A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
(The 1951 United Nationals Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees).
THE FACTS ABOUT ASYLUM
A number of first born children are forced to leave their families and placed in countries which are seen to be safer. Issues would be:
- isolation from family
- Isolation from friends
- Coping with a new environment when used to different behaviours e.g, violence and war, poverty, corruption, intolerance
- Language and cultural challenges
- Laws, police and the state
- Asylum seekers do not come to the UK to claim benefits. In fact most know nothing about welfare benefits before they arrive and had no expectation that they would receive financial support. (Refugee Council, Chance or Choice? Understanding why asylum seekers come to the UN, 2010)
- Most asylum seekers are living in poverty and experience poor health and hunger. Many families are not able to pay for the basics such as clothing powdered milk and nappies. (Independent Asylum Commission citizens inquiry in The Independent 2007)
- Almost all asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are forced to rely on state support – this can be as little as £5 a day to live on.
- Asylum seekers do not jump the queue for council housing and they cannot chose where they live. The accommodation allocation to them is not paid for by the local council. It is nearly always ‘hard to let ‘ properties, where other people do not want to live.
- Asylum seeking women who are destitute are vulnerable to violence in the UK. More than a fifth of the women accessing our therapeutic services had experienced sexual violence in this country. (Refugee Council. The experiences of refugee women in the UK 2012)
- Asylum seekers do not receive more benefits than pensioners in the UK (UK Parliament briefing paper 2012