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21st May 2015

Asylum: We need to debate using facts, not fiction

Over the coming weeks Richard, one of our volunteers, will be uncovering the facts about asylum seekers & refugees.  Today he explores why it’s so important to understand what’s really going on:

“Martin Luther King once said that “a great nation is a compassionate nation”.  A poll conducted by YouGov in June 2014 suggests the UK public believes in this – almost 70% of respondents said that we in Britain should be proud of our nation’s history of offering protection to refugees.  Just 15% disagreed.

Sensationalist headlines can be misleading, srtrc.org

In the run-up to the recent elections, immigration was high on both the media and political agenda.  Refugees and asylum seekers are often included in these debates, but for the wrong reasons.  Increasingly they have been subject to the negative rhetoric sometimes used within the wider immigration discussion.

A failure to inform can lead to such perceptions gaining credence. Although a few years old, a poll conducted by the Independent Asylum Commission sees the public citing this lack of information:

  • 5% of respondents said that they did not know a lot about what the government is doing about asylum seekers.
  • 7% of respondents said information they received regarding migration did not distinguish clearly enough between asylum seekers, economic migrants and other migrant groups.

The facts must be made clear and the overall narrative changed to reflect that. Otherwise, our pride in our history of offering sanctuary to those in need may become precisely that.”

Pop into the Hub any weekday lunchtime to test your asylum knowledge against our quiz, and watch this space for the key facts & figures that you need to know.

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