Sunday, 30 June 2013

Storify - This story of the Bristol march by Social Media

Last year Asylum Seekers in Bristol held a march, since then their campaign has grown in influence and support. This year the march focused on the horrors of forced destitution, and linked up with other groups around the UK, asking people to join them in marching for dignity. (Hover over slides to view the text) - View full storify  Thanks to Tom Fowler for this.

  1. On defend asylum seeker march Bristol great

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Can you imagine living on £5 a week?

People often wonder where we live and how we survive if we are 'really destitute'.
We rely on charity and donations, Bristol Hospitality Network (BHN) supports many of us, trying to give £10 a week, but sometimes there isn't enough to give even that.

 Rachael from BHN spoke about not having enough money to give out during refugee week. 

There are lots of ways to help us through BHN, so do contact them

Our hopes for our future

We would like to share with you some of  our hopes and dreams for our futures.

Right now our lives are on hold, due to the policy of destitution and the long wait for decisions about our cases.

Destitution is about more than money, we are denied the chance to move forward in our lives, contribute our skills and be successful. Asylum seekers want to sparkle and shine.

Bristol march off to a great start

The Bristol march has gotten off to a great start, parading with a scapegoat through St Paul's and into Easton, stopping outside Junction 3 for speeches about education and destitution and on to Stapleton road when we gave a shout out for all the other cities holding events today!

Excited to start our first shared day of action!

Cloud of destitution

This wordcloud shows how destitution makes us feel.

Come and join us at 11am from the Malcolm X centre in Bristol or at a march in your local city if you believe it is wrong we are forced to have nothing and want to help us change it. 


Friday, 28 June 2013

Donate and support asylum seekers right now

We want to end destitution, and be able to contribute and support ourselves, but of course right now many of us are reliant on support from charities and they need donations in order to support us. 

Please read this leaflet to learn how you can help us with practical donations like food and toiletries.

Why destroy me more?

I've been destitute for a long time, it has made me unwell both physically and mentally, hopeless and like I can't manage my life due to the threat of the unfair asylum system and the persecutors I fled from. I came here to rebuild my life, because I had no chance of survival in my country, please don't destroy me more.

A Kurdish asylum seeker from Iraq.

Why should you march? Video

Please share this video and encourage your friends to come to the march on Saturday!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

PRESS RELEASE - Dignity, not Destitution: Asylum seekers across the country standing up in a national day of action

Asylum seekers across the country are making a stand for ‘Dignity not Destitution’ this Saturday 29th June, in Bristol, Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow and Birmingham[1], for the first asylum seeker-led national day of action aiming to highlight the government policy of forced destitution[2].
Since 2002[3] destitute asylum seekers[4] have not been permitted to work or claim any support. This means that they are unable to provide for themselves and are forced to be dependent upon charities and friends for housing, money and food. They are also unable to access education and some healthcare. Asylum seekers can be in this situation for years.

Marching just one week after refugee week[5], a celebration of all refugees have contributed to the UK, destitute asylum seekers are asking for the right to contribute.
Manesh, 29, former student in electrical engineering, from Iran says “I came here to be safe, I had to leave Iran because I was part of a humanitarian political group. I have had no support for over 4 years. I would like to share my skills and contribute to society, to pay taxes.”
Councils in Glasgow, Bristol and Sheffield[6] have all passed motions against the policy of forced destitution over the past year. "We should not tolerate destitution in our city for any reason" said Bristol Mayor George Ferguson,[7] in January. However the national policy means the situation remains unchanged, with charity Bristol Hospitality Network estimating that over 100 people are destitute in Bristol alone.

The asylum seekers, who started self-organising last year,[8] have had to overcome language barriers and traumatic personal experiences to arrange the day of action and they plan to continue working together to build a strong national campaign in order to change the policy that forces them into destitution.

Twitter hashtag #Dignity2013

[2] “.. The Government has indeed been practising a deliberate policy of destitution” The Joint Committee on Human Rights ‘The Treatment of Asylum Seekers, Tenth Report of Session 2006-7
[3] Until 2002 asylum seekers were allowed to work to support themselves and their families.   
[4] Asylum seekers who are seeking safety due to war or persecution, who are applying to be legally recognised as refugees by the home office. 
[6] Glasgow June 2012, Bristol January 2013, Sheffield April 2013
[8] 250 people marched through the streets of Bristol in June 2012 and camped out to highlight destitution in January 2013.

Birmingham is joining us!

Bristol March Speakers and Route Outline

Route Map.pdf
Bristol Dignity for Asylum Seekers March – 29th of June 2013
11am Introduction to the March Malcolm X
Speaker 1: Erkhes (BRR Member)
In his speech, Erkhes will welcome and thank all for their attendance and participation in the day’s events He will introduce the march, including its origins and will contextualise within the growing, nationwide movement which began here in Bristol.  
Speaker 3: Amirah Cole (Manager of the Malcolm X Community Centre)
The march begins at the Malcolm X Community Centre, which is also the home of local charity Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR). Meetings and campaigning for Human Rights for Asylum Seekers and Refugees at BRR led to the formation of a splinter group and the beginning of the movement. The Malcolm X centre remains our base and the Dignity for Asylum Seekers campaign remains intrinsically linked to Bristol Refugee Rights. Amirah will put the current campaigning work into the context of the Malcom X centres inspiring history and its role in the community.

