Charity formed after Park Inn hotel tragedy
Citizens UK has announced that Scotland-based campaigning group Refugees for Justice will become a part of the charity.
Refugees for Justice is made up of refugees, people seeking asylum, and community members demanding justice, accountability, and change after the Park Inn Hotel tragedy in Glasgow on 26 June 2020, which saw an asylum seeker shot dead by the police after a night attack.
Prior to the pandemic, asylum seekers were given £37.50 a week to live on. Already woefully inadequate, this was suspended as Covid-19 developed.
Alongside this, hundreds were evicted from secure housing and placed into crowded hotel rooms under detention-like conditions during the first wave of the pandemic.
This decision was made without risk assessments, and amongst those moved were pregnant women, survivors of human trafficking and survivors of torture. This has led many in these communities to descend into mental health crises.
Citizens UK has led longstanding campaigns around settling the status of those who call the UK their home, ending extortionate child citizenship application fees, and Community Sponsorship.
In 2007, it established the Independent Asylum Commission (IAC), which conducted a truly independent review of the UK asylum system from beginning to end.
In 2009, Citizens UK began campaigning to end child detention after community leaders across the country saw how families – including children – had been locked up in detention centres. After building momentum, they began to work with the Home Office to end child detention. In 2014, the end to child detention was written into UK law.
Refugees for Justice will operate as a project within Citizens UK’s refugee and migrant team and will work closely with colleagues who are working on refugee resettlement and immigration status campaigns.
Matthew Bolton, Citizens UK executive director, said: “Citizens UK is continuing its longstanding work to make the UK a place of welcome and sanctuary for refugees. Refugees for Justice are calling for accountability and change to the failing system asylum seekers are forced to endure, and we're so pleased they'll be enriching Citizens UK by operating as a project in our organisation.”
Dylan Fotoohi, Refugees for Justice founder and director, stated: “Refugees for Justice are simply asking for asylum seekers to be treated humanely – there is a direct correlation between our physical and psychological health, and the Hostile Environment policies carried out by the Home Office.
"This deliberately puts people seeking asylum in adverse and inhumane conditions, all done with the intention to make the UK as difficult to survive as possible. We’re campaigning to change this, and our team is excited to join Citizens UK to work together and make tangible differences to the UK’s asylum seeker system, ensuring tragedies like the one in Glasgow never happen again.”