Five-year-old Downs boy Zuzu faces deportation to Iraq

Zuzu and his mother in a Facebook photograph

A five-year-old boy with Downs syndrome, his mother and younger brother face deportation to Iraq now that junior justice minister Mark Harbers has decided not to use his discretionary powers to issue a residency permit.

The mayor of Amersfoort who made an urgent appeal for clemency, said on Friday he is extremely disappointed in the minister’s decision.

‘Zuzu’s health, the family which has been torn apart, the trauma of war and Khansaa’s future as a single parent in Iraq are all so desperate that I do think an exception should have been made, Lucas Bolsius said. ‘This really upsets me.’

The boy, his brother and mother face now deportation to Baghdad. The child, nicknamed Zuzu, was born in Syria but has Iraqi nationality, like his mother. His father is Palestinian and lives with his sister in Syria.

Asked in September by broadcaster NOS if a child with Down’s would be more likely to be able to stay in the Netherlands, a spokesman said: ‘If a medical condition is involved, then it has to be asked if the person can get the care they need in the country of origin. Otherwise, the Netherlands will become the world’s hospital.’

In addition, ‘Down’s syndrome is not something which only occurs in the Netherlands,’ the spokesman is quoted as saying.

Down’s specialist Michel Weijerman told the AD at the time that Zuzu’s position in Iraq will be ‘hopeless’. ‘He will live in a refugee camp, where his weak health will not be able to deal with the poor hygiene. In Iraq, he will go downhill physically, mentally and developmentally,’ Weijerman told the AD.