What better way to bring the first month of the year to a close than turn up for a musical delight at Nice n’ Sleazy’s in Sauchiehall Street?
In aid of Govan Destitution Fund which provides practical support for destitute asylum seekers, the gig on Sunday 30 January has a terrific line-up: Swedish/Scottish(ish) indie circus popsters, The Social Services; island-fired, melodious folk ensemble, Bear Bones and the lovely Timbrel.
Entry £6. Asylum seekers free
Destitute asylum seekers will be given survival packs next week from the combined efforts of Positive Action in Housing (PAiH), Destiny’s Angels and the British Red Cross. This is to ensure those at risk of being homeless over the Christmas and New Year holiday will have essentials such as food, hygiene packs, sleeping bags, tents and cash.
If you can volunteer to help with giving out these packs please email: email@example.com
Supporters are encouraged to bring in gift bags of sealed food items, chocolates, tangerines, tealight candles and warm, clean blankets to the PaiH office at 98 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1PJ. Either drop these in before Tuesday 21December or bring them in on Tuesday morning and help out. To confirm you will drop in or attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org,
Please give a regular, monthly donation at www.justgiving.com/paih/donate
Donate to the XmasAppeal at http://www.justgiving.com/Hardshipfundxmasappeal2010
For more info email email@example.com or call Jamie O’Neill – 0141 353 2220.
Two vulnerable asylum seekers have been given less than 24 hours’ notice to move out of their accommodation.
This has happened despite assurances by the UK Borders Agency that families would receive a minimum of three days’ notice before being removed and despite Immigration Minister Damian Green’s promise that people would be given 14 days’ notice.
In one case, a single mum from Iran with two school age children, has lived in her Glasgow City Council accommodation for two years. She has been told to go to YMCA accommodation. In the other case, a single man was told to leave his council flat and move into Angel property.
Said a spokesperson from Unity, an asylum support agency: ‘It is shocking that anyone would be treated in such a way but reprehensible that it should be done with no regard to their medical background.’
Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing, said: ‘Despite assurances, the UKBA are carrying on regardless with their inhumane tactics. We call for the actions of the UKBA to be investigated by the Scottish Affairs Select committee. The UKBA’s behaviour is nothing less than contemptuous.’
The situation has arisen because the housing contract between Glasgow City Council and the UKBA agency has been withdraw by UKBA.
PAIH’s supporters are being asked to contact elected representatives and other key people, to demand an investigation and assurances that no more 24 hour eviction letters will be sent out to the remaining 600 refugee families.
More information on: Twitter: http://twitter.com/PAIHLTD
Glasgow MP Anas Sarwar has secured a commitment from David Mundell, Scotland Office Minister, to meet with asylum seekers affected by the axing of a UKBA contract with Glasgow City Council to house and support them.
During Scottish Questions on Wednesday 1 December, the Westminster MP for Glasgow Central asked the Minister to visit Glasgow to gain a greater understanding of the stresses that asylum seekers are facing so that he can effectively communicate their immediate needs to the Immigration Minister, Damian Green.
Anas Sarwar said: ‘Hundreds of vulnerable people who came to Glasgow seeking refuge have been placed under enormous unnecessary stress as a result of the decision to axe a contract to house and support them.
‘It’s vital that government ministers are aware of the huge impact that this mishandled decision has had; so I’m pleased that David Mundell has agreed to come to Glasgow to meet all affected parties.
‘I hope that he will then report the immediate needs of all parties back to the Immigration Minister so that this sorry episode can be resolved as soon as possible.’
Robert Burns, our National Poet in Scotland, said it more than 250 years ago: ‘Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.’
Today in Glasgow the same could be said. The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) is prepared to uproot more than 1300 families at short notice because the housing contract with Glasgow City Council for asylum seekers could not be satisfactorily re-negotiated.
While no one is saying why this happened, the pointers are that it was a matter of money. If UKBA can find this accommodation cheaper elsewhere it can be argued in today’s treacherous economic climate that they have a duty to the tax payer to do that.
But at what cost in human terms?
Would it not be better for the UK Government to allow those who arrive on these shore in search of sanctuary to WORK? Earn their own living. Do what they are trained to do. Use their knowledge, experience, professional skills?
That might avoid horrendous situations like this one arising. The Local News Glasgow will endeavour to continue to ask Glasgow City Council, the UKBA and other agencies the questions they sometimes seem unable or unwilling to answer.
We will, of course, speak directly to the people affected by this distressing situation and keep our loyal readers in touch with events.
By Martin Graham & Erik Geddes
400 people took to the streets for a march from Red Road flats to the city centre to express their grief at the recent suicide of three Russian asylum seekers.
The Serykh family jumped to their deaths from the high flats at 63 Petershill Drive after their asylum claim was rejected.
Led by Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Positive Action in Housing, the marchers made it clear that refugees are welcome in the city and that the Home Office and UK Border Agency should adopt more humane policies when dealing with asylum seekers.
As the marchers reached the City Chambers, they held a mass sit down and chanted ‘Say it loud and say it clear, refugees are welcome here.’
Organisers were told by police that they could not gather in George Square due to construction work, so the group moved on to Shuttle Street, where there were speeches from Green MSP Patrick Harvie, STUC representatives and SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin.
Many of the speakers criticised Labour MP for Glasgow North East, Willie Bain, for failing to attend and show his support.
Speaking afterwards, Anne McLaughlin said: ‘The Home Office are refusing to speak to MSPs about asylum issues, claiming that it is a reserved issue and outwith our remit. But I will continue to fight for the rights of asylum seekers in Glasgow.’
Campaigners are calling for a public inquiry or a fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of the three Russians.
Denis Davies, a volunteer with Unity, a charity which operates an advice and support network for Asylum seekers in Glasgow, was on the march. He says the march went well but claims political support from the local MP was short in supply.
He said: ‘The core of the march was asylum seekers and people form the Red Road flats, so it was quite representative of the area.’But Willie Bain never came, and we’ve not had much support from him in the past.’
‘The Home Office do what they want to do and it makes the lives of very vulnerable people more difficult than they already are.’
‘The Home Office seem to be changing their story as and when it suits; I understand that they are now saying that the Serykh family jumped because the father was mentally ill – but their asylum claim was refused on the grounds that they were not mentally ill.’
Willie Bain MP was last at Red Road on the Monday morning following the incident. He discounts claims that he is not doing enough. The former law lecturer says that a more ‘integrated approach’ is needed to try and stop future tragedies.
He said : ‘I’ve spoke to the Prime Minister about this. I’m trying to see if the border agency can work a bit more closely with the NHS and social work to try and pick up some of the particular vulnerabilities and health issues that some asylum seekers might have.
‘In this case here it’s very clear that there was an underlying mental health issue. ‘Neither I nor anybody that spoke to him believed that Sergie Serykh or his family believed they were capable of self-harm, which of course is what eventually happened.
‘The one lesson that we can take is that there has got be a better understanding of working together between the home office and the other local agencies to prevent other such tragedies in the future.
‘The biggest thing we can do is get through asylum claims more quickly, and that is why the Home Office has taken on more case workers.
‘The Asylum seekers that come to me don’t like being in limbo, they need to know more quickly where there future lies and if they can work in the UK or not.’