Monday, 28 January 2013


Set up the tents to sleep out 

Gathering  people to support
support destitute asylum seekers

                                                           I like this leaflets,BUT.......
                                              new dawn with beautiful people
                                              transfer campaign staff even with bike

thanks to everyone for supporting us

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Destitution Song - Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

Destitution is destroying
Destitution is inhumane
Destitution is frightening
Destitution is so unfair.

Why should there be destitution, destitution in our city of Sanctuary.

Why should there be destitution, destitution in our city, our lovely Bristol.

Destitution is depressing
Destitution is so unfair
Destitution is degrading
Destitution is should not be there.

Why should there be destitution, destitution in our city of Sanctuary, why should there be destitution, destitution in our city lovely old city of Bristol.

Today Patrick sang this song in the Bristol Refugee Rights welcome centre, whilst we showed photos from the chains of destitution sleep out last week.

Then some of us joined Anna from Bristol City of Sanctuary for a Holocaust Memorial Day event, where we remembered all of those who suffered so much in the holocaust. We met people from across Bristol who are facing and fighting discrimination.  Esam and Pat told many people about the situation destitute asylum seekers experience in Bristol.

This song symbolises for me the way destitution makes people feel and how it's a way of persecuting people, a message I hope we got across to people today.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

What is destitution?

We all know the central and local government know asylum seekers problems, but we went there to campaign and sleep outside in the freezing weather to make it visible to the public, and to say we were not poor and didn't come here because of money or to find a better job.

We fled from our country and left behind our family and friends and possessions just to be safe, but this government disbelieve us and doesn't treat us as humans and has left us in limbo.

We want to change the unjust laws for the Asylum seekers.

Being destitute and not stable is not only about food or no place to stay, it causes other problems, like intellectual problems and depression and mental health problems. It makes people lonely and unable to be part of society.


Friday, 18 January 2013

Video of our statements, the councillors' discussion and the vote.

Statements from Manesh and Father Richard

Direct link

The Motion and amendment being discussed and voted on by the councillors.

Direct link


We all are happy of having snow and thanks GOD and enjoy... and also let all of us pray for everyone who is destitute that they can find a place with friends and supporters and be warm and safe

 x manesh

Speaking to the council

To sit next to Father Richard from St Nicholas church in the council chamber gave me a positive feeling and I felt peaceful when I spoke. My speech was not perfect, but I was happy to talk there because we are right and just looking for the human rights and to challenge the unjust laws. Thanks to the people and councillors who supported us to make this happen. x manesh

Really beautiful and positive night

I have to say Monday evening and all the night and the day after was really beautiful and full of positive felling and love. Thanks to people who brought food, drinks and instruments to play music this was lovely and even to people who just stayed for a few minutes.

Congratulations to all of them and also I must say all this happened because of what we have done in the past year at different places and events and little by little we have to go forward and challenge and force the central government to change the unjust law for Asylum seekers.

 x Manesh

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The motion was passed, with 80% support. All non-Conservative councillors present at the meeting voted in favour.

Asylum seekers and supporters with Cllr Ron Stone and Cllr Fi Hance very pleased after the meeting! 
The vote to pass the motion was made around just before 7pm, around 24 hours after we first came to camp out on Monday, as you can imagine we were all very tired by this point, but really pleased to hear wonderful speeches from Fi Hance and Ron Stone and other councillors. George Ferguson Mayor of Bristol said that "We should not tolerate destitution in our city for any reason" and that He will speak with the leaders of the other core cities and encourage them to join him in writing a letter to the minister of state deploring the government policy that forces refused asylum seekers into destitution.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Speaking now in council meeting

"I want to work and pay my taxes."
"We slept outside last night"
"I want to be human like you".

"By government decree they have no roof, no clothes, no food, no decent healthcare."
"The government voted against detention without trial for terrorists, but not for asylum seekers.
This motion cries out with suffering, that you can do something to help and deserves to be passed unanimously."
"Do the right thing for your brothers and sisters and for your city. Transform the life of the partly living into a life of hope, freedom and opportunity."

Father Richard McKay.

Walking into city hall in chains of destitution

Read quotes, hear a song and find out more about why we are sleeping out.

Hover mouse over the image to see icons, click on the icons to see more information.

Sleeping out on College Green

Many of us gathered this evening at College Green, some of us to camp out and some of us coming along to support for the evening. It's been raining on and off, but the morale is high and the fire and people are keeping us warm. 

