Tuesday 16 December 2014

Press Release -Council debate whether to support campaign and bus stop solidarity demonstration

Council debate whether to support campaign and bus stop solidarity demonstration
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 17th, a group of refugees, migrants and allies will be holding a city centre bus stop solidarity protest with all people who have to report with the Home Office at Patchway.

Over 500 migrants in Bristol are required by the Home Office to sign in regularly. Until recently, people reported at Trinity Police Station. Since 1st October 2014, they have to travel to Patchway police centre, a 14 mile round trip from the centre.

Over half of the people signing are asylum seekers, having fled their country due to war or persecution. The group will be holding their protest near the bus stops by Primark, holding images of bombed out Broadmead to make the link between war and people seeking safety here in the UK.

Asylum applicants are already struggling with anxiety and depression - finding solicitors, gathering evidence, facing cultures of disbelief in the Home Office, not being allowed to work, being made destitute. Reporting at Patchway is making this situation even more unbearable. 

The protest is part of a Campaign to end signing at patchway and reduce signing frequency. The Dignity group, with the support of Bristol Refugee Rights and Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers have already collected over 800 signatures in support of their campaign goals. They will be asking more people to sign in support of dignity and freedom.

"It is all too common for people claiming asylum to have to wait years for their case to be resolved. The majority who are initially refused go on to win their leave to remain in the UK.  During this long wait, people have to keep signing every week. Each time they go, there is the chance they will be detained, taken to a detention centre and deported. Signing is a stressful experience for all, traumatic for some." said Claire, from East Bristol and Dignity member

On Tuesday evening, the council will be debating a motion tabled by Cllr Ron Stone, and will vote as to whether to lobby the Home Office to end signing at Patchway.

"I have a daughter aged 3 and she goes to school in Soundwell from 9am till 12. On my signing day, Tuesday, she misses school, because I have to be at Patchway between 10.30 and 11.30. From Easton it takes 1 hour30 minutes each way. It is not possible for me to take her to school in Soundwell, then go to Patchway and return in time to pick her up at 12. So she misses school. When I signed at Trinity Road she didn't miss school, because the journey was not so long." S, Bangladesh

The protest will take place by the bus stop from where the buses to Patchway leave to offer solidarity to those going to sign. However, not all can afford the bus. Only those in receipt of support from the Home Office are entitled to travel costs. Destitute asylum seekers either have to walk all the way or beg lifts or bus fares. Parents have to take children out of nursery, students are forced to miss college classes, disabled people find it even more difficult to travel to Patchway.

"I see no reason why people should be signing so often. Two to three days before signing you can't eat. After signing you are happy, then after 3 days you start to worry again. I feel so worried for those still signing weekly. Nothing guarantees you will sign and go back home. It is very sad. It dominates lives. We must end signing" M, West Africa and Dignity member

The Home Office have committed to a 3 month review of the decision to move signing to Patchway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

These comments will be moderated before being posted.