STOP THE DESTITUTION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS
- Kameliya Lambova
- Bristol City Council
- United Kingdom
Ibrahim from Algeria has been seeking asylum in Britain since 2005. He was educated to university level in Algeria without a leader, when both the Algerian National Army and armed Islamic militias began to take part in violence and human rights abuses directed at the Algerian civilian population, Ibrahim fled the army in protest and went into hiding in the mountains.
When a new president came into power in 1999, he felt safe enough to return to Algiers where he dedicated himself to writing a book entitled ‘Democracy in the Arab and Islamic World’. This book eloquently expresses his opinions on the ‘fierce conflict’ between democracy and Islam and shows a strongly held intellectual skepticism over the contemporary application of Islamic ‘Sharia’ law in Algeria. It was published in Paris in 2009.
The writing and publishing of his work caught the eye of hard-line Islamic militants. They accused him of being anti-Islamic, and started a hate campaign against him – they preached against him in the mosques, he received death threats and people beat and insulted him in the streets. They broke into his house, smashing down the door and tore up the manuscript oh his book and his other writings. At this point Ibrahim realized he had to flee the country or he could very soon lose his life.
He escaped to England by sea and land and not long after applied for asylum. At this point the troubles began that have lasted until now. His claim for asylum suffered set back after set back due to unsuitable interpreters and a shocking lack of legal advice and support throughout his case. He has been forced to spend long months and years waiting for repeated negative decision from the authorities.
He has been forced to move from house to house, surviving on next to nothing: not being legally allowed to work, and denied access to benefits and education. Finally he decided to apply to voluntarily return to Algeria, despite the obvious danger, but this also was refused on the grounds that they could not obtain a travel document for him. So, here he is – in an endless limbo; a horrific and dehumanizing no man’s land with no options left.
Ibrahim has finally and bravely decided to sleep out on College Green, in front of Bristol City Council, he has been sleeping there every single night since the 1st of July, for 19 days now, to tell his story openly, without fear or shame, to put it into the hands of the authorities and the British Public, hoping through this peaceful and poignant protest that the long years of waiting and suffering may finally be resolved.
By signing this petition you are showing your support for Ibrahim and for the many other destitute asylum seekers living in limbo, who experience absolute and severe poverty, who have no money and accommodation or the right to work and support themselves. In supporting the motion, we believe that the Council can send a strong message to the UK Government that its inhumane and ineffective policy of forcing people who have been refused asylum into abject poverty onto the streets of our city is unacceptable to the people of Bristol.
We, the undersigned, urge Bristol City Council to follow the example of Glasgow City Council and adopt the following policy with appropriate amendments for Bristol..
Glasgow City Council Meeting 28 June 2012,
Council condemns the United Kingdom Border Agency policy of destitution and the eviction of refused asylum seekers that is increasing the strain on the charities and communities supporting their most basic needs.
Council believes that the numbers of destitute asylum seekers now living on the streets of Glasgow (read Bristol) represents a humanitarian crisis that requires an urgent response.
Council endorses the Scottish Refugee Policy Forum conference report recommendation that all asylum seekers should be provided with UKBA cash support until they are granted status or leave the country.
Council therefore demands that the UK Government change existing rules which severely restrict local authorities in the support they can provide to failed asylum seekers. Council calls on the Chief executive to write to the UK Government, seeking a change in policy to allow local authorities to assist refugees in danger of destitution.
The STOP THE DESTITUTION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS petition to Bristol City Council was written by Kameliya Lambova and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.