Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Solidarity

"I came here today to show solidarity with people in the aslyum system. I think we need to highlight how sudden (quick) detention can happen. It is important to say that no one should be illegal. Money and goods can flow freely around the world but for some reason humans can't.

The asylum system adds to a racist society because it creates a divide between people from different places. And lots of migration is caused by British foreign policy.

I think it is important to destroy the isolation and for people who are in there to know they are not alone. We need to shown community and break down barriers. That is why I am here, as someone from Bristol."

by Dennis

Eight detentions is eight too many

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Today I was in the police station to sign for UKBA as I do every week. I left the police station and returned to the drop-in centre for asylum seekers to do my duty as a chef. Later one of my friend told me that eight people been detained and she said that two of them are asylum seekers but has no details about the others.

I really feeling sad. Because still Bristol is City of Sanctuary but is not safe for the asylum seeker. We are feeling unsafe, nervous and stressed when we go to sign at police station. In my opinion, UKBA does not listen to us and so we need to work hard for human rights of asylum seeker, we need asylum seekers to get organised, we need existing organisations to support us and we need everyone to learn more about asylum seekers, ask me questions.

We want to have our dignity back, which UKBA and Home Office want to scrap. They don't want to listen. They want to carry on with the process of detaining asylum seekers.

This is the beginning of a path towards a dictatorial government, because if they scrap human rights for asylum seekers today, tomorrow they will do for another kind of person living in Bristol.

We have a lot of experience of this issue in our countries, how they changed to become dictatorships.

I hope not happen in this country because society is beautiful together and united.

by Esam Amin


Eight people detained today.

This morning eight people have been detained by UKBA at trinity police station. We are protesting there from 5:30pm today to stand together and challenge this.
DIGNITY FOR AYSLUM SEEKERS. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

"I'll sew up my eyes and mouth": Ibrahim in Bristol Post

Recent coverage about the petition and Ibrahim's situation in the Bristol Post. We are presenting the petition statement to the council at 5:30pm today, please come to college green and join us. (More info)

"I'll sew up my eyes and mouth": asylum seeker | This is Bristol


A FAILED asylum seeker has spent the past three weeks sleeping rough on College Green in protest – and threatened to sew his eyes and mouth shut to get his point across.


Ibrahim Moulkaf, 43, had to flee Algeria in 2009 after writing a book criticising the government and violent behaviour of Islamic fundamentalists and promoting peace.


The publication of Democracy in the Arab and Islamic World in France led to hard line Islamic militants starting a hate campaign against him.


They preached in Mosques about him, he received death threats, beatings in the street and his home was raided. He fled to England and applied for asylum but has continually been denied residence preventing him from gaining access to work, education or benefits.


He says he decided to apply to voluntarily return to Algeria, despite the risks, but permission was refused because a travel document could not be obtained for him.




Mr Moulkaf said he had now decided to voluntarily sleep rough on College Green to protest at his position.


"I sleep on the grass unless it is raining and then I shelter either under the council building or in a shop entrance," Mr Moulkaf told the Post.


"I had been staying in a house but I have come out here in protest because my appeals for asylum have been continually denied. It is hard and I am very tired.
"It is important because this is not just about me it is about the many other, more than 100 asylum seekers, sleeping on the streets in Bristol."
Paulette North, of the Respect Party, has started a petition and is submitting a motion at Bristol City Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow entitled: "We urge Bristol City Council to follow the example of Glasgow City Council."..... Read rest of the article 

Ibrahim sleeping out

A FAILED asylum seeker has spent the past three weeks sleeping rough on College Green in protest – and threatened to sew his eyes and mouth shut to get his point across.
Ibrahim Moulkaf, 43, had to flee Algeria in 2009 after writing a book criticising the government and violent behaviour of Islamic fundamentalists and promoting peace.
  1. Ibrahim Moulkaf, backed by supporters,  on College Green
    Ibrahim Moulkaf, backed by supporters, on College Green
The publication of Democracy in the Arab and Islamic World in France led to hard line Islamic militants starting a hate campaign against him.
They preached in Mosques about him, he received death threats, beatings in the street and his home was raided. He fled to England and applied for asylum but has continually been denied residence preventing him from gaining access to work, education or benefits.
He says he decided to apply to voluntarily return to Algeria, despite the risks, but permission was refused because a travel document could not be obtained for him.
Mr Moulkaf said he had now decided to voluntarily sleep rough on College Green to protest at his position.
"I sleep on the grass unless it is raining and then I shelter either under the council building or in a shop entrance," Mr Moulkaf told the Post.
"I had been staying in a house but I have come out here in protest because my appeals for asylum have been continually denied. It is hard and I am very tired.
"It is important because this is not just about me it is about the many other, more than 100 asylum seekers, sleeping on the streets in Bristol."
Paulette North, of the Respect Party, has started a petition and is submitting a motion at Bristol City Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow entitled: "We urge Bristol City Council to follow the example of Glasgow City Council."
Last month Glasgow City Council criticised the UK Border Agency for the amount of failed asylum seekers sleeping on the street and demanded that the Government relax restrictions on what local authorities can provide.
Ms North, who is the Respect party Bristol mayor candidate, said: "We are making a noise and asking for the council to intervene. We need to give failed asylum seekers hope.
"We are the fifth richest country in the world but this is still going on. We are reaching breaking point because there is such a feeling of injustice, despair and hopelessness.
"I hope this protest will be like a snowball that will grow and grow because this is one of the most vulnerable groups of people.
"He has even threatened to sew his mouth and eyes shut to make a point."

