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Asylum seekers left out in the cold

May 11th 2012


Around 100 asylum seekers in Glasgow are facing homelessness following the transfer of a Home Office contract from the charity Ypeople which currently offers them housing, to private company Serco.

All those facing eviction are refused asylum seekers, who after getting a negative decision on their asylum claim, lose their right to the housing and support they previously received.

However, all say that they are unable to return to their countries of origin, which include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Somalia, where their lives would be in immediate danger. Until now, Ypeople has continued to house them. But since April, when they lost their contract with the UK Border Agency to house asylum seekers, they claim they must start evicting refused asylum seekers.

The transfer to Serco is due to be complete by November this year.

When they are made homeless, the asylum seekers will not be entitled to hostel accommodation, or financial support and cannot work. They will find themselves completely destitute, forced to rely on friends, faith groups and charity for food and accommodation.

Ako Khalil Zada, a journalist and human rights campaigner from Iraq, who is facing eviction, said: “We need to put pressure on the whole system to end destitution and allow people to live normal lives.

“If you can’t work, sleep or even eat, then where is your human dignity?”

Scottish Refugee Council has expressed deep concern about the situation. The charity, which says there are already over 100 destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow, is calling for urgent action from the UK Government to change what it sees as inhumane polices.

John Wilkes, the chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “In the public debate, asylum seekers whose claims are refused are often perceived as having somehow abused the system.

“Yet, many would have qualified for some form of protection had they applied for asylum in another country or had they applied in the UK in the past.

“We need a UK asylum system that offers proper protection to those who need it rather than inhumanely forcing people into limbo.”

Other pressure groups across the city have held protests outside the Home Office and in the city centre, with many calling for Ypeople to cease evictions until the transfer period is complete in November.

They also want the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council to step up and find ways to support those affected. Margaret Woods of Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said: “Many of those being made destitute have been tortured.

“Some are reduced to finding food in rubbish bins. They are a shadow population who are offered no rights except to deportation.”

Ypeople’s chief executive, Joe Connolly, defended the charity’s decision to evict.

He said: “Although Ypeople receives no funding for the cost of accommodating and supporting people whose asylum claims are rejected, we have, as a not-for-profit organisation, contributed in excess of £500,000 in the last year alone.”


May 2012



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Award for Birmingham-based catering company

Birmingham homes to serve those who served

Film club comes to Birmingham

Forgotten Vintage "didn't intend to offend?"

Rough sleeper bids to become Edinburgh councillor

Housing bills rings the changes

Asylum seekers left out in the cold

Homeless drop “not credible”

Homeless footballer transforms lives

Keith Maloney

Olympic 'flood' adds to street population

Man in hole moves for Olympics

A night in the cells

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Cornish man sparks air sea rescue

Homeless residents sue US city

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Homeless candidate steps down from Orlando election race

US hotspots surveyed


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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484