Qanie Nazari has no country. The 24-year-old man was born in a refugee camp in Anbar, Iraq, after his family fled Iran to escape political persecution. Now, Nazari lives in Denmark, to which he immigrated in 2013 in the hopes of a new life – one that would bring a sense of identity for the stateless man.
Instead, Nazari traded one camp for another, as Denmark now prepares for his deportation.
Hawre Khalid, a Kurdish photographer, felt a connection with Nazari. “I was only four when my family, terrified of Saddam Hussein’s regime, immigrated into Iran,” he tells TIME. “I know how it feels when you don’t have a country.”
Nazari lived in the Sandholm Asylum Center for refugees in Denmark for three years, though he has now been transferred to another camp to await his deportation. He was not allowed to work, says Khalid, but received monthly benefits from the Danish government. “He does not have any friends, does not go out very often,” the photographer says. “He hardly sleeps or eat, and spends most of his time smoking and drinking tea that other people in the camp buy for him.” Denmark has asked both Iraq and Iran to take him back, but neither country recognizes him as a citizen – condemning Nazari to live in a diplomatic limbo.
Khalid is under no illusion that his photographs will help Nazari, but he hopes they can put a face on the current humanitarian crisis. “There shouldn’t be people without country,” he says, “and without the right to live somewhere.”