'Heartbroken' staff 'will feel guilt forever' after Afghan refugee boy's Sheffield hotel fall

A Home Office chief has said her staff were ‘heartbroken’ and ‘in tears’ after the death of five-year-old Mohammed Munib Majeedi days after he arrived in the UK and was housed in a Sheffield hotel.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:55 am

Mohammed Munib Majeedi fell from the ninth floor of the OYO Hotel in Sheffield, on Blonk Street, on Wednesday August 18.

He had been staying at the hotel with his father, who worked in the Kabul embassy, and the rest of his family. They had fled to the UK to escape the Taliban.

Emma Haddad, director general of asylum and protection at the Home Office, said her team of ‘dedicated civil servants [...] will feel guilt and responsibility for this tragic death forever’.

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The OYO Metropolitan Hotel on Blonk Street, Sheffield, where five-year-old Mohammed Munib Majeedi fell to his death from a window on August 19 (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Writing in The Telegraph she said: "On Wednesday 18 August, our world stopped.

"A little boy had fallen from a hotel window in Sheffield and died. His family was one of those my team had relocated from Afghanistan so recently.

"The beginning of one family's new life in the UK was so cruelly shattered and left in pieces. We are all heartbroken. We have all been in tears.

"Many of us are also parents. That could have been my eight-year-old. We are not faceless bureaucrats with no empathy - the emotions are overwhelming us."

Mohammed Munib Majeed (photo taken from Just Giving)

Following Mohammed Munib Majeedi’s death, civil servants were criticised for the standard of accomodation being used to house the refugees.

However, Ms Haddad defended their actions, labelling the accusations ‘political point scoring’, and said that the use of hotels was necessary as there was not enough housing.

She said: "None of us wants to be using hotels. These families need and deserve permanent homes to be able to get settled properly and start their new lives."

The UK Government has also been criticised for its ‘slow’ approach to housing Afghan refugees, after it committed to accommodate 20,000, with a commitment to 5,000 in the first year.

The Home Office has said that 5,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are likely to be eligible for resettlement by the end of this year.

It said this was possible under a scheme for those who have been employed by British forces.