Scottish Refugee Council launches Protection Appeal to raise funds to help refugees in Scotland

Can you imagine what it feels like to be utterly alone, with no money, no comfort, and nowhere to call home?

Today [Friday 25 November] Scottish Refugee Council launches its Protection Appeal to raise funds to help it help refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland.

The Protection Appeal aims to raise funds towards the work we do with asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland in lobbying for changes to government policy to end the injustices of the asylum system and providing essential advice to people as they go through the asylum process.

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: ‘Every day we support people who have been forced to flee life-threatening persecution around the world and seek safety here in Scotland.

‘One of the biggest injustices we see is destitution. Over a quarter of the people we see each day are destitute. They have been forced to flee their home country, and then forced to sleep rough in ours because of the failings of the UK asylum system.

‘Today we are launching our Protection Appeal and we’re asking you to stand up for the protection of refugees. You can support the appeal by making a donation online or by text, or getting involved in a whole variety of ways. I hope you will stand with us.’

Scottish Refugee Council provides essential advice to people at all stages of the asylum process which can prevent people falling into destitution. It also lobbies government for a fairer system to prevent issues such as destitution occurring and to ensure refugees get the protection they desperately need.

 

 

For more details or interviews please contact:

Media and Communications Officer Clare Harris on 0141 223 7927, 07850 930418 or media@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk

 

 

 


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Notes to Editors:

 

Simply text SRCD11 to 70070, with either £3, £5 or £10. For example, text SRCD11£5. All of your donation will go directly to help our work.

 

  • Scottish Refugee Council has been standing up for the rights of refugees since 1985. We are an independent charity with offices in Glasgow providing advice and support for refugees and people seeking asylum. We also lobby government on changes to policy and have been successful in helping lobby for change in areas such as child detention.

 

  • In Glasgow, several organisations provide emergency assistance for destitute people in the asylum system, including Refugee Survival Trust, Positive Action in Housing and smaller community and church groups, many of whom are linked through the Glasgow Destitution Network. Scottish Refugee Council works alongside these groups to try and prevent issues such as destitution from happening.

 

  • Many people who need protection are not receiving it. Since the mid-1990s, successive governments have passed legislation and regulations designed to reduce the number of people who come to the UK to seek sanctuary from persecution. These policies have included a narrower interpretation of who should qualify for protection in the UK and the reduction or removal of support from particular groups of asylum seekers.

 

  • In a recent survey of asylum seekers in Scotland (the Second Destitution Tally, May 2009), 52% of those visiting refugee agencies in Scotland and Northern Ireland were destitute. The majority of destitute people had had their asylum cases refused but came from countries with well documented cases of human rights abuses and persecution.

 

  • The asylum determination system still gets a quarter of its initial decisions wrong. The success rate at appeal for asylum seekers from certain countries is even higher. For example, in 2008, more than 40 per cent of Eritreans and Somalis appealing against the refusal of asylum won their cases. While many asylum seekers will eventually be granted some form of status after appeal, others, particularly those without good legal representation, will get to the end of the process without having their protection needs recognised.

 

  • People seeking asylum are not allowed to work and must survive on support levels set at less than 70% of income support, or, in many cases, nothing at all.