Leading campaigner seeks probe into Glasgow `suicides’ by Russian asylum seekers


30 June 2010: Nearly four months after three asylum seekers jumped to death, a leading campaigner has called for a public inquiry, asserting that the UK’s asylum policy could have a part to play in the deaths.

The director of Glasgow-based charity Positive Action in Housing, Robina Qureshi, said they believe the UK asylum policy had a part to play in the deaths and a fatal accident inquiry can ascertain exactly what led to the deaths of a family of three.

The assertion came after their funeral in Glasgow. The private service, held at the Daldowie Crematorium in Uddingston, was attended by just 11 mourners. It was for the victims, who jumped to their deaths from a tower block. Officers from Strathclyde Police also attended the service, a spokeswoman for the force said.

Robina Qureshi is a Scottish human rights campaigner. She is a notable critic of the UK’s asylum policies and has campaigned to close detention centres for asylum seekers.

Qureshi’s parents came to Glasgow as immigrants in the 1960s, where they raised Robina and her six sisters. Her first job was as a trainee employment advice worker, soon after which she realised she wanted to work with minorities.

Serguei Serykh, 43, his wife Tatiana and his stepson had plunged 15 stories from a block in a Scottish housing complex. The family was among thousands of asylum seekers living in public housing in Glasgow.

As of now, more than 5,000 asylum seekers live in Glasgow from countries like Eritrea, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

After the family of Russian asylum seekers denied refugee status had ended their lives on 7 March, calls for a more compassionate immigration policy were heard loud and clear.

About 30 protesters gathered outside an immigration office in Glasgow following the deaths of the father, mother and son, had appealed to the authorities concerned for more compassion in Britain’s immigration policy.

Qureshi had then also asserted the case may not be isolated; and it was normal for families fearing deportation to come to the charity threatening suicide, rather than return to their home country.

She had asserted there was a great deal of mental strain and it was normal currency for people to talk about ending their lives as a viable alternative to destitution or removal.

Qureshi had also asserted they needed to know more about the role of the UK Border Agency and Strathclyde Police.

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