Before fleeing Sudan at the age of 14, Ann Bashir lived in fear of being killed and raped after members of her family were detained for taking part in anti-government demonstrations.
Arriving in Britain more than two years ago, she has attended school in Hove, East Sussex, and is currently studying for her GCSEs.
Alongside her mum Giehan Yassi, and older sister Enji Bashir, she has integrated in the local community, learnt English and is now expected to achieve high grades in her exams.
At least that was until the Home Office rejected the family’s asylum claim arguing there is not ‘a serious enough risk or threat’ to their safety in Sudan.
‘Since 2018 we have been unable to live safely in Sudan. We lived in fear of being killed, raped, threatened with detention and other things words cannot describe,’ the now 16-year-old said.
‘We never regretted standing up for freedom and justice for ourselves and Sudan.
‘Whenever we remember what happened, we describe it as a “nightmare that can never be forgotten”.
‘We were living a safe life before things became worse. In 2018, president Omar al-Bashir started to frustrate the country through his strict rules.
‘People had had enough of 30 years of dictatorship, arrests of political opponents, lack of freedom, poverty, hunger and high unemployment.
‘Sudanese people are scared of the Janjaweed – the secret service supported by the militia.’
Demonstrations across the country were met with violence and tear gas, leaving many dead or injured.
Ann’s mum Giehan and sister Enji – then just 16 – were detained for attending one of them in 2019.
Her dad – whose name is not being revealed – has not been heard from since the family fled the country.
His love d ones believe he was killed for his involvement in the nationwide rallies.
Despite this, the government is refusing to allow Giehan, Ann and Enji to continue living in the UK.
They were also forced to move from their home of two years in Hove to a mouldy detention accommodation in the capital last year after their application was rejected.
They insist the property is in such disrepair that they often have to wear masks.
As a result, Ann is forced to spend hours commuting from London to Brighton for school every day, for which the family
Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove, said their case is irrefutable evidence that the UK’s asylum system is ‘broken’.
He said: ‘Ann is in her final year of study for her GCSEs and as part of the asylum system in this country she is allowed to appeal and continue to study.
‘To haul her out of Hove, where she has a huge circle of friends and support, drop her in Tower Hamlets and disrupt her studies at this crucial moment is a disgrace.
‘Ann could grow up to be a doctor, a scientist or a teacher and be something special to this country.
‘She needs to be allowed to finish her studies in Hove whilst her asylum claim continues.
First appear at Girl, 16, faces deportation back to Sudan where she says her family ‘lived in fear’