Friday, March 16, 2012

Why refugees are here ? Women's day part 3

Of course the text below is more about the UK than Netherlands but we publish it here because there are many similarities ;)

The facts about asylum

Asylum seekers and refugees do not get large handouts from the state

  • Asylum seekers do not come to the UK to claim benefits. In fact, most know nothing about welfare benefits before they arrive and had no expectation that they would receive financial support.
    (Refugee Council, Chance or Choice? Understanding why asylum seekers come to the UK, 2009)
  • Most asylum seekers are living in poverty and experience poor health and hunger.
    (Independent Asylum Commission citizens' inquiry in The Independent, 22 October 2007)
  • Almost all asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are forced to rely on state support – this can be as little as £5 a day to live on.
  • Asylum seekers do not jump the queue for council housing and they cannot choose where they live. The accommodation allocated to them is not paid for by the local council. It is nearly always 'hard to let' properties, where other people do not want to live.

Asylum seekers and refugees are law-abiding citizens

  • The vast majority of people seeking asylum are law abiding people.
    (Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Guide to meeting the policing needs of asylum seekers and refugees, 2001)
  • Many destitute refused asylum seekers fear approaching the police to report incidents of sexual harassment and assaults, avoiding contact for fear of being picked up, put in detention and deported. (Refugee Action report on destitute refused asylum seekers, 2006).
  • In international and national law, distinctions are made between refugees, asylum seekers, legal and illegal economic migrants, minority citizens, travellers and others. These distinctions are all too easily lost by the media, and most particularly in the tabloid press. (Memorandum from UNHCR to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, 2007)
  • Immigration officers have the power to detain asylum seekers, even if they have not committed any crime.

Refugees make a huge contribution to the UK

Asylum seekers are looking for a place of safety

  • There is no such thing as an 'illegal' or 'bogus' asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim.
  • There is nothing in international law to say that refugees must claim asylum in the first country they reach.
  • It is recognised in the 1951 Convention that people fleeing persecution may have to use irregular means in order to escape and claim asylum in another country – there is no legal way to travel to the UK for the specific purpose of seeking asylum.
    (United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees)
  • The top ten refugee producing countries in 2008 all have poor human rights records or ongoing conflict. Asylum seekers are fleeing from these conflicts and abuses, looking for safety.
    (UNHCR, 2008 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons, 2009)
  • Many refugees and asylum seekers hope to return home at some point in the future, if the situation in their country has improved.
  • The 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees everybody the right to apply for asylum. It has saved millions of lives. No country has ever withdrawn from it.

Britain's asylum system is very tough

Poor countries - not the UK - look after most of the world's refugees

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