Below is the full text of the open letter written by BHN members to the people of Bristol during the Ibrahim-inspired ‘sleep out in the chains of destitution’ campaign action in January 2013.
The action helped to pass a motion in the full council meeting to deplore national government policy that forces asylum seekers into destitution. Bristol City Council has since (as a result) become the only city in the UK to sign the Still Human Still Here coalition petition against destitution (http://stillhumanstillhere.wordpress.com).
The new Mayor has spoken to their cities in the UK about the need to end destitution of efused asylum seekers and we are still pressuring our MPs to force a debate in the House of Commons on these issues.
BHN members and volunteers were at the heart of making this happen, so congratulations to us! Bravo! – Rachael Bee
We are a group of destitute asylum seekers. We came to UK to find safety as our lives were in danger in our home country. Our asylum applications have been refused wrongly because the Home Office chooses not to believe us. They ask for more and more evidence. Our families put themselves in danger getting this and they still refuse us. They say many countries are safe, like Iraq and Afghanistan, but we know from our families and the news here that our lives would be at risk if we are sent back. We want to live in safety, free from danger. We are also not allowed to work. We do not receive any government support. These unjust laws leave us chained up with no shelter or food.This is destitution. It is inhumane and degrading. We are made to feel inferior and have lost our confidence. The government needs to change this policy. We need to be treated as humans. We want dignity. We are young. We are here. We have many skills. We want to contribute to this society, paying taxes and helping to generate money for the economy. We need to be able to work so we can pay for accommodation and our food. If you won’t let us work, then at least we need to receive benefits so we can survive. We want the people of Bristol and their councillors to stand up with us and say that this is wrong and that it should change.
Further information is available at thehttp://asylumseekersinbristol.blogspot.com blog