Refugees must be helped and protected
4:25pm Wednesday 13th June 2012 in Letters
I SHOULD like to remind readers that next week (June 15-21 ) is refugee week and a chance to celebrate the contribution that many refugees have made to our country and culture. Since the St Bartholomew’s day massacre in the sixteenth century and probably before that, the UK has benefited from the gratitude and skills of those fleeing persecution. It has been one of Britain’s finest traditions to treat such people humanely.
Today however, the Home office operates from a culture of disbelief and it is increasingly difficult for people to be granted refugee status. There are many whose cases fail but who cannot be returned since they come from countries such as Somalia, Eritrea or Zimbabwe where even the Home Office agrees they would be at risk. These people are denied benefit, prohibited from working and are thus rendered destitute.
Amnesty International is part of a coalition of organisations which includes the Red Cross and Churches Action against Poverty : "Still Human Still Here" campaigning to abolish this destitution, either by allowing refused asylum seekers to continue to receive support (those seeking asylum receive 2/3rds of a single person’s benefit) or by allowing them to work.
I should like to urge anyone who is concerned by this lack of humanity to join the campaign via www.amnesty.org.uk or www.refugeecouncil.org To take part in the many events planned for refugee week information can be found at www.refugeeweek.org.uk MARINA MARVAN Cirencester