And provided the evidence with this post. And this one.
Now there's further confirmation that the UK asylum system is ruthless in its treatment of the most vulnerable members of our society with a new report published yesterday by the Joint Committee of Human Rights (a cross party group of MPs and members of the House of Lords - hardly a bunch of radical lefties).
The report covers the following:
- Principles of human rights
- Access to financial support and accommodation
- Provision of healthcare
- Treatment of children
- Detention and removal
- Treatment by the media
They looked at the Government's asylum policy over the last 10 years.
They examined examples of detention being used for children, pregnant women and seriously ill people.
They looked at an example of a dying refugee being deported to a country where he received no palliative care.
And heard of pregnant women being denied proper care here in the UK.
Want some quotes?
These are from the report:
'Degrading and inhumane.'
'No human being should have to suffer such appalling treatment.'
'The system is overly complex, poorly administered and offers inadequate information and advice about the support to which people are entitled, in some cases denying any support whatsoever to people who are desperate and destitute.'
And this is from Andrew Dismore MP: (He's strongly in favour of the war in Iraq - again, hardly a raving radical.)
'Innocent children should never be detained - alternatives must be developed. The system of asylum seeker support is a confusing mess and the policy of enforced destitution must cease.'
A large part of the problem is that the system automatically assumes all applications are bogus - a case of guilty unless proved innocent.
Couple this with the pressure to keep figures down and the result is inevitable.
The application, which may be from desperate people seeking refuge from unspeakable horror, is more often than not turned down.
Sometimes they are deported in spite of the evidence that their lives will be at risk.
Sometimes they stay here to appeal.
But if their initial application has been turned down, they are entitled to no benefits of any kind.
They are left to rely on charities and frequently end up sleeping on the streets.
Many of them want to work. They want to contribute. They don't want to rely on handouts. And they certainly don't want to be homeless and hungry.
They are being given no choice.
One last quote. This is from Robina Qureshi of Positive Action in Housing:
'The treatment these people receive amounts to them being tortured in a country which they have come to because they are fleeing persecution from their own.'
This is being done in our name.
I hang my head in shame ...
There are organisations where you can make a real difference to individual lives.
Look at this for example.
You can find further links here.