Looking for fairness in the community

Workshops provided a great opportunity to discuss vital issues

One of our refugee bloggers, M.F, writes about our annual conference and the need for fairness in the asylum system.

Scottish Refugee Council held its annual conference on 29 October at Hampden Park. The government has changed and now it is the time for requesting fairness in the asylum process and for more protection for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

The conference included presentations in the morning, some workshops in the afternoon and a plenary session at the end of the day. Speakers were from UK Border Agency, Scottish Refugee Council, Scotland’s Commission for Children and Young People and Scottish Legal Aid Board.

This year the conference coincided with the government’s public cuts, so some workshops were about the problems of living costs for asylum seekers.

In the afternoon there were six workshops which gave participants a better understanding of asylum and refugee issues.

“Some people don’t like to read a long text or documents, so I think it is a good idea to attend this kind of workshop in which someone explains everything. By speaking face to face you can better understand the situation,” said Sarah Zadik, Women’s Support Coordinator from the British Red Cross.

Watch a film of Steve Symonds, Legal Officer at the Immigration Law Practioner's Association, give his views about the conference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZAhXlU-10Q

‘LGBT asylum seekers and the new Public Sector Duty,’ was one of the workshops. It was given by Chris Oswald, Head of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at The Equality and Human Rights Commission. He said that the law must provide stronger protection for LGBT asylum seekers, and provide equality for everybody.

‘Accessing early legal advice,’ was another workshop. It was run by Piya Muqit, Children’s Law and Policy Officer at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. In this workshop we discussed the importance of accessing early legal advice and the issues that asylum seekers face when they wait a long time for decisions.

Another workshop was ‘Refugees and the Big Society,’ which was run by Mike Doyle, Community Development Team Leader at the Scottish Refugee Council. This workshop looked at different ways of improving our communities and how we can involve asylum seekers and refugees in the community.

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