Migrants' Rights Network

Team GB Boxing Champion Who Grew Up Stateless Threatened with Deportation

The Independent reports on the case of Kelvin Bilal Fawaz, an athlete holding the London middleweight title, and currently held in Tinsley House immigration removal centre. 

Fawaz, 29, has boxed for the country six times; he was chosen to represent Team GB in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but was unable to because he has no passport.

Fawaz’s parents, originally from Lebanon and the Benin Republic, migrated to the city of Chamo in Nigeria, but did not take up residency there. Fawaz was brought to the UK by an uncle from Nigeria aged 14, and was told his father would pick him up. 

However his father never arrived and he was made a domestic slave, being forced to cook and clean for a family and never leave the house. He eventually ran away at the age of 15, and was put into care by social services.

Since then the Home Office has rejected Fawaz’s applications for residency several times, and he was rebuffed by the Nigerian Embassy. His inability to produce documents and to get work permits have prevented him from “going pro,” and more generally from making a living from his athletic skills. 

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Fabien Cante

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