A special week of coverage on asylum seekers and refugees 24-28 June

You can contribute to our week of coverage by emailing media@common.scot

COMMONSPACE is running a special week of coverage in the last week of June on refugees and asylum seekers, focusing on rights. 

The week of coverage coincides with Scotland’s Refugee Festival 2019, which CS will be reporting at over the course of the week.

For more information on all the events taking place visit this link. 

In 2016 the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, stated that the refugee crisis was so large that more people displaced in that year than after the second world war

Slightly more people than the UK population, some 68.5 million, are forcibly displaced. The majority, 40 million, are internally displaced, and the rest become refugees and asylum seekers. 

UNHCR

Of those refugees and asylum seekers, the UK takes in a pitifully small number: of 6.3 million Syrian refugees, the UK has agreed to take in just 20,000 from 2015-2020. And of those asylum seekers who reach British shores, less than one third have their asylum requests accepted, compared to an average European grant rate of 63-65 per cent. 

The UK’s attitude to asylum seekers is also particularly nasty – it’s the only European country with no statutory time-limit for keeping people in detention centres, which have terrible human rights records. 

In Scotland, the Scottish Government has sought to take a more progressive approach to refugees and asylum seekers, seeking to expand the electoral franchise for the Scottish Parliament to all residents of Scotland, and have opposed the brutality of Dungavel detention centre, run by the UK Home Office in South Lanarkshire. But it’s powers are limited, with immigration policy reserved to Westminster. 

The issue of rights for asylum seekers has returned to public attention with the announcement by outsourcing firm Serco that it would re-start it’s lock-change programme on 300 asylum seekers in Glasgow, after suspending it last year following a legal challenge and public campaign.

CommonSpace will be exploring all of this and more in our special week of coverage, including looking at these three areas:

  • Housing: How do we ensure no one goes destitute?
  • Voting rights: Is political equality possible?
  • Right to work: Ending the alienation and indignity of enforced unemployment

And we want to hear from you: tell us your stories, ideas and views on refugees and asylum seekers by emailing media@common.scot, and we’ll publish them on the site between 24-28 June. 

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