Destitution, Health and Education
12.15pm – 1.15pm Junction 3 Library,
Speaker 4: Thulani (BRR Member)
Thulani will discuss the reality of having limited or no access to health and education systems, making reference to his personal experiences.
Speaker 5: Rachael Bee (Bristol Hospitality Network)
Will discuss the barriers to education faced by asylum seekers and the implications that this has for their wellbeing.

Destitution and the Law. 
12.30 -1.30pm Trinity Police Station
Speaker 7: Indriani Currie (Bristol and Avon Law Centre)
Indriana will discuss the link between asylum law and destitution.
Speaker 8: 

An end to destitution for Asylum Seekers? Tactics for change.
12.45 – 1.45 Castle Park
On our final stop, we start to look towards the future. Amy reminds us of the painful reality of destitution and her experience. We ask what tactics can we take to make real change? Ellinor Harris and Alice Cutler will discuss what we can do moving forward at the grassroots level, whilst local councillors Fi Hance and Ron Stone discuss how to progress within local and national government.  
Speaker 9: Amy (BRR Member)
Speaker 10: Ellinor Harris (Still Human, Still Here/ Refugee Action)
Speaker 11: Clr Fi Hance (Liberal Democrat)
Speaker 12: Clr Ron Stone (Labour)
Speaker 13: 

Ending in Castle Park

Bradford action in City Park

At Bristol Lord Mayor's Tea Party

Over 100 people came to the Lord Mayor's House in Bristol on 19th June, including City of Sanctuary, Still Human, Still Here, the Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury, Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson, asylum seekers and refugees, there was a really nice atmosphere. 

Patrick sang his song about Bristol, city of sanctuary and spoke wonderful words about refused asylum seekers whose basic human rights are violated and some people wore boiler suits with slogans about asylum seekers on them.

Mahsa, an asylum seeker who has been turned down, gave speech about the experiences of herself, her mother and her brother. She told us how she felt when the refusal letter came and her family had to leave the house without any support. She asked how she could prove herself, she was just here in UK for one year, she talked about her unclear future, not even knowing what will happen tomorrow. The government may detain them, her mother needs to be looked after and her brother has to move from place to place.

In the garden
Manesh spoke briefly about destitute asylum seekers issues, those who have not got any support such as a somewhere to stay, food to eat and how they must to go to the police station to report to the home office and give an address. He spoke how these trials can bring up a lot of mental problems and also talked about family life, because people are here for years and years and they can't see their family. He invited all the people to come to Dignity for Asylum Seekers March to raise awareness and end the destitution. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Trailer film for our march on Saturday - please share!

#Dignity2013  Facebook Event Page
'We want to contribute'
 End Destitution of Asylum Seekers

Meet: Malcolm X Centre, City Road, St Pauls, BS2 8TX

Shared National Day of Asylum Seekers Taking Action

شاید ما را شامل نمی شود نوشتن بیش از حد

We Want To Contribute – End Destitution of Asylum Seekers



Day of Action in Manchester - Saturday 29th June

Dignity not Destitution is the message a procession of asylum seekers, refugees and supporters will be sharing on 29 June in Manchester.

A day of action is planned in many cities across the UK on 29 June. The Manchester event will take place in the city centre (exact location to be confirmed – watch this space) from 11am to 2.30pm.  The procession starts at 12 noon. If you can help steward the event please email

Come along and show solidarity with those who have experienced destitution. For further details visit the Dignity not Destitution website here.
The event is led by asylum seekers, with the support of local organisations including the Boaz Trust.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Glasgow are Standing up for Dignity

Imagine 14.06.2013

Stop Destitution!
Give us the Right to Work!
Housing is a Human Right!
Stand Up for the right to Asylum
Rally & Music
12.30 St Enoch’s Square
Supported by the Glasgow Destitution Network

