Mo Farah’s experience highlights need for safe routes for all asylum seekers

Sir Mo Farah revealed last night that he was illegally brought into the UK by people traffickers as a young child and forced to work as a domestic servant.

In a documentary by the BBC and Red Bull Studios, the four-time Olympic gold medallist explained how he was given the name Mohamed Farah by the woman who flew him over from Djibouti, but his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. 

Farah had previously said he came to Britain with his family as a refugee from Somalia, but his parents have never been to the UK. His father was killed when Farah was four during civil violence in Somaliland. 

The Home Office announced last night that no action would be taken against Sir Mo.

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, said, 

“Sir Mo Farah has demonstrated incredible courage in telling his story, particularly as the UK government continues to promote hostility towards people who arrive in Britain by unauthorised routes to escape war, famine and persecution. 

“Regardless of his achievements and status, his experience highlights the need for safe and legal routes for all people seeking asylum, not unworkable and inhumane schemes like the government’s Rwanda plan which punishes the victims of human trafficking rather than its perpetrators.”

The UK government has closed safe and legal routes for refugees and asylum seekers.

  • The Government closed the 'Dubs scheme' for unaccompanied refugee children elsewhere in Europe after resettling just 480 children
  • The Government closed the UK's refugee resettlement schemes in March 2020. In July 2019, it announced a new 'global resettlement scheme' to replace these schemes from 2020, but it has not yet opened the new scheme or committed any funding for refugee resettlement beyond 2021-22
  • The Government has chosen to withdraw the UK from the Dublin System, which enables people applying for asylum in the EU to be reunited with their family members in another member state
  • Unlike almost every EU country, the UK does not allow unaccompanied child refugees to sponsor family members to join them
  • In December 2020, the Government changed the rules governing asylum applications so the Home Office can declare claims inadmissible if the applicant has passed through or has a connection to a 'safe third country' - even if that country refuses to readmit them; this is a breach of the UK's commitments under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention