Rich countries cause human movement – in a warming world they need to protect and accept those forced to flee.

Mo Farah, one of the greatest distance runners of all time, lived a lie his whole career because he feared that the hostile immigration policy of the UK – his adopted nation – could see him deported.

The Home Office said no action would be taken after he admitted recently being trafficked into the UK under a false name as a child from his conflict-wrecked homeland of Somalia and through Djibouti.

Mo Farah and Andrew Mitchell MP at a Global Hunger Event, 12 August 2012 (credit: ‘Mo Farah’ by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

But there was no guarantee that would be the reaction of the UK authorities – especially since the announced policy of sending would-be asylum seekers to Rwanda. Read the second part of this essay here.


And, if someone of Mo Farah’s stature can live in fear, how does everyone else caught in uncertain status feel? And why should anyone else forced to flee from their homes across borders be treated less humanely than Farah by the immigration system?

In Farah’s birthplace, Somalia, climate fuelled extremes have amplified the cycle of droughts and floods – recent droughts have been among their worst ever – creating a long term humanitarian emergency.

This commentary was first published on The Ecologist website and you can can access the full version here


Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms is Coordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance, an author, political economist and activist. He is co-director of the NewWeather Institute, Assistant Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, a Research Associate at the University of Sussex, and a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation (NEF). His books include The New Economics, Cancel the Apocalypse: the New Path to Prosperity, Ecological Debt and Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth? He tweets from @andrewsimms_uk