Red Road flats take up residence at Scottish Parliament during Refugee Week Scotland 2008

MEDIA RELEASE

ATTN NEWS/PICTURE DESKS

For immediate release

Wednesday June 18

 

Contact: Aideen McLaughlin, 0141 223 7927/07734030763

 

Refugee Week Scotland ‘08

June 16-22

Different Pasts, Shared Future

www.refugeeweek.org.uk

Photo Call 545pm

 

RED ROAD FLATS TAKE UP RESIDENCE AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT DURING REFUGEE WEEK SCOTLAND

 

Ten-foot replicas of the Red Road flats will visit the Scottish Parliament for a Refugee Week Scotland reception, hosted by Glasgow Anniesland MSP, Bill Butler.

 

The foam towers have been made by young people from Springburn, working with Multi-story artists Iseult Timmermans and Rob Welsh.

 

The Refugee Week parliamentary reception will also see representatives of Scotland’s refugee and asylum seeker communities and support organisations meet with MSPs and cabinet ministers. The programme will include contributions from refugees, school children and John Wilkes, chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council.

 

Another highlight of the programme will be a performance by internationally acclaimed singer songwriter Laura McGhee who, along with pupils from Dalmarnock and St Paul’s Whiteinch primary schools, will sing her song ‘One Scotland.’

 

Laura, who has also previously performed in New York as part of the Tartan Week celebrations, wrote the song whilst taking part in musical workshops in Glasgow and it has already been translated into several languages.

 

Bill Butler, MSP said:

 

“It is a great pleasure to be able to host this event as. It provides MSPs with a unique opportunity to hear first hand about the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. There are approximately 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland, mostly living in Glasgow, and I am very proud that our city has taken the lead in terms of offering assistance and sanctuary to those most in need of help.

 

In addition, I am delighted that Laura McGhee has agreed to come along and perform for our guests. ‘One Scotland’ is a song about tolerance and understanding, challenging us to look at our attitudes toward others and acknowledging the undoubted value which refugees and migrants have brought to our country down the years.”

 

John Wilkes, chief executive, Scottish Refugee Council, said:

 

“For many years, refugees have been seeking sanctuary in Scotland, enriching our communities, contributing to our sports and culture, society and economy. Refugee Week Scotland is an acknowledgement of that.

 

But Refugee Week is not just for refugees. It is for everyone in Scotland, an opportunity for us all to celebrate our different pasts and look forward to our shared future.”

 

Note to Editors:

 

§  What? 10-foot replicas of the Red Road flats – home to many of Glasgow’s refugees and asylum seekers - will visit the Scottish Parliament for a Refugee Week Scotland reception, hosted by Glasgow Anniesland MSP, Bill Butler.

 

The foam towers have been made by young people from Springburn, working with Multi-story artists Iseult Timmermans and Rob Welsh, as part of Street Level Photoworks. www.streetlevelphotoworks.org

 

When? Wednesday June 18, 2008. Photocall: 545 pm; Reception – 6pm-8pm

 

Where?

Photocall: meet outside main public entrance to Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

Reception: Scottish Parliament Garden lobby from 6-8pm.

 

§  Refugee Week Scotland is co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council and is part of a UK-wide festival to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of refugee issues. To download a pdf of the Scottish programme, visit www.refugeeweek.org.uk

 

§  Scottish Refugee Council is an independent charity that provides advice and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. We also campaign for fair treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and to raise awareness of refugee issues. For more information visit www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk

 

§  There are around 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. The majority of new refugees to Scotland are coming from Iraq, Iran and Eritrea, fleeing war, torture or persecution.

 

§  There are 14 million refugees worldwide (UN Refugee Agency figure). The UK hosts only 2 percent of them. The majority of the world’s refugees are taken care of by the poorest countries, such as Iran and Pakistan. There are currently 2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria.

 

§  Refugees to the UK include 16 knights and peers of the realm, 18 Nobel prize winners, and 71-fellows of the Royal Society. Fish and Chips, the Mini and Marks & Spencer were all introduced to the UK by refugees.

 

§  For more information or interviews contact Aideen McLaughlin on 0141 223 7927/07734 030 763 or Dave Scott on 07854210444. Queries relating to Laura McGhee are best directed to her Management via Phil Ferns - 07900158589

 

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