Police told to take tougher action on racist attitudes towards asylum seekers

23 Feb 2001

Refugee Council release

In response to concerns expressed by the Association of Chief Police Officers and reports about their new initiative to curb attacks on refugees and asylum seekers, Nick Hardwick, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

"We receive reports of harassment against asylum seekers every day and so welcome any initiative which can curb this alarming trend. Better information about asylum seekers and the serious human rights abuses many are fleeing could begin to dispel many of the myths flying around and greatly improve the situation. This is an important issue that should be widely debated but we are very concerned that some of the language being used in some sections of the media is inflaming hostility and obscuring the facts. If people suddenly find a large group of male strangers in their area they know nothing about, then rumors are bound to fly and can fuel racist and prejudiced views which can lead to serious incidents.

As figures on race attacks have recently doubled, we also welcome the identification of race attacks within other forms of racial harassment so that the extent of the problem can be fully understood.

There needs to be a proactive policy where local authorities, national government and the voluntary sector work together to address the issues."

ENDS

Read more about the report.