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Please support Ibrahim and sign the petition + come to college green on Thursday.


Ibrahim is still camping out on College Green. 

He is seeking asylum here from Algeria and can can no longer stand the mental torture of being destitute and homeless. He is protesting at this treatment of him and thousands of other vulnerable people across the UK. 

On Thursday 26th July at 5:30pm asylum seekers and their supporters will go to the council house to present the petition statement (below) to the council, please bring along any petitions with signatures you have. The completed petitions will be submitted at the council meeting on 4th September.

We urge Bristol City Council to follow the example of Glasgow City Counciland adopt the following policy with appropriate amendments for Bristol.
 Glasgow City Council Meeting 28 June 2012
Council condemns the United Kingdom Border Agency policy of destitution and the eviction of refused asylum seekers that is increasing the strain on the charities and communities supporting their most basic needs.
Council believes that the numbers of destitute asylum seekers now living on the streets of Glasgow (read Bristol) represents a humanitarian crisis that requires an urgent response.
Council endorses the Scottish Refugee Policy Forum conference report recommendation that all asylum seekers should be provided with UKBA cash support until they are granted status or leave the country.
Council therefore demands that the UK Government change existing rules which severely restrict local authorities in the support they can provide to failed asylum seekers. Council calls on the Chief executive to write to the UK Government, seeking a change in policy to allow local authorities to assist refugees in danger of destitution. 

Meeting with Councillors about Destitution



Last Friday 20th July at 11.30am asylum seekers and their supporters spoke with Labour councillor Ron Stone who responded to the invitation to come out on to College Green to meet. 
He listened sympathetically to Ibrahim and many other asylum seekers. He signed our petition and assured the group of his support when we take the petition to the full meeting of the council on Tuesday 4 September.

Lib Dem councillor Simon Cook was away and Guy Poultney his stand in was unavailable. The group went into the foyer of the Council House and managed to just catch Councillor Negus as he was rushing off to a meeting and speak to him. Despite being told Stephen Williams MP was not at his regular Friday surgeries, but was away on holiday, he was spotted and people managed to speak to him for 25 minutes as he was returning from lunch.


This is a promising start and we now plan to ask Bristol council to follow the example of Glasgow City council in condemning the UK Border Agency's policy of destitution and eviction of refused asylum seekers; agreeing that this policy is increasing the strain on the charities and communities supporting their basic needs and asking the government to change the existing rules, which severely restrict local authorities in the support they can provide for failed asylum seekers.


This statement will be presented at 5:30pm at the council house, please come if you can and bring any petitions with signatures. All the petitions will be collected and presented to the full council meeting on 4th September.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

                   Most asylum seekers are struggling with the pressures that are common

due to the lack of any government support and lack of shelter as well as having no work permit, Asylum seekers forced to work heavily with very low wages and When they hope to travel long distances to work
 But under the conditions that have been abused that is best for individual Asylum seekers 
Exclude Asylum seekers from a shelter and health insurance and forcing them to do all the heavy violation of international treaties.
 And the British government should be accountable for the safety of Asylum seekers in their territory 

manesh

Friday, 20 July 2012

Destitute; sleeping on College Green

Yesterday evening and this morning asylum seekers and their supporters went to College Green to campaign about enforced homelessness and destitution. Ibrahim Moulkaf is homeless and has been sleeping on college green for over 2 weeks, he would like your support.
Here is a video he made to tell his situation
. video


Please sign the petition to stop the the destitution of Asylum Seekers, which is in inhumane and degrading. Dignity for Asylum Seekers! Why should innocent people be treated like this?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Homelessness

Instead of safety, many of the asylum seekers in Bristol are forced to sleep rough and become dependent on the help of friends and charities to survive.
Manesh

Take action against our HOMELESSNESS

Asylum seekers who've had asylum application refused are not allowed any recourse to public funds.

This means all financial support for them is stopped and they lose their accommodation after 21 days. No recourse public funds means that once they are homeless, destitute asylum seekers are blocked from accessing any night shelter or hostels.

