“We came to look for a safe place to live”: nineteen Syrian refugees speak from Brook House IRC

This statement was given by a group of 19 people from Syria, currently detained in Brook House IRC. Their ages range between 18 and 45. 

We just want to tell the world that we are not criminals. We came to look for a safe place to live. We left Syria to escape war. We came here, and they asked us to sign on – but while we were doing that, they arrested us, they detained us. 

Lawyers are speaking to us but no-one is being released. Other people are being released, but the Syrians are not. They released a couple Yemeni people yesterday, and the day before a couple others. 

The lawyers are charging us money, but how can we pay?  We are refugees. We are not allowed to work.

We came across the channel over the water. We came with Iraqis and Yemenis.  The Syrians are the smallest group of people. We all came by crossing the water.

We knew we could die on that trip. We risked our lives to reach the UK, a land of  humanity, of freedom, democracy and human rights. 

We haven’t eaten for six days. There are a lot of people who are not eating from the mental state they are in. We are not sleeping. We are not in a good place.

The things we have gone through, and the way our mental state has been tested, you’d be surprised that we are functioning human beings. 

We have traveled a long way. We are all going through the same thing right now. The same pain.

We are requesting to not be sent back to Spain.


– 19 people from Syria, speaking from Brook House detention center. Ages range between 18 and 45. Anonymity maintained for fear of repercussions. 


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