More than 1,000 signatures have been collected backing the Stop Destitution campaign calling for urgent action to help refused asylum seekers.
The campaign – launched on 1st October 2012 by Scottish Refugee Council and Refugee Survival Trust – urges the UK Government to halt its deliberate policy of making asylum seekers destitute by stopping their support when their claim is refused.
Many people are unable or too afraid to return to their home countries, such as Eritrea, Somalia, Iran and Zimbabwe where human rights abuses are rife, and instead end up homeless and hungry yet with no right to work.
The campaign, which runs until the end of March 2013, has been backed by people in the arts, politics and public life including Glasgow writer Louise Welsh and over 25 MSPs including the Scottish National Party’s Christina McKelvie.
So far 15 organisations have backed the call to stop destitution, including Amnesty International, the Mental Health Foundation and Scottish Women’s Aid. Others include faith organisations, arts organisations and even club night Philanthrobeats.
Recently the STUC Women’s conference passed a unanimous motion to offer support to asylum seeking women and children who find themselves destitute.
Gary Christie, Head of Policy at Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are delighted that the campaign has got off to such as good start and we would like to offer our sincere thanks to those who have signed the petition or offered support in other ways.
“But we still have so much to do if this is to have a real impact. We would urge people to get behind this urgent call for the humane treatment of refused asylum seekers. It is unacceptable that as Scotland approaches its target to end homelessness, asylum seekers are still left out in the cold. Please tell your friends, work colleagues and other contacts about this important issue, and urge them to watch our excellent short film on the issue and sign the petition at www.stopdestitution.org.uk.”
Michelle Lowe, Development Manager of Refugee Survival Trust, said: “Scottish people helped end the detention of children for asylum purposes in 2010. We can do the same with this current injustice. Please sign the petition today.”
For further information about the Stop Destitution campaign and to sign the petition, please visit http://www.stopdestitution.org.uk/