In response to the asylum statistics for 2008 published today, Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Development at the Refugee Council said:
“These figures demonstrate a very worrying trend: poor decision-making leading to people having their claims refused but who can’t be sent home. Many are left homeless and destitute, without any welfare support or permission to work to support themselves.
“The Refugee Council recently released a report on our work with women who have been subject to sexual violence in their home countries. It revealed they often are then subject to sexual violence here in the UK as a result of destitution, either prostituting themselves for food and shelter or living in vulnerable environments or on the street, putting them at risk of rape or sexual assault.
“This enforced destitution must end. The answer, of course, is in better decision-making – still nearly a quarter of appeals are successful, which shows how poor initial decisions still are. And put some flexibility in the system to allow for people whose lives are at risk but who don’t qualify under the narrow terms of the refugee convention, rather than turning them down and leaving them out on the street.”