What is the big deal about asylum?
Its so important to understand the backgrounds of those seeking sanctuary in our culture, and this page aims to give a little background information about Asylum Seekers in Britain.
Two out of every three asylum seekers, who flee persecution in their home countries due to civil war or for political or ethnic reasons, are refused sanctuary in the UK by the Home Office. Many asylum seekers simply find it impossible to prove their stories. The Independent Asylum Commision found that there was a ‘culture of disbelief’ in the Home Office. Furthermore, cuts in legal aid have led to many solicitors giving up immigration work meaning that some asylum seekers are unrepresented at their hearings and many struggle to make appeals.
Once refused, they are told to go home. But they are not immediately deported. Instead they are left destitute with no means of support and no right to work.
Some cannot get the necessary travel documents as their home countries refuse to have them back. Many more fear persecution, torture, or even death if they return to the countries they fled from.
Nobody knows how many refused asylum seekers there are nationwide*. There may be as many as 100,000. Manchester is one of the top three dispersal towns for asylum seekers entering the country,and many remain once their asylum claims are turned down. It is estimated that there are several thousand refused asylum seekers living in the city.
Some will be able to stay with friends, often sofa-surfing between those who will take pity on them. Others have nowhere to go and have no choice but to sleep rough on the streets. With no national insurance number they cannot even access government funded homeless hostels. These people become like “living ghosts”, hidden from society with no means of survival. Physical and mental illness are common, particularly for those with a history of torture and abuse.
Here at City of Sanctuary we feel that it is our duty as human beings to help these people who find themselves in such a dire situation. We hope you can join us in helping create a more welcoming city for these people who have already suffered so much in their lives.[This information taken from Boaz Trust’s website: boaztrust.org.uk]