Socialist Worker

Glasgow asylum seekers protest to save their homes

Issue No. 2299

Protesters showing solidarity with refugees in Glasgow last weekend (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Protesters showing solidarity with refugees in Glasgow last weekend (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Up to 140 refugees in Glasgow face destitution as responsibility for housing vulnerable people passes to the multinational security firm Serco.

The charity Ypeople—formerly YMCA Glasgow—currently runs housing for vulnerable people and asylum seekers. But the government has given the contract to Serco.

Ypeople has informed tenants whose asylum claims have been refused that it will not support them during the handover period, which runs until November.

The charity’s chief executive Joe Connelly said, “We have known since December but didn’t want to hurl anyone out in winter.”

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) says that anyone refused asylum should return to their country of origin. But these include war-torn countries or ones with repressive regimes, such as Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

Some 200 people joined a demonstration against the evictions on Thursday of last week outside the Red Road flats where many of the refugees live.

Ako Khalil Zada, a refugee from Iraq and member of the National Union of Journalists, faces eviction.

He told Socialist Worker, “We need to put pressure on the whole system to end destitution and allow people to live normal lives. If you can’t work, sleep or even eat, then where is your human dignity?”

Margaret Woods of Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said, “Many of those being made destitute have been tortured. Some are reduced to finding food in rubbish bins. They are a shadow population who are offered no rights except to deportation.”

There has been a long tradition of campaigning against deportations in Glasgow. This has successfully halted dawn raids on families and the detention of children.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, has said he is opposed to the evictions. But as local elections approach people are demanding answers.

Margaret added, “Working class people from the poorest parts of the city have fought to defend their new refugee neighbours.

“Glasgow council and the Scottish government have a moral and political responsibility here. A human rights crisis is unfolding on the streets of Glasgow.”

Another meeting was set to take place on Tuesday to discuss further action.

The protest was called by Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and the National Coalition of Anti Deportation Campaigns.

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Tue 17 Apr 2012, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2299
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