'We want to contribute' - End Destitution of Asylum Seekers
In June 2012, 250 asylum seekers and supporters marched through Bristol to tell people our problems and to demand Dignity For Asylum Seekers. This gave us more confidence to speak out. This year we are going to march again and we are asking other cities to join us and protest on the same day.
We, asylum seekers were forced to run from our countries. Our lives were at risk. We left our homes and families. We came here to find a place for peace and safety. But for many of us, our cases were disbelieved and our appeals for safety rejected by the Home Office.
We have been kicked out of our accommodation and our food vouchers are stopped. We are not allowed to work, we can't access education, or most health services and we can not receive benefits. We struggle to have families. We can not go home. We are stuck here like this for years.
All this makes us feel alone, depressed, isolated from society and there are even some people who have taken their own lives because of this situation..
We want to contribute, to be part of society and to pay taxes. We are teachers, electricians, artists, business men, doctors, farmers, students, parents, and friends. We are human. How can a human survive like this? We should not be scapegoated.
After last years' march we campaigned to get Bristol City Council to say the government’s policy on forced destitution is wrong. We are pleased to say that in January they voted overwhelmingly to support us, and condemn this policy.
Now, we want to build a strong national campaign. We want to make links with asylum seekers and supporters in other cities, to raise awareness and to join together to say that these unjust and inhumane laws are wrong.
We want to build this, it might not make our own lives better but it will help those in the future who come seeking safety.
Please join us by taking action on the same day in your town or city to make this a national day of asylum seekers taking action.
Supported by Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Hospitality Network,