A New Year’s Round-Up

We’re back in full swing after the festive break here at Scottish Refugee Council. Our CEO Sabir Zazai gives a round-up of the last few weeks and a taste of what’s to come in January.

Christmas crisis?

While we celebrated the festive season in the warmth of our homes and the company of our loved ones, people who have fled armed conflicts, persecution and have lost everything including family, were attempting to cross the Channel in inflatable dinghies. Despite everything else facing the British public, this news spread at lightning speed and dominated headlines. The issue of a small number of refugees crossing the Channel was labelled ‘a major incident’ by the Home Secretary who called off a family holiday to respond to the ‘crisis’. We can be sure that the negativity built since the Brexit referendum and the subsequent debates were further hardened as a result.

Origins of protection

Every day at Scottish Refugee Council, we meet men, women and children forced to flee their homes and seek safety. The month of January, in particular, reminds us we all have the right to do so. Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January reminds us of the atrocities of the Holocaust which led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsa document that has saved the lives and dignity of many. 

People seeking protection are keen to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. They bring with them powerful stories of loss, suffering and hardship, but also resilience and hope for a new beginning.

Glasgow Girls Musical

Glasgow Girls

Through our work we regularly see the overwhelming generosity people in Scotland are showing towards refugees. Since arriving in Scotland in September 2017, I have observed this rich tapestry of people from all walks of life who want to extend a warm welcome to their new fellow Scots. In 2005, when a Kosovan schoolgirl and her family were detained and were facing deportation, seven classmates came to the rescue. They campaigned tirelessly to free their friend and her family from detention. They won national recognition becoming known as the Glasgow Girls and we are proud that one of the founders, Amal Azzudin is an Ambassador for Scottish Refugee Council. Their act of solidarity has been translated into two BBC documentaries, a BBC3 drama, and even a stage musical which is starting its tour of Scotland tonight. 


See Glasgow Girls in your closest city:

15-19 Jan 2019 - Glasgow King’s Theatre (View

23-26 Jan 2019 - Edinburgh King’s Theatre (View

30 Jan - 3 Feb 2019 - Perth Theatre (View)

7-9 Feb 2019 - Inverness Eden Court (View)


Asylum Accommodation

With the announcement earlier this month of a new asylum accommodation provider in Scotland - Mears Group taking over from Serco - there is a real opportunity to give men, women and children who seek sanctuary here a safe, secure, and decent home and without the threat of lock changes. Follow our updates as we work with the new provider to ensure people’s dignity and rights are at the centre of their plan for their work in Glasgow. 

Burns’ Night

This Burns Night we’re encouraging you to get involved in our new fundraising campaign Tastes from Home which celebrates the richness and diversity that refugees bring and Scotland’s welcoming heritage. 

We’ll keep in mind his famous lines: 

That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that

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