The "chains of destitution" - we will walk into the city hall carrying these.

At 11pm on Monday 14th January

Keeping warm with fire and blankets

Monday, 14 January 2013

Text of motion in support of destitute asylum seekers to be brought to the next meeting of Full Council on TUESDAY 15 JANUARY 2013 from 2pm in the council chambers at city hall.

Asylum seekers and supporters will be sleeping out on college green tonight prior to this motion being brought tomorrow, for those who can't sleep over, please come and visit us this evening or join us from 12pm on Tuesday 15th. The council session starts at 2pm (full agenda of meeting.)
Cllr Ron Stone alongside other councillors from other parties, have taken up this campaign with voluntary sector organisations and destitute asylum seekers and the council will debate this motion on the 15th January. The full text of the motion is below.
Bristol A City Of Sanctuary?
Bristol City Council adopted a motion in November 2010 to support the declaration of Bristol as a City Of Sanctuary, which took place on 22nd June 2011.

By so doing, the City Council committed itself to recognising the plight of genuine asylum seekers forced to flee their home countries for expressing views or holding opinions ruling regimes disagreed with or found to be confrontational.

In exercising their Human Right of Free Speech in their own countries, many have received death threats, suffered beatings and threats to their family members, forcing them to abandon their homes, their country and all their possessions. If their cases are refused they lose financial support and accommodation. Current laws prohibit their right to work. 

This leaves them in a cycle of deprivation and poverty that is currently impossible to break. Many are forced into homelessness on the street.

Council welcomes the Glasgow City Council initiative in passing a motion, highlighting the concerns for refused asylum seekers, and lack of support and facilities UK wide.

Council asserts that if our proud declaration stating Bristol IS a City of Sanctuary is to be meaningful and worthy of it’s fine words we MUST act to improve this situation as follows:

1.      That the Mayor write on behalf of the City Council to the Minister of State deploring the government policy that forces refused asylum seekers into destitution, while they continue to fight for a safe haven from persecution.

2.      That the Mayor writes to the UK Government seeking a change of policy to allow local authorities to assist refused asylum seekers in danger of destitution, and provide equal emergency provision to refused asylum seekers as to any other homeless person in Bristol.

3.      That the Mayor calls on all Bristol MPs to support the content of this motion and to raise the matter in the House of Commons, and support a change in current laws regarding asylum applications by removing restrictions on local authorities in the support they can provide to destitute asylum seekers, and to restore their right to work.

4.      Agrees to produce a report highlighting all existing support available in Bristol including Housing Training Education Legal Advice open to vulnerable asylum applicants

5.      Believes that the City Council should work closely with the voluntary sector through a designated officer to provide help, support and advice to applicants and enable a coordinated response to be easily available to those in need, at this vulnerable times of their lives.

6.      Join the national campaign Still Human, Still Here (coalition of 29 organisations,  including the CofE and Catholic Archbishops’  Conferences, Amnesty  International and the Red Cross, who are proposing practical solutions to ending the destitution of refused asylum seekers in the UK)[1]. 

7.      Agrees to seek further support for this motion and actions via The Local Government  Association encouraging other Councils in the UK to follow Bristol’s lead.

Cllr Ron Stone. Deputy Leader Labour Group

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Asylum Seekers Sleep Out to Dream of Ending Forced Destitution

Press Release

Asylum Seekers Sleep Out to Dream of Ending Forced Destitution

On Monday 14th January 40 destitute asylum seekers from the group Dignity for Asylum Seekers will sleep within a 'Chain of Destitution' on College Green to publically condemn the governments policy of forced destitution [1] and to encourage Bristol Council to do the same.

Esam Amin, a refused Kurdish asylum seeker from Iraq and volunteer chef at Bristol Refugee Rights Welcome Centre said “My asylum application has been refused wrongly because the Home Office chooses not to believe me. They asked for more evidence and my mum put herself in danger getting this and they still refuse me and then leave me destitute”.

Destitute asylum seekers and supporters [2] will set up tents within a giant chain to highlight how asylum seekers who have had their asylum applications wrongfully refused [3] are made destitute by unjust laws. 
Patrick from East Africa and volunteer at St Nicholas Church saidWe are young. We are here. We have many skills. We want to contribute to this society, pay taxes and help to generate money for the economy. Refused asylum seekers are not allowed to work but nor do we receive any government support. These unjust laws leave us with no shelter or food. It is inhumane and degrading. We are made to feel inferior and have lost our confidence. The government needs to change this policy. We need to be treated as humans. We want dignity”

The group will stay on College Green until 2pm on Tuesday 15th January, facing sub-zero temperatures. They will then go in to the City Hall to encourage councillors to agree to publically deplore this government policy, join the Still Human Still Here campaign and encourage Bristol MP's to organise a debate in the House of Parliament.

