Joint Committee On Human Rights Written Evidence

72.  Memorandum from Karibu


  Some key points:

    —  The issue of destitution in Scotland has mostly affected single people.

    —  Living on 70% of income support and the reduction of the support for children (aged 16) and the education maintenance allowance forces families into poverty. In our experience it is cheaper to look after the 5 years old than a 16 years old.

    —  I know they are asylum children but they also want to look like other teenagers and a lack of adequate financial support prevents this.

    —  Unnecessary disruption of support provision which is not explained in advance.

    —  Forced dispersal with new NASS contract for who have been already settled in their areas and see no reason for moving which causes disruption.

    —  In Scotland there is a problem of accommodating large families and overcrowding—boys and girls are being forced to share a room even when they are old enough not to share the bedroom.


  Some key points:

    —  Some GP don't want to take on asylum seekers, why?

    —  Provision of health care should be free for all irrespective of status.

    —  Better interpretation services for non English speakers.

    —  Mental health issues in relation to asylum which remain undiagnosed and untreated.

    —  The challenge of HIV/AIDS and limited work being done in this areas in Glasgow.


  Some key points:

    —  Discrimination in access to nursery placement for asylum seekers children because the priority for local nursery places is for local people and recognised refugees. The impact of that on the mother/parent/guardian. The child misses out on early learning issues and subsequently, encounters problems when they start schools.

    —  Support to 16 years and over who still go to school and need school uniforms. They are not entitled to free school meals but the parents are prohibited to work.

    —  We know that support is reduced for all 16 years old but the local 16 years old have the rights to work and they also have access the education maintenance allowance. Why not our children?

    —  Prohibition of access to full time professional courses at Colleges and University education.

    —  The requirement for children to report at immigration centre is very traumatic and it has devastating effects on children's education and well being.


    —  People who are detained at the reporting centre never get the chance to pack their belongings.

    —  Even those who are detained at home the restriction for them to do their own packing is extreme even if it is for safety reasons. For example, one woman was not allowed to pick her own underwear.

    —  The separation of the children from the parents even when the children are very young.

    —  The handcuffing of parent or big children has an impact on children.

    —  The perceived relationship between handcuff and criminals.

    —  The absence of proper medical care while in detention.

    —  The role of the police at the point of removal contradicts their role in the community as promoters of peace and problem solvers.

    —  Injury as result of people resisting removal and immigration officers beating people to force them. Eg A woman was removed to France after being beaten so badly and France refused to take her as a result of her bad condition.

    —  A Kenyan woman who died as result of pain the process of removal.

    —  Untold suicide cases and hunger strikes in detention.

    —  Specified meal times in removal centres are convenient for children who are not used to routine meal times.

    —  Breastfeeding mothers are not given milk and are told to drink water.

    —  The Immigration Service rules state that families should not be detained beyond a certain period but we know of cases where they have been detained for months and longer for example, the Ayr Family case.


    —  The media portrayal of asylum fuels racial tensions and exacerbates racial harassment. Each time there is a bad article on asylum and immigration someone is bound to be attacked on the street.

    —  The media have to be stopped their use of the term "illegal asylum seeker". In the UN Convention terms there is no illegal asylum seeker term.

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