The Truth About Asylum – documentary from Your Preston FM

The Truth About Asylum is an audio documentary from Your Preston FM, the community radio station for Preston and South Ribble in Lancashire.

In the documentary, asylum seekers and refugees living in Preston and elsewhere in Lancashire explore how the journey of seeking asylum doesn’t end with arrival in a new country. The documentary includes real accounts of asylum seekers who have travelled to the UK, plus interviews with representatives of organisations working with asylum seekers and refugees in Lancashire.

~ The Truth About Asylum (MP3 – 42′ 59″)

The Truth About Asylum forms part of the station’s “Preston and Beyond” project, which was funded by UKAid from the Department for International Development.

Thursday 23rd June 2011

Refugee Week events on Thursday 23rd June include:
~ the 2nd Education Without Borders Conference in Bristol
~ Different Pasts Shared Futures – a networking and sharing event from All Points North youth project in Sunderand
~ a Family Open Day with Central & West Integration Network in Glasgow

On air today we have programmes from Norwich, Peterborough, Bradford, London, Brighton and Somerest
NB: Programmes and details are subject to change without notice.


listenc  10am   Community Chest on Future Radio in Norwich
 


pborofmlistenc 10.00am The Daily Brunch on Peterborough FM in Peterborough
With Refugee Week guests and interviews


listenb 12 noon  One to One on BCB Radio in Bradford
Today’s guest is Beatrice Botomani, from Malawi

listenc  4.00pm  Drive Time on BCB Radio in Bradford
With Refugee Week reports.


listenb 1.30pm   Talking Africa on Resonance 104.4FM
 


listenc  2.00pm   Refugee Radio on Radio Reverb in Brighton
Special report: Burma 2011. Zoya Phan is a Karen refugee from Burma. She is a human-rights activist and writer, the author of Little Daughter: A Memoir of Survival in Burma and the West. She talks to Refugee Radio about her life and work. Click here to listen again from the Refugee Radio website.


listenb   4.00pm   Jayson Mansaray on 91.8 Hayes FM in West London
With Refugee Week reports and interviews between 5pm and 6pm


10listenb   6pm   Folk, Roots & Branches Refugee Week Special on 10Radio in Somerset
Music from around here and around the world.


listenb   7.00pm  This is Refugee Week from London Link Radio/Refugee Week Radio
A roundup and preview of Refugee Week activities and events, plus stories from around the world.


NB: the links may be live before and/or after the actual Refugee Week programmes. Please note also that Refugee Week Radio is not responsible for material broadcast on other radio stations.

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

Check out the Refugee Week Events Calendar to find out what is happening around the country today.

On air today we have programmes from Norwich, Peterborough, Bradford, Exeter and London
NB: Programmes and details are subject to change without notice.


listenc  10am   Community Chest on Future Radio in Norwich
With Mike Stonard. Jan reports from the Refugee Week launch and Mike talks to Dee Robinson, from New Routes, and a member of the refugee community, about New Routes’ work and a book Children’s Stories from Around the World, which has been published


pborofmlistenc 10.00am The Daily Brunch on Peterborough FM in Peterborough
With Refugee Week guests and interviews


listenc  4.00pm  Drive Time on BCB Radio in Bradford
With Refugee Week reports.


listenc   4.00pm   The Multifarious Mix on Phonic FM in Exeter
Martin Hodge and guest presenters with a mix of global and local music and talk on a wide range of topics.


listenb   4.00pm   Jayson Mansaray on 91.8 Hayes FM in West London
With Refugee Week reports and interviews between 5pm and 6pm


NB: the links may be live before and/or after the actual Refugee Week programmes. Please note also that Refugee Week Radio is not responsible for material broadcast on other radio stations.

Monday 20th June 2011

Monday 20th June is World Refugee Day. This year’s theme is “Real people, real needs” – remembering that refugees are individuals with real needs, just like ourselves. UNHCR says: “This World Refugee Day we ask you to remember the millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people under our care who are struggling with their day-to-day lives. One thing connects them all: basic needs that must be met so they have a chance to rebuild their lives.”

Mionday 20th is also the first day of Refugee Week in the UK. Check out the Events Calendar on the Refugee Week website for details of events taking place today. Or take part by listening to a selection of radio programming from around the country.

