Tell the truth over asylum

POLITICIANS are today being urged to tell the truth about asylum in the run up to the general election.The Refugee Council in Ipswich has launched a guide today called 'Tell it like it is- the truth about asylum', to prevent the debate from being hijacked by "myths".

POLITICIANS are today being urged to tell the truth about asylum in the run up to the general election.

The Refugee Council in Ipswich has launched a guide today called 'Tell it like it is- the truth about asylum', to prevent the debate from being hijacked by "myths".

Manager of the East of England office of the Refugee Council in Ipswich, Ian Beattie said: " We thought there was a real need for a factual guide to asylum as it's clearly a hot topic in Government, in media and in people's living rooms."

"It's really important that we debate it openly and honestly. Simple differences between an asylum seeker and a refugee. The real facts often get missed and replaced by myths, which become so commonly known."


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The guide details basic definitions of an asylum seeker, refugee, failed asylum seeker, an illegal immigrant and economic migrant. It also has explanations such as why an asylum seeker might be in the UK, how the asylum system in this country works, and the contribution they have made to the UK over the generations.

Some of the facts in the pocket- guide are:

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n The UK asylum system is strictly controlled and complex.

n It is very difficult to get asylum.

n The UK is home to less than 2 per cent of the world's refugees, around 250,000 people out of nearly 10 million worldwide.

n Asylum seekers are not allowed to work. They are forced to rely on state support, which is set at 30 per cent below the normal level of income support.

n Fish and Chips, the Mini and Marks and Spencer are all British institutions- created or invented by refugees who came to the UK.

The issue of asylum has already featured significantly in the build up to the election.

The Conservative Party propose to put an annual limit on asylum and all claims would be processed overseas.

Labour has said it would continue in helping those fleeing torture, death of persecution while tackling remaining problems and pockets of abuse in the immigration system.

The Liberal Democrats polices on asylum include establishing an independent asylum agency to consider claims independent from political interference.

For a copy: www.refugeecouncil.org.uk

What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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