where his family was – he was overjoyed when he learnt that they were in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
As a refugee, Mohamed has the right to family reunion – his wife and children should be allowed to join him in the UK. Mohamed’s wife and children went to the British Embassy in Addis Ababa to apply for visas to come to the UK. The applications were refused by the Embassy, who did not believe that Mohamed’s wife and children were really related to him, as they had no birth or marriage certificates. The Embassy refused to carry out DNA tests. This is often a problem for people from Somalia, who rarely have official documents as there is no functioning government. With the help of GMIAU, Mohamed’s wife and children appealed against the decision. We helped them to obtain the necessary DNA evidence to prove the family relationships. The appeals were successful, and the family has now been reunited in the UK.