On air today we have programmes from Norwich, London, Preston, Bradford, Brighton, Peterborough and Swindon.
NB: programmes and details are subject to change without notice.


listenc  10am   Community Chest on Future Radio in Norwich
Tim MacWilliam talks to Paul from Cinema City about the film ‘Welcome’ about refugees which is showing there in the evening, and to Alexandra Stuart-Sheppard from Norwich Mind about an event taking place on Wednesday about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


listenc  11.30am  Colourful Life with Roaemary Laryea on Colourful Radio in London.
Rosemary Laryea talks to her guest Monica Clarke, a refugee from South Africa, about apartheid and about life as a refugee in Europe.


listenc  12 noon  The Truth About Asylum – from Your Preston FM in Preston
Presented by volunteers of the Blackburn Refugee Project in Lancashire and Preston FM


listenc  1.30pm  Six Pillars to Persia on Resonance FM in London.
Produced and presented by Fari Bradley.


listenc  1.00pm  Live from the Refugee Week launch on BCB Radio in Bradford
BCB Radio report live from the Refugee Week Launch at Kala Sangam in Bradford.

listenc  3.00pm  Asylum Dialogues on BCB Radio in Bradford
This is a play developed by iceandfire theatre company from interviews with people seeking asylum in the UK. It reflects the relationships between those seeking asylum and the friends they make. The play was recorded and produced at BCB Radio studios for Refugee Week 2011, with support from the Health Creation Bradford Project.

listenc  4.00pm  Drive Time on BCB Radio in Bradford
With Refugee Week reports.


listenb  4.00pm   Jayson Mansaray on 91.8 Hayes FM in West London
With Refugee Week reports and interviews between 5pm and 6pm


listenc   6.00pm   Roots and Shoots on Phonic FM in Exeter
With Martin Henning and Martin Hodge – global and local roots music.


pborofmlistenc 6.00pm Refugee Week programme on Peterborough FM in Peterborough
A special programme about refugees produced by young people involved in the Refugee Week youth action project being run in collaboration with the British Red Cross in Peterborough.


listenc  8.00pm  DJ Debbie on Resonance FM in London.
DJ Debbie is joined by Macedonian composer/singer Tanja Tzarovska – whose album ‘No Record of Wrong’ is out now – and Refugee Week Radio coordinator Cathy Aitchison for a Refugee Week special. We’ll be discussing online tools for networking and profiling including bandcamp and Platforma, which extends Refugee Week onwards, listening to extracts from Asylum Dialogues shared via BCB Radio in Bradford and sharing great music and chat, with updates on what’s going on this week and beyond.


listenc   various   Refugee Week news from Swindon 105.5
 


NB: the links may be live before and/or after the actual Refugee Week programmes. Please note also that Refugee Week Radio is not responsible for material broadcast on other radio stations.

Asylum Dialogues – recorded by BCB Radio in Bradford

Asylum Dialogues is a play developed by iceandfire theatre company from interviews with people seeking asylum in the UK. It reflects the relationships between those seeking asylum and the friends they make.

The play was recorded and produced at the studios of BCB Radio in Bradford for Refugee Week 2011. It is now available from the BCB Radio website to download and broadcast by other radio stations. The production is supported by the Health Creation Bradford Project.

Please let us know (and BCB Radio, of course) if you use the play on air. Also, do tell us if you are doing any similar recordings which will be broadcast during Refugee Week or which will be available for other stations to share.

Not gone, but forgotten: the urgent need for a more humane asylum system – British Red Cross report

reportDuring Refugee Week 2010, the British Red Cross has published a report on destitution among failed asylum seekers in the UK. Not gone, but forgotten explains the background and vividly documents the situation of a sample of asylum seekers in the West Midlands who use the British Red Cross services.

Among the 101 people surveyed, 59% had been destitute for more than a year, whilst 87% said they often survived on a single meal a day. “I eat once a day if friends can spare some food,” says a young man from Sudan, whilst others tell of sleeping in doorways and stairwells.

Refugee Week Radio interviewed representatives from the British Red Cross at the launch: Joseph Nibizi, who is based in Birmingham and who coordinated the case studies in the report, and Nick Scott-Flynn, Head of Refugee Services. Click on the links below to listen.

~ Joseph Nibizi, programme development manager for refugