The Cast. Lydia Besong’s play “How I became an Asylum Seeker”. April 2, 2010 (without photos)
As this blog reaches it’s first anniversary the stories that have been whispering in my ear over the past twelve months are drawn together:
The Yarl’s Wood hunger strike. The forthcoming election. War and refugee movements. The unsavoury ways in which political parties capitalise on people’s fears about immigration. A lack of funding for investigative journalism, censorship – and recurring, stereotypical images of asylum seekers in the press.
Attending the “Arise and Shine” woman asylum seekers self-advocacy event in Manchester last week addressed all of these narratives.
The play and workshops were billed as a ‘Professional Development Opportunity’. As a trained teacher in Adult Education as well as a journalist I had a critical eye on how the event was organised. I was impressed from the start. Continue reading “Arise and Shine. Self-advocacy. Asylum Seekers.”
What can you do?
The letter that has been sent from Quakers to Jack Straw on 1 April 2010 can be used to address issues with prospective Parliamentary candidates: http://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/2010/04/01/letter-to-jack-straw-secretary-of-state-for-justice-1-april-2010
‘We agree to the letter being sent and made public for a wide dissemination of a Quaker voice on this matter. We welcome the strategy suggested in the paper, particularly seeking alternatives to detaining children, who need to be protected and kept with their families. We ask Friends to use this letter in canvassing Parliamentary candidates at this time.’ MfS 28.3.2010
Apology for abuse of children THEN,
THEN In February Gordon Brown apologised for the UK’s past role in sending more than 130,000 children to former colonies where many suffered abuse.
He said: “To all those former child migrants and their families… we are truly sorry. They were let down.”
NOW In February Children’s Commissioner Sir Al Aynesley Green called for families with children not to be detained: Continue reading “Apology for abuse of children – leaflet”
Six miles north of Bedford on a desolate hill-top, Yarl’s Wood IRC is purpose built, by the same architects as Harmondsworth and to a similar pattern. It was originally designed for 900 beds as “the biggest immigration detention centre in Europe” but before it could be completed was destroyed, only three months after opening, in a night of riot and fire lead, probably, by exasperated people who had served prison terms for criminal activities, and then, instead of being released or promptly deported, found themselves indefinitely further detained awaiting deportation. Continue reading “Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre”