During the winter months, the cold, hunger and destitution of asylum seekers become intensified. This is worst of all over the Christmas period, precisely during the festive season that is supposed to bring us happiness.
Roughly a quarter of the UK’s homeless are asylum seekers (Shelter).
Solicitors and advocacy are thin on the ground, most close (at least) between the 22nd of December and 2nd January, many close for longer.
On the 29th November, the High Court Justice Michael Harrison ruled that while appeals are being heard, the government is not compelled by law to ensure that asylum seekers and their families have clothing. The vouchers they do receive are redeemable against food and toiletries, but not clothing.
Over the festive season, most of us are thinking of our families. For most asylum seekers, they are thinking of families, (from who they have been forcibly separated), thousands of miles away.
This action follows on the heels of successive demonstrations outside the shame and aberration that is the Waterside Reporting Centre in Leeds on Kirkstall Road. Waterside was recently underlined as a facility unfit for purpose in a prison inspection report. In essence, any Asylum Seeker going to report there cannot be sure they whether they will be leaving by the front door, or detained in unsuitable conditions ready for transportation to a removal centre. Activists in Leeds working together with Asylum Seekers are intent on raising the stakes with Waterside, seeking momentum for relentless demonstrating.
Leeds No Borders will be hosting a national gathering on the weekend of the weekend of the 24th/25th February. There will be seminars / plenary sessions covering a range of aspects related to campaigns and direct action. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be kept informed about plans as they evolve.