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ASYLUM DISPERSAL POLICY UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT AFTER REFUGEE MURDERED

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After the weekend murder of a Kurdish asylum seeker, Positive Action in Housing director Robina Qureshi made the fo...
After the weekend murder of a Kurdish asylum seeker, Positive Action in Housing director Robina Qureshi made the following statement:

'Despite fleeing persecution, Scotland's asylum seekers remain unsafe from

persecution and bloodshed in their new country of 'refuge'. On a daily

basis, refugee communities face racist taunts, physical attacks and simply

want out. They are devalued as human beings because of forced dispersal,

vouchers and negative political and tabloid criticisms. The racially

motivated murder of the Kurdish asylum seeker has confirmed their worst

fears.

'The message from the asylum seekers' protest on Sunday is that they do not

feel safe; existing resources are simply not enough and more police officers

must be on the street to ensure the safety and security of asylum seekers

who are without doubt a vulnerable group. The council is getting£100m from the government to accommodate asylum seekers: how much of that money is going to the police for extra officers and community police work in Sighthill? The failure to respond adequately could fuel further tensions and result in more bloodshed or even murder.

'The Scottish executive also has a responsibility to divert money into

Sighthill and put in place resources, amenities and decent housing for all,

as well as financing the promotion good race relations through community

development initiatives to further polarisation of refugees and local

communities in Sighthill.

'Asylum is an issue reserved to Westminster, but the issue of racial tensions

and potential race riots in Scotland is not. The government's dispersal

policy, which imposed no choice dispersal on asylum seekers, is failing with

tragic consequences. The government must have known that bringing empty

council houses into use for asylum seekers would result in mass

concentrations of asylum seekers and fuel racial tensions in already

deprived council estates. In Glasgow in particular this has meant whole

estates. The scenario of attacks and murders could therefore have been

predicted. Positive Action in Housing has long called for no-choice

dispersal to be dropped and for the government to support asylum seekers to

be relocated in areas where they feel safe and through private rented

accommodation, council or housing association stock, rather than NASS/Home

Office simply negotiating contracts. Asylum seekers must have say in where

they are relocated. A better spread of asylum seekers across the city would

then take place and cause fewer problems of racial tensions.

'The Saada brothers who were put into intensive care following a mob attack

by 30 local people in Sighthill had wanted to come to Scotland with hopes of

a friendly welcome. Sadly they had to leave following the attacks on them.

'It is an indictment of our society that Scotland cannot find the heart to

accept asylum seekers into our society as equal human beings, despite the

atrocities these human beings had to flee. What message does this murder

send out aboutScotland, if not that we value the life of an asylum seekers

less than we value a dog?'

* see LGCnetfor comments from home office minister Lord Rooker today.

Note

Positive Action in Housing campaigns for the housing rights for refugees

and minority communities in Scotland. We are working with communities and

housing providers to enable everyone to live in safe, affordable housing

free from discrimination and the fear of racial harassment and violence.

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