Asylum seekers come to Glasgow for safety but 90 per cent of them will have their asylum claims initially refused by the UK Border Agency.
The UKBA’s asylum process is seriously flawed. Asylum seekers can be reluctant to reveal personal details to officials about how they’ve been attacked, raped or tortured. Many are scared to give information about their sexuality in case it is discovered by other people. Worried that translators belong to rival groups or will leak information, many hold back crucial information. Often they’ve not had time to collect evidence to show they’re telling the truth.
So most asylum seekers are not believed by immigration officials who operate in a cynical, canteen-culture of disbelief and racism against people they’re supposed to be helping.
Many asylum seekers in Glasgow make two or three asylum applications before getting a positive decision. While they wait for new evidence or for lawyers to prepare judicial reviews, asylum seekers often face destitution.
Instead of safety, many asylum seekers in Glasgow face sleeping rough and becoming dependent on the help of friends and charities to survive.
Refused asylum seekers are not allowed any ‘recourse to public funds’, all financial support is stopped and they lose their accommodation after 21 days. Once homeless - ‘No recourse to public funds’ means destitute asylum seekers are blocked from government funded night shelters or hostels.
Refused asylum seekers are left to live without any money, unable to access anything but emergency medical treatment, sleeping rough or couch-surfing until they can get a fresh asylum claim lodged. They become vulnerable to exploitation and face working illegally and crime to survive.
Destitution is a deliberate policy used by the UK Border Agency to force asylum seekers to give up their asylum claims and return ‘voluntarily’ to their countries of origin. It is a brutal, immoral policy that goes against basic human rights.
 Join us on Saturday 29th June
Stand up for your rights!
Stand up for Dignity!
12.30 St Enoch’s Square

Great BRR open afternoon last Thursday

Wooh it's great to see so many people at my house (Bristol Refugee Rights welcome centre), both friends and new faces, I do appreciate those who came  here to support us and talk to us.

We told the story about the process of Dignity for Asylum Seekers and talked about it and showed the
film about asylum seekers who sign at police station weekly or month in Bristol and a film about other issues as well. We had discussions, gave a short speech about March on 29th, and of course there was music, food, cake and a lot of other things.

Oh it's a fantastic feeling of real home.

Thanks to everyone and BRR

Leeds to join our national day of action

Message from Leeds: 
"dear friends,
firstly THANK YOU so much for calling for this protest.
There's a lot of excitement here in leeds :)
the mural is amazing....

Please support their blog and let  friends in Leeds know:

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

We are human beings and have rights....Speech from Celebrating Sanctuary

This is a clip from the speech Manesh gave at Celebrating Sanctuary Day on Sunday about asylum seekers rights and being so-called 'illegal'.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Celebrating Sanctuary Day and Refugee Week

You may have spoken to one of us from Dignity for Asylum seekers at Celebrating Sanctuary Day on Sunday, we handed out loads of leaflets, spoke on the stage and in the talks tent and with lots of people at the day. We have a good presence at refugee week, we are talking at the Tea with Lord Mayor and City of Sanctuary tomorrow afternoon and at the Bristol Refugee Rights open afternoon at Malcolm X centre on Thursday from 2:30 - 6pm, so do come and speak to us if you are at these event!

For more information on all the events during refugee week in Bristol visit

Our mural

P1050124.v01 by gizzacroggy1

Over 6 hours about 20 people created this together...we were very happy doing it together. we  enjoyed talking with people passing about who we are and what we are doing.

Go and see it for yourself on the corner of Berwick Road and Stapleton road. If you know other walls where we can paint more, let us know!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

What does home mean?

We asked lots of asylum seekers and refugees what home means to them. What does home mean to you?

Destitute asylum seekers do not usually have a secure home, moving between friends houses, sleeping out or relying on charity support. Asylum seekers who get support live in temporary National Asylum Seeker Support (NASS) accommodation shared houses. When somebody gets status they have 28 days to move out of the NASS accommodation and find alternative accommodation.

If you would like to help destitute asylum seekers who are homeless in a practical way visit

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Poster for our march!

Please share! If you would like a hard copy of the poster to put up in your shop or cafe window or on your noticeboard please contact us

Monday, 3 June 2013

Theatre for Social Justice

We are excited to see that other asylum seekers are using theatre to speak out, claim dignity for themselves and to try and change the unjust destitution laws so there is equality and justice. 

Bristol Refugee Rights theatre group are creating a theatre show which will give audiences a glimpse in to what it is like to leave their country of origin, to journey 1000's of miles with the dream of finding safety, only to arrive and find destitution and discrimination. If you aren't sure about going on the march because you don't understand the problems, then go see this performance on 20th June first.

Theatre: Listen to Our Story
Thursday 20th June, 7pm, acta Centre

An original play by asylum seekers and refugees living in Bristol.
On the long road to having their genuine claim for asylum recognised, they meet many hardships, of a different kind to those they knew at home, but sometimes almost as difficult to bear. 

They tell their story with warmth, humour and dignity, leaving audiences laughing, sad and moved to act.

This play is written and performed by members of Bristol Refugee Rights, from their own direct experience, and is part of the growing national campaign to end the forced destitution of asylum seekers.

At the Acta Centre, Bedminster
You can also see the show on Monday 8th July as part of acta’s Get Together festival.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


This morning a team of us are meeting to take these leaflets to many different places in Bristol and talk to different people about what we are organising. We are then going to celebrate our hard work with a proper good lunch cooked by friends! Yay.

If you would like some for your work, faith, community space then please email us at or via facebook.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Speeches in English or many languages?

We had an interesting conversation in our meeting last Wednesday and we would be interested to hear your thoughts.