What can justify leaving people destitute? - Refugee Council
December 10, 2007

What can justify leaving people destitute?

The Parliamentary launch of ‘Still Human Still Here’, Amnesty International’s DVD showing the plight of failed asylum seekers suffering destitution took place on 4th December at the House of Commons, at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees – which I chair.

Speakers at the launch included Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, Jan Shaw of Amnesty, and Jon Cruddas MP.

With all due respect to the powerful points made by all the speakers, the real stars of the launch were the people who described their experiences as asylum seekers, both in the meeting and on the DVD. Listening to their testimonies of just what they had gone through, or were still going through, brought home to everyone the devastating effects of Government policy towards failed asylum seekers.

The question we all were faced with was how could we, as a rich and civilised country treat people like this. What could justify leaving people destitute, either on the streets or living on the charity of relatives or friends?

The ‘Still Human Still Here’ campaign aims to persuade the Government to drop the policies which deny support to failed asylum seekers, and to allow people who cannot be returned to countries of origin to work while they remain in the UK. The policy of denial of access to healthcare for failed asylum seekers must be stopped; so far 40 MPs have signed a House of Commons motion on this, but we need more.

Watch the DVD, support the campaign, and lobby your MP: www.stillhuman.org.uk

Neil Gerrard is MP for Walthamstow and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees.