Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) has started a petition advocating against the deportation of DCU student Mehwish Saquib. Saquib is currently living in Ireland in direct provision after having fled Pakistan eight years ago.
The petition is directed towards the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, and states that if Saquib is deported “she will be faced with death threats from the very people who drove her out of the country eight years ago”.
Currently, Saqib is a third year student at DCU where she studies Early Childhood Education. She was accepted to study at DCU under the University of Sanctuary scholarship scheme. According to the petition statement, she lives in Ireland with her husband and their three children.
In the statement, DCUSU wrote: “Like all students, [Saqib] should be afforded the right to complete the studies she has thrived in thus far. Despite her challenging living circumstances in direct provision, she has overcome great odds to advance academically. She has contributed so much to this country and has aspirations of continuing to do so, passing her first two years in DCU with flying colours and dreaming of a career in Early Childhood Education.”
Within three hours of posting the petition, more than 2,100 individuals had signed in an effort to reach the 2,500 signature goal. Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) has titled the campaign “We wish for Mehwish”.
In a statement to DCU’s student newspaper, The College View, USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick stated: “We will support DCU in their actions – from a national perspective then we have joined a coalition around ending direct provision as well and will continue to work on the broader issue of ending the direct provision system”.
A similar campaign took place in DCU last year calling for a stop to the deportation of Shepherd Machaya, a management of information technology and information systems student. Machaya’s deportation order was extended for several months following the #SaveOurShepherd campaign.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union is mandated to campaign against direct provision, Ireland’s system for housing asylum seekers. However, Trinity does not hold the status of a University of Sanctuary, a designation that indicates a university’s support for asylum seekers based on a number of criteria. DCU was Ireland’s first University of Sanctuary, and the University of Limerick, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and the National University of Ireland, Galway have also been awarded the status of University of Sanctuary.
Correction: This article was amended on 2/10/19 at 19:54 to correct an error in the attribution of the petition. The petiton was started by Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU).