Refugee Council response to Joseph Rowntree inquiry into asylum seeker destitution - Refugee Council
March 28, 2007

Refugee Council response to Joseph Rowntree inquiry into asylum seeker destitution

An independent inquiry into destitution among refused asylum seekers, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and published on Wednesday 28 March 2007, has found that government policy on the treatment of refused asylum seekers is failing. It describes the ‘appalling and inhumane’ conditions facing asylum seekers whose claims have been turned down and who are left destitute, and calls for urgent reform.

In response to the inquiry, Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We hope this balanced and reasonable report, from an independent inquiry, will finally convince the government that its policy towards refused asylum seekers has failed and that urgent reform is needed.

“As the independent commissioners make clear, the current policy of using destitution to enforce return might look tough but it isn’t delivering results. For all sorts of reasons, which the government well understands, many refused asylum seekers can’t return home – at least for the time being. Given that, the policy of denying refused asylum seekers all support and refusing them the right to work manages to be both immoral and pointless.

“Today the Home Office will be unveiling yet more measures to strengthen our borders and keep people out. But border control is just one aspect of an effective asylum policy – just as important is how the system treats vulnerable people. The government cannot turn a blind eye to the scandal of asylum seeker destitution forever and this report makes a number of sensible and workable recommendations which we urge ministers and officials to consider carefully.”


Notes to editors:

1. Please contact Jon Flinn at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust on 0151 709 0505 for embargoed copies of the report and further information.

2. The Refugee Council is running the “Just Fair” campaign to combat the destitution caused by the operation of the asylum system.

3. The Refugee Council has joined a number of concerned organisations in a joint campaign “Still Human Still Here” which has proposed an amendment to the UK Borders Bill 2007 to change the definitions used for asylum seekers, the effect of which would be to end their current lack of welfare support

4. The Refugee Council has also published a briefing on the denial of access to health services for refused asylum seekers

Further information:

See the Yorkshire’s Post’s feature: Plight of the refugees left to rot in Yorkshire