Leicester became the tenth city and the first in the Midlands to pass the Still Human Still Here resolution opposing policy that results in the destitution of asylum seekers at various points in the asylum process. Read more…
The motion was agreed by the majority Labour Group in advance of the full council meeting, after City of Sanctuary Supporters across Leicester asked their local councillors to consider supporting it. Two asylum seekers known to Leicester CoS were made destitute the day before the motion was passed.
The pledge included questioning government policy , engaging local MPs in lobbying of central government to empower local authorities to provide support, called for the right to work within 6 months of claiming asylum and support for the Still Human still Here campaign.
Cllr Adam Clarke, who proposed the motion, said:
“I want to raise the profile of this important, yet often hidden, social issue.
“In Leicester, the Red Cross helped 325 destitute asylum seekers in the last six months of 2013. Obviously, this is of great concern to us and I would like Leicester to join local authorities in cities like Liverpool, Bristol and Leeds in signing up to this pledge.”
He told City of Sanctuary supporters before the motion:
“Thanks to you for the time and effort you have gone to in educating us about the issues and about your incredibly admirable work. I sincerely hope we can do justice to you, City of Sanctuary, Still Human Still Here and particularly those experiencing destitution in the city on Thursday evening – and after Thursday.”
Cllr Manjula Sood, assistant city mayor responsible for community involvement, partnerships and equalities seconded the motion. She said: “Leicester has always had a reputation as a welcoming city, where people from many different backgrounds live side by side. By supporting this motion, we are reinforcing that reputation and showing that we are committed to – and will support – vulnerable people.”
A supporter told the Leicester Mercury “We are a civilised society. It is not right to leave refused asylum seekers destitute, with no right to work, when it is not possible or safe to return them to their countries of origin. The statistics are shocking, but these are real people, in tragic circumstances, behind the figures.”
Asylum seekers and City of Sanctuary volunteers gathered outside the Town Hall before the meeting for a photo shoot with councillors and then went to an Art Reach supported celebratory event Journeys of UnBelonging at the Curve Theatre and a fundraising event featuring the Iranian / Kurdish band Baran where a good time was had by all. The excitement of being in a theatre for the first time by some of the asylum seekers was palpable. We would like to say a big thanks to Sam Javid of ArtReach for organising the events.
|Leicester City Council Motion on destitution||26.5 KB|