Church agency launches resource to help refused asylum seekers

By staff writers
17 Mar 2008

A set of ten action points has been issued by a Christian agency suggesting ways that refused (so-called 'failed') asylum seekers and refugees can be helped.

Churches and others in the UK are being urged by the UK Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS-UK) to, amongst other things, visit detainees in removal centres.

In a leaflet entitled 'Refused … and then what?', JRS-UK encourages supporters to speak out against xenophobia and anti-immigration/refugee propaganda. It also appeals for toiletries and dried goods for asylum seekers, as well as suggesting volunteering opportunities.

JRS-UK uses stories from real asylum seekers and refugees to explain why their work is so vital. One of them, identified as Serge from Congo, said that the many locked doors at the Detention Centre he was sent to made it feel like a jail.

"I suddenly wondered if I came to England to seek asylum or to spend the rest of my life in jail," he said. Another - Gloria from Uganda - said that the Jesuit Refugee Service had always been there for her and her daughter: "They give me some money to live, to feed my child and travel grants to see my solicitor."

The new resource also details the facilities JRS-UK provides for destitute asylum seekers, such as helping to find furniture for their first flat in the UK or referring them to medical and legal services.

Visiting an asylum seeker in detention is another one of the Action Points listed in the booklet. The charity already supports detainees by visiting them in the Removal Centres or by providing them with phone cards to reduce their sense of isolation.

Copies of Refused ... and then what? can be obtained from JRS-UK at 6 Melior Street, London SE1 3QP. Phone: 020 7357 0974 or email uk@jrs.uk

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