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

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