Manesh

Friday, 6 July 2012

My life waiting....

My name is Esam. I am from Iraq. I am Kurdish. I would like to share my experiences with you.

I have been in the UK for 5 years, since November 2007. My case has been refused by the home office and I am really living with a lot of stress and feeling sad, because I can't go back to my country as it is too unsafe for me, there is still a risk for my life. 

In 2011 the UK home office decided not to send people back to Iraq, because it is unsafe. This is based on rule 39 from the European Court of Human Rights

We asylum seekers live a hard life without housing or benefits and also we have no right to work to improve our lives or rent a house. We can't pay for our study to improve our English, which we need in our daily lives. When I go anywhere, they ask me for Home Office letter which I haven't got or leave to remain. I hope the Home Office change their decisions about asylum seekers like me and let us start our lives here as I can not live there because my life was in risk. This is why I fled and came here. I claimed asylum to find a place of safety and peace.

At the moment I volunteer at Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Hospitality Network and the Tuesday Drop-in group in St Nicholas Church. I am a chef, so I do lot of cooking. I also made a film and sometimes I do interpreting, as best I can. 

I hope they stop the signing at the police station as it makes me feel I am not safe from detention and also deportation. We need people in Bristol from different organisations to support us and help us to survive in the hard life I and other asylum seekers have in the UK.

I am waiting for your help and support. Thank you very much for giving me your time to read my short article.

Asylum Seeker News in UK

UKBA officials 'planned to worsen health of mentally ill asylum seeker'  The Guardian
High court hears Border Agency staff hoped to put pressure on Iraqi man
with paranoid schizophrenia to leave UK.
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/05/mentally-ill-asylum-seeker?newsfeed=true>
See all stories on this topic:
<http://news.google.com/news/story?ncl=http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/05/mentally-ill-asylum-seeker%3Fnewsfeed%3Dtrue&hl=en&geo=us>

Children have been found sleeping rough in Nottingham after their families ...
BBC News
Kurdish asylum seeker Arian Ali said he began sleeping on the streets of
the city after he lost his housing and benefits when his asylum claim was
rejected. Mr Ali, who is not allowed to work in the UK, hopes to challenge
the decision to send him back ...
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-18713817>
See all stories on this topic:
<http://news.google.com/news/story?ncl=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-18713817&hl=en&geo=us>

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

How it feels....

It is very depressing, I don't have any accommodation. I am a refused asylum seeker waiting for re-appeal. I live on £5 a week from Bristol Hospitality Network, which isn't enough. 
Asylum Seeker from Zimbabwe

DIGINITY FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS





March on the 30th of June 
manesh
video


When I have not done any crime, Why do I have to be treated as a criminal?

We are human like you
We live under threat of detention and deportation .
After the each sign till the next one every moment we are thinking what will happened.

These things make us depressed, stressed, and ill.

manesh












We are rebuilding our futures

I really liked the dynamic of the march. I felt that we refugees have a future in Bristol, despite the difficulties and alienation and having to rebuild a new life. It's not so bad in the end as those who get a second chance can change things in their life and in society.
We don't need your pity, but your solidarity. 
Refugee = Refuture


Daahir

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Reflections on Fleeing, Injustice,War, Borders, No Shame by Parwaneh


Parwaneh gave this powerful speech in Queen Square at the end of the demonstration.
 
"As a person who has lived away from her country for 29 years, I have witnessed the life of many asylum seekers and refugees during this time.

Today I would like to focus on the system of asylum seeker in the UK, which takes away the human rights of refused asylum seekers and makes them destitute. In my opinion, this system is not only harmful for asylum seekers, but also has a very negative impact on the society overall. Isolation, depression, hunger, disappointment and fear of these people will have its consequences and they will never feel themselves as a member of the society after such a long time discrimination.

The system does not permit refused asylum seekers to reside in the UK and portrait them to be illegal, but in reality they are living here, although the systems ignore this truth. Further the system does not give them work permission and when the poverty and hunger of these people and their families forced them to work, usually in hardest and most injustice condition, they are arrested and kept in detention or they are threatened with deportation.

If they cannot work legally and are forced to earn below the minimum wage to stay alive, is this not a form of slavery?

I would like to ask according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what is the identity of refused asylum seeker before law? Why they should be punished so hardly for fleeing from a dangerous country? We should not forget, that when powerful countries attack places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, apart from destroying countries and the death of innocent people, they should not be surprised, when endangered people seek asylum. The international intervention must stop. Supporting the dictatorship in the world must stop. 

And please don’t forget, the war and politic are not the only reason for asylum seekers to flee from their countries. Severe poverty is clearly violation against human rights. When unjust global investment occurs in countries where people are barbarically exploited and enslaved, how can you justly expect people to remain under the merciless condition without trying to move to other places in the hope of perhaps having a better life. 

