Rally highlights destitute asylum seekers’ plight

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

by Martin Graham

Noreen Real addresses the rain soaked crowd.

ONE HUNDRED and fifty people braved the cold and hail on Saturday morning to attend a rally at the UKBA building at Brand Street, Govan, to protest at plans to evict up to 200 asylum seekers from their homes.

Charity Ypeople, formerly YMCA, are set to evict up to 140 people seeking sanctuary after losing a government contract to Serco.

Serco is an international service company which also operates tagging schemes for offenders, runs prisons and has business at Guantanamo Bay.

Ypeople had been allowing refugees whose asylum claims had been refused, to remain in their homes. But under the new contract they may be forced to evict these tenants. Ypeople said that the profit on this contract for the UK Borders Authority (UKBA) was used to enable people to say on over the contracted time.

Speakers at the rally  included Kingsway campaigner and former Scotswoman of the year Noreen Real.

Noreen said: “I will fight with the last breath in my body to stop our government treating people like animals. We’re not dealing with animals, we’re dealing with human beings. Stop starving them out, stop putting them out on the street.”

Susan Quinn of the EIS shared her views.

EIS president elect Susan Quinn said: “We are being asked in schools to develop curriculums where we promote citizenship and understanding, where we promote empathy, yet what are our leaders doing? Our leaders are doing the exact opposite of what we teach our young people.”

Phil Jones from Unity support centre said: “There are proposals to house refugees in board-only accommodation. They could be housed in hostels with only food and no money.”

A temporary night shelter in the city is already attracting an average of ten people a night.  There are also known to be a large number of rejected asylum seekers in Glasgow who have a roof over the head only because friends let them sleep on their sofa.