Take the racism out of asylum, top expert tells campaigners in Edinburgh




Media Release

Embargo Monday 26 October, 00:01


Take the racism out of asylum, top expert  tells campaigners in Edinburgh today


A top asylum expert will today urge Scottish campaigners to combat negative attitudes head-on – and stop discussion around asylum issues becoming a ‘cover for racism’.


Renowned researcher Dr Heaven Crawley, Director of Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research, will present a seminar today Monday, October 26 on her latest research on changing public attitudes towards asylum.


The event, jointly hosted by Scottish Refugee Council and The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund takes place at the Glasshouse Hotel, Edinburgh, at 12noon.


Dr Crawley said:


“Asylum has become a 'legitimate' cover for racism and racist attitudes towards our increasingly diverse communities. Campaigners need to tackle this racism head-on and address the wider concerns that underpin negative attitudes, as well as addressing the myths that pervade the political and public debate.


“A significant proportion of the British population hold negative attitudes towards asylum issues. This is a cause for concern because they may be reflected in negative behaviour towards immigrants and ethnic minority groups. Negative attitudes also influence the content and direction of government policies towards asylum seekers and refugees.”


Dr Crawley’s research comes at a time when there is evidence of increasingly negative public attitudes towards asylum.


John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “Racism has no place in a modern Scotland – and should never be part of the discussion around asylum and refugee issues.


“We hope Dr Crawley’s seminar will give campaigners in Scotland renewed energy to change public attitudes towards asylum seekers in the UK, in turn making our country a more welcoming place.”


Dr Crawley will also be speaking at Scottish Refugee Council annual conference on October 23, 2009, on the topic of politics, policy and public attitudes.


For interviews or more details contact Clare Harris or Karin Goodwin, media officers, on 0141 223 7927, 07734 030763 or media@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk





Notes to Editors:


  1. The seminar will take place on October 26, 2009, from 12noon – 2.30pm at the Glasshouse Hotel, 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA.


  1. Dr Heaven Crawley will also speak at the Scottish Refugee Council Annual Conference. The Annual Conference takes place on Friday October 23, 2009 from 9.00am until 4.40pm at 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow.


  1. Dr Heaven Crawley is Director at the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University. Her latest research report is entitled Understanding and Changing Public Attitudes.


  1. Dr Crawley is a founder member of the Refugee Women’s Legal Group, with whom she produced Gender Guidelines for the Determination of Asylum Claims in the UK. These guidelines were incorporated into Home Office asylum policy instructions to caseworkers. Her research for Save the Children, on the detention of children for the purpose of immigration control, formed the basis of a public campaign, No Place for a Child.


  1. The research report has been supported by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The City Parochial Foundation, The Barrow Cadbury Trust and The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.


  1. Scottish Refugee Council is an independent charity dedicated to providing advice, information and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees living in Scotland. For more information on our work go to: www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk


  1. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund is an independent grant-giving charity established in September 1997 to continue the Princess's humanitarian work in the United Kingdom and overseas. By giving grants to organisations, championing charitable causes, advocacy, campaigning and awareness-raising, the Fund works to secure sustainable improvements in the lives of the most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world. For more information on the Fund’s work go to: www.theworkcontinues.org