29 November 2015
“The Green Party recognises the contributions made by many migrants to their recipient area or community. We value the cultural diversity and intercultural awareness resulting from both temporary residence and migration.” (Taken from the Green Party Policy on Migration)
On November 21st 2015 Leeds Green Party hosted a talk entitled “Refugees Welcome” at Lilac housing co-operative in Armley. James Dickins, lecturer in Arabic Studies at the University of Leeds spoke about the causes of the current Refugee Crisis, affecting huge parts of the world. He spoke of how people become dispersed by conflict such as in Syria and Afghanistan and also of political instability such as in Eritrea. Vast numbers of innocent civilians have lost their homes and are trying to find a new place to live in safety.
Pascale Gayford of the British Red Cross then talked to the group about the complicated process of migrants trying to claim asylum and be granted refugee status. There are huge amounts of red tape stopping intelligent, hard-working men and women from willingly working in our country. The government have made it as difficult as possible for people just looking for safety to enter our country. Asylum seekers that have not been granted refugee status are denied almost any form of government assistance, leaving them destitute. They are not eligible for income support or even allowed to use homeless shelters. The Red Cross have produced this informative guide that aims to explain the crisis in real terms and put paid to certain myths.
Rachel Hartshorne of the Leeds Green Party attended the event and said “I found the talk tonight really interesting as I had no idea about the bureaucracy surrounding immigration. It's great to hear about people like Pascale doing such great work to help asylum seekers.”
Whilst we may not be able to change the Conservatives’ views on immigration, we can try and help with positive action in our local areas. There are many organisations working to support those people who come to England looking for asylum. Please contact the following groups if you feel you can help in any way.
Yorkshire & Humber