The government has rejected my case and they try to reject me from society. This situation brings up mental problems and I forget my background due to the hard pressure I am under. Its a kind of amnesia. I feel I am not able to connect with people and I have lots of thoughts in my mind of doing harm to myself. But I also dream of asylum seekers getting basic human rights.” said Manesh, a refused asylum seeker from Iran and a regular writer on the Asylum Seekers in Bristol blog.

The group will be there from 7.30pm on Monday until 2pm on Tuesday. They will take the tents down at 1pm and at 2pm walk within the Chains in to the Council House. 

Claire Hall from Bristol said “My friends and I are going to support this sleep out. It is going to be a long cold night but this is nothing compared to what destitute asylum seekers experience. We want be part of this amazing movement of people who are doing something positive to bring an end to forced destitution.” 

[1] See report by Refugee Action for more information about the forced destitution on Asylum Seekers:

[3] People are refused for many reasons; lack of English and stress when interviewed on arrival in UK; not understanding the legal process; cuts to legal aid make it difficult to get a solicitor;  standards of evidence required by Home Office which are near impossible to reach; a culture of wilfully disbelieving people.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

"I didn't choose this life, the home office choose for me this life."

There is a deliberate policy to make asylum seekers homeless, stuck with in limbo, with their lives at a standstill, asylum seekers waiting for fresh evidence, who are unable to be sent back are stuck, destitute, not allowed to work, not eligible for benefits.

Charities fill the gap in Bristol, helping where they can with meals and food handouts, but they cannot relieve the mental anguish that this situation causes, constantly worrying about where their food and housing will come from, unable to feel safe and feeling like their life is worthless.

Do you agree it's not ok that this country has a policy to make asylum seekers destitute?
Then join us this Monday 14th evening from 7pm for the Sleep Out in the Chains of Destitution in support of those who have no choice but to sleep out or come on Tuesday 15th from midday to support Bristol City Council as they vote on whether to make a statement against this policy and aim to do all they can to help.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sleep Out in the 'Chains of Destitution'

Sleep Out in the 'Chains of Destitution'
College Green
7pm, Monday 14th January 2013
We are a group of destitute asylum seekers. We came to UK to find safety as our lives were in danger in our home country. Our asylum applications have been refused wrongly because the Home Office chooses not to believe us. They ask for more and more evidence. Our families put themselves in danger getting this and they still refuse us. They say many countries are safe, like Iraq and Afghanistan, but we know from our families and the news here that our lives would be at risk if we are sent back. We want to live in safety, free from danger.
We are also not allowed to work. We do not receive any government support. These unjust laws leave us chained up with no shelter or food. This is destitution.

It is inhumane and degrading. We are made to feel inferior and have lost our confidence. The government needs to change this policy. We need to be treated as humans. We want dignity

We are young. We are here. We have many skills. We want to contribute to this society, paying taxes and helping to generate money for the economy. We need to be able to work so we can pay for accommodation and our food. If you won't let us work, then at least we need to receive benefits so we can survive.

We want people of Bristol to stand up with us and say that this is wrong and that it should change. We also want Bristol Council to do the same. On Tuesday 15th January the Council will debate whether or not to take action to challenge government policy on forced destitution of asylum seekers.

We are going to sleep out on College Green to bring attention to this debate.
We are going to sleep inside the chains of destitution to show Bristol our reality. 
We invite friends and supporters, young and old, students, working and unemployed people, people with and without homes to sleep out with us in solidarity and help us raise awareness of the problem and the urgent need for a solution.

Everyone deserves a chance to live. Why should we have destitution in a City of Sanctuary?

We will stay on College Green from 7pm until 2pm, Tuesday 15th when many of us will go in to take part in the council debate. 

For those who can't sleep over, please come and visit us for the evening or join us between 12pm – 2pm on Tuesday.

Please bring: tent, songs, sleeping bags, blankets, candles, food to share, torches, music, stories, hot drinks, poems, banner materials
Organised by Dignity for Asylum Seekers
Supported by Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers, Bristol Hospitality Network