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The Destitution of Asylum Seekers

by Julia Tracey

The six o clock news is often overwhelmed with the horrors of news of natural disasters and war throughout our world. Although these tragedies remain a national worry; the catastrophe of thousands can seem hundreds of miles away. It is decidedly very difficult to even begin to fathom the many tragedies that many people all over the world face day to day.

 However, as a result of these disasters, of flooding, war, the impacts of dictatorship and human brutality, hundreds and thousands of asylum seekers have fled their homelands, many to our country in the hope of a new life and a fresh start within our shores. Nonetheless, rather than arriving in a land of promise, there are currently 300,000 asylum seekers living destitute in the U.K today. They have been refused asylum from the government and receive no aid or financial help. Living here, they have once again lost their right to education, to work, and even their right to three meals a day. They are essentially living in poverty. Whole families are split up and children and families are carted about from detention centre to detention centre. It is safe to say that they live here in depressing circumstances.

As well as this, many of the refugees and asylum seekers are the victims of racist attacks. Take Alain, a journalist from DR Congo, who was exiled from the Congo for his work, and now in the UK, he has been the victim of much racial and physical abuse, he said, “as asylum seekers we have been punished twice, once back home and once here.” Many of the asylum seekers and refugees have no status within the U.K,. and the government, although having refused them asylum offers no aid for refugees to return to their home countries. However, many refugees and asylum seekers prefer living here despite the terrible circumstances of destitution, because returning home would mean to returning to terrible circumstances, to countries ruled by dictators or war.

Whilst new acts are being brought out by the government, the little aid that they do offer is almost impossible for asylum seekers to receive. And so, they are entirely dependent on charities here to aid their situation.

In order to raise money and awareness for this cause, on the 5th November, a group of Glasgow University students from S.T.A.R. (Student Action for Refugees) will be taking up camp outside Wellington Church on University Avenue. The proceeds from this go towards Positive Action in Housing which is one of the largest charities that work with refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. Their aid is essential to the asylum seekers living here in destitution. They offer schemes such as hardship funds, and provide clean and safe homes as well as offering aid on a more personal and emotional level.

Volunteers from P.A.I.H. will be continuing this cause and sleeping out on 6th November in cloisters of Glasgow University.

If you would like to donate to this cause or become more involved, please go to http://www.justgiving.com/starsleepout or the star website, and hopefully we will see major changes starting to happen within our world.

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