Our residents’ home countries have profound human rights abuses, restrictions on basic freedoms, unjust detentions without trial and regimes that use violence as a form of control.
Once our government refuses to protect these people, they are not allowed to work or claim benefits and have no access to homeless accommodation. Many individuals are forced to sleep rough or depend on already overstretched friends. Many women are forced into prostitution. Research by Julian Prior (Action Foundation CEO) in 2005/6 estimated the number of destitute asylum seekers to be 300+ people in Newcastle alone.
Many other organisations (including Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Oxfam and the Salvation Army to name a few) have raised grave concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.
In 2008/9 Julian Prior chaired a working group on this issue on behalf of the political think tank called The Centre for Social Justice, started by Iain Duncan Smith MP. You can read this report ’Asylum Matters – Restoring trust in the UK Asylum System’ here.
Our hope is that through raising awareness and campaigning we will see an end to destitution amongst asylum seekers. However, until that happens we will continue to accommodate as many people as we can.