Sunday, 5 August 2007

UK Asylum Seeker Shame

According to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who "Owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country". Source. Asylum Seeker has the exact same definition.

So imagine you fear for your safety and the safety of your family because of the possibility of persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion or what ever, you come to the UK in the hope of finding a safe haven, a place were you can live free from these fears and you end up in a detention center looking alot like this,

_39479427_campsfield203 I understand that people who are seeking asylum do need to have their story looked into as well as their background history checked, especially in the climate of terrorist activity the UK is facing at the moment, but surely there are other ways of knowing were you are until these checks have been done such as tagging, were you can still wonder freely until your checks have come through. But to be held in what looks to me like nothing more than a "High security" prison like a criminal, your crime? fearing for the safety of you and your family. The picture above is of Campsfield House, near Kidlington in Oxford, were some of the UK`s Asylum seekers are placed. This shame came to light to me anyway when I read that 26 "detainees" had escaped during a disturbance at this detention center on Saturday night when a fire was lit. The trouble began a day after more than 150 detainees agreed to suspend a hunger strike they had been maintaining. They complained to officials about overcrowded conditions and claimed they were being held illegally. A helicopter, police dogs and a large number of officers are searching for the escapees. Can you imagine what it would feel like to flee to the UK only to be hunted down by helicopters and police dogs? I know for sure that if I was among the "detainees" I would be once again fearing for my life as well as thinking that the UK is not a good place to live safely.

To end, again I find myself quoting Human Rights violations in reference to the way the UK is acting, this time:
Article 9:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 14:
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

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