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(en) DA 26 - Solidarity Federation magazine - Reason to be cheerful?

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 14 Apr 2003 09:10:16 +0200 (CEST)


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> The Government's vicious new policy has been designed
to throw thousands of already desperate and vulnerable
asylum seekers into destitution. From January 2003, asylum
seekers who did not apply for asylum immediately they set
foot in the UK were refused support (under sections 55 and
57 of the notorious Nationality, Immigration and Asylum
Act - see previous issues of DA). Since they are not allowed
to work, they were to be left without any form of income or
support.
Not surprisingly, many of us pointed out that this openly
flouts international law, which allows for the clandestine
arrival of people seeking asylum, as many would be
prevented from fleeing their countries if they made
themselves known to the authorities. It denies asylum
seekers the basic human right to seek refuge.
The new Policy meant the worst case misery for people
already traumatised by war, torture, rape and persecution,
as well as pregnant women (who were not entitled to
support until after the baby is born) and people with
disabilities or special needs waiting to be assessed by their
local authority.
The Government's says the measures (along with a host
of others in the Act), will discourage people from claiming
asylum in Britain. However, the truth is that people
fleeing persecution are not motivated by the system of
support they will find in the countries they seek to reach.
They are seeking a safe haven - and they risk their lives
in the pursuit of it.
The government's get-tough policy on asylum suffered a
setback this February, after six asylum seekers won their
High Court challenge to the inhumane laws which
stopped them receiving state support. Mr Justice Collins
pulled no punches when he handed down the ruling on the
draconian Section 55, which stops support for people who
don't apply for asylum the minute they arrive in the UK.
He said denying them benefits and shelter breached the
European Convention on Human Rights and agreed there
was "a
real risk" of death or injury for refugees. There are 150
more asylum seekers in the legal pipeline.
The ruling means that the Home Office now has a duty
to ensure people who apply for asylum are not left without
food or shelter, but Blunkett was outside immediately
after the hearing ended, furiously announcing that the
government will appeal against the decision. He wants the
right to mercilessly force people fleeing persecution to
live in phone boxes and starve on the streets.
We are opposed to attacks on asylum seekers, and we
invite you to join us in our campaign to scrap these
measures and to fight back against the racist climate being
created by government policy. The old, hated voucher
scheme was defeated by a magnificent unified protest; we
need to do the same again now.

Basic Demands:
.The right to work for asylum seekers .Income support for
asylum seekers
.Abolition of detention centres .No forced dispersal .Full
legal rights and representation .No to deportation .The
scrapping of the Asylum and Immigration Act
Find out what you can do at 0121 554 6947
www.ncadc.org.uk or contact SolFed for more info.

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