Refugee Council backs pilgrimage in support of destitute asylum seekers - Refugee Council
December 2, 2005

Refugee Council backs pilgrimage in support of destitute asylum seekers

The Refugee Council in Leeds has expressed its support for a pilgrimage organised by churches in Leeds in solidarity with people seeking asylum who have been made destitute. The pilgrimage, on the afternoon of Sunday 4 December, is part of Church Action on Poverty’s new ‘Living Ghosts’ campaign to change Government policies that make those people seeking asylum destitute.

The campaign has the support of over 30 bishops. Some supporters will be taking part in the Endurance Challenge to live as a destitute asylum seeker for the first week of advent (27 November-4 December) on £5 and a food parcel.

Charlotte Cooke, manager of the Refugee Council in Leeds said:

“Churches in Leeds have been at the front line in dealing with destitute asylum seekers. We wholeheartedly support this endeavour to bring to public attention the scale of destitution being caused in Leeds and beyond by a government policy that fails everybody in our community.”

The Refugee Council’s Chief Executive, Maeve Sherlock will speak at Living Ghost’s conference in Manchester on Saturday 3 December, as part of the campaign launch.

Reverend Canon Kathryn Fitzsimons, Urban Officer diocese of Ripon & Leeds, said:

“In this rich and welcoming country of ours we now have people seeking asylum who are destitute, homeless, or living on food parcels. Many of these people are ‘living ghosts’ that no one knows about.

“Britain has a long history of welcoming people escaping poverty and suffering and recognising their rights to ‘food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services’ (UN Declaration of Human Rights). Our society believes that everyone within our borders who can work should be able to, and there is security for those that can’t. We call on the Government to uphold these values and change the policies that are making people destitute.”

Notes to editor:

Living Ghosts is a campaign of Church Action on Poverty with the support of the Churches Commission for Racial Justice, Churches Refugee Network, Enabling Christians in Serving Refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service and the National Catholic Refugee Forum. A Campaign Pack is available from 0161 236 9321 or