'Despite fleeing persecution, Scotland's asylum seekers remain unsafe from
persecution and bloodshed in their new country of 'refuge'. On a daily
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
'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.
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.