A FAILED asylum seeker has des-cribed how he and his ill wife were ev-icted from a Belfast hostel during the coldest period of the year.
Oleg Fedorovski and his wife Elena Kotrayenko were told to leave their accommodation at 5pm on Wednesday and since then have been sleeping in a friend’s house.
The 46-year-old, originally from Russia, said he was “devastated”.
“I’m worried that we will have to sleep in the street and if we do it will be an illegal action because if we leave an address we have to notify police,” he said.
“If we do not notify them it means we have absconded from control and will be detained. My wife is ill. She has gall stones and being outside in the frozen air is not good for her.”
The couple were last night promised temporary accommodation until Monday.
Mr Fedorovski’s asylum ap-plication has been refused and he is waiting for another country to accept him.
SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell called for an investigation into the asylum system following the eviction “on to the streets of Belfast in sub-zero temperatures”.
“I have since been even more appalled by the attitude of government agencies to-wards the couple’s predicament,” he said.
“Each and every agency and body I have contacted has denied having any duty of care to ensure that these two people do not freeze to death on the streets of our city.
“We have been here before. How quickly we seem to have forgotten the case of Oksana Sukhanova, who lost both her legs due to frostbite when she found herself homeless in Northern Ireland.”
The MP said he would raise the matter with Home Office minister Tony McNulty.
“If no single agency is able to give some form of shelter, particularly in severe Arctic weather conditions, then I believe it is time to investigate the current set-up for dealing with failed asylum seekers because it clearly isn’t working.”
In a parallel development,
a legal challenge is to be mounted to controversial new moves to ship asylum seekers out of the north to detention centres in Scotland and England without access to legal counsel.
Madden & Finucane solicitors, which represents several clients who have in the past successfully applied for asylum upon entering the north, is investigating the legal options open to its clients on the new policy.
Peter Madden said the firm was determined to challenge the decision in the courts.
“This is an outrageous decision which we are currently considering challenging by way of judicial review. Foreign nationals who enter the north in many cases are entitled to claim asylum under the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951,” he said.
“If this policy is introduced people will be deprived of this very basic human right.”