Scottish Government seeking to extend right to vote

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Yesterday the Minister for Parliamentary business announced the Scottish Government's intention to extend the right to vote to people from the refugee community. This would include the right to vote in local and Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Welcoming the news our Chief Executive Sabir Zazai said:

"Refugees often flee their homes because their human rights are denied. For people from the refugee community to then have access to all their rights including the right to vote in Scotland is a hugely significant point in their journey towards integration, citizenship and the ability to play an active role in society. 

"We very much welcome the news that Scotland is leading the way on this issue and hope other nations will also see the potential in refugees playing a fully active role both socially, politically and economically."

Over the past months, Scottish Refugee Council contributed to the government's consultation on extending the franchise. You can read our consultation response by clicking here

Scottish Refugee Council believes that voting should be extended to all of the small population of refugees resident in Scotland, being resettled or granted refugee status through the asylum process. 

We consider that empowering refugees to engage with local and national decision-making processes and the political life of Scotland is vital to ensuring a two-way process of integration involving refugees and people in their new communities on an equitable basis.

Although this year marks the centenary of some women's right to vote in the UK, many of the women we work with are still disenfranchised in the UK. We have been exploring this issue creatively with a group of refugee women as part of the UK-wide arts project PROCESSIONS.