Different forms of contemporary slavery, show exploitation of people particularly women and children is growing in entire world, for example %80 of coca produced by using slave labour in Ivory Coast.

The company Gap uses very cheap labour, sometimes children under 12 years old.

The company Nestle also enslaves labours in the most brutal form. Trafficking as a new form of slavery is now a very profitable trade. The profit of weapons productions are unimaginably high, whereas several children die from hunger every day in Africa. 

In such a world full of injustice the border of wealthy countries “ of course with human rights constitutions!” are closed to impoverished people. The distance between wealth and poverty is increasing every day and this is a real danger for the entire world’s future generation .The form of unjust global investment and new form of slavery must stop immediately.

It seems that the contemporary borders are rather the border between poor and rich countries. Millions of people are prisoners of their own borders and has not accessibility to human rights. And when these people manage to escape from their inhuman situation, sometimes the process of recognizing an asylum seeker can take several years. Home Office , consider only a few Article for asylum seekers, but how about Article 6 and 7 that state everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before law, how about Article 25, which state everyone has the right to standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of her/himself and her or his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the security. 

And finally how about Article 13 which state: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. This lack of freedom of movement as an essential right may be one of the reasons why vast international inequality of wealth persist and are growing. Who determine where others reside? Seeking asylum is a right and we have responsibility to respect it. No one is in this world illegal. Stop detention of asylum seeker, stop deportation of asylum seeker, stop violation of human rights. 

Now to asylum seeker: do not be ashamed of your situation. Those who have caused this situation must be ashamed. According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you are entitled to equal respect and justice. You are citizen of this world. You need to know you are not alone. There are many kind people, have helped you, such people, who have made this events."

Report on March

On Saturday 30th June we went on a March for Dignity for Asylum Seekers and there was more people than we expected. We marched through the city centre telling people, enlightening them about asylum seekers and what we are going through. Everybody marched with peace and happiness. We stopped at the Trinity Police Station and spoke about the different things we are suffering from.
Anon

Housing for everyone

A lot of people are losing some of their housing benefits from the cuts. I feel sorry for them because I know how it is to be destitute. I think it will be good to work together. A lot of people are blaming immigrants that they think are taking their houses when they are not. 
Cindy from Zimbabwe

Monday, 2 July 2012

DIGNITY FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS



video

 Excellent!I'm proud today ,and happy of being with you . We're optimistic to the future and also  invite the other asylum seekers and people to join us by the next steps and support , we all know the government treating badly to the asylum seekers SO this is just beginning of our way we have to challenge and be patient
manesh

Article on Bristol 24/7 about the march last Saturday.

Bristol refugees march to raise awareness of struggle:
Asylum seekers in Bristol have marched through the city for the first time to raise awareness of the struggles they face to be accepted.
An estimated 250 people marched from Easton to Queen Square on Saturday to “speak out about the myths, truths and suffering of people seeking asylum in the UK”.

We are reduced to nothing....

"Asylum seekers' have been reduced to nothing. No house, no support, no legal aid, no proper health support. We have been treated as criminals. We are monitored regulary, we have to go to police station to sign monthly or weekly. This makes us feel bad, because you don't know when you will be arrested and detained."

WHERE WE ARE?

The government make awful situation for asylum seekers, they cut legal services... you know it's a  ridiculous system. How can asylum seekers defend their human rights when we are restricted of solicitors, legal aid etc? We asylum seekers live with just a few coins or sometime nothing at every week, no accommodation and not able to speak English because they are not allow to learn English, spending time on a street, sleeping in a park, living in limbo for years..............


So those problem make us depressed, ill, sad, far from the society.....
Imagine yourself at this situation ,What will happen?
The motto is Where All are Equal, no Human is Illegal.
manesh

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Explain to people our situation

  “It was great for me because I think for first time the people of Bristol know the problems asylum seekers face.
We need solutions for our problems, that is why we came on the streets. I think we did good job, passing our message to people. We want people to be the bridge between us and the home office, telling them to stop being tough on asylum seekers and not to turn down our cases.
Asylum seekers can't feel safe when we have to sign at the police station every week, we feel stressed because of risk of deportation and it is not safe to send us back. We came because we are looking for place of safety and peace.”
Esam

We sent a message yesterday

“We passed message to people and to the Home Office that asylum seekers are human too and want dignity. 
I feel more freedom and more happiness after today's march. We walked together. We want to improve our situation, so that it is more equal between people. We are not less than other people.
I think we will stop them sending people back to dangerous places. We came together and we will again to fight for safety and dignity. 
Also we need send the message to the government that we really have problems in our country. It's not for fun or for nothing that we are here. If our situation changes in our country we will go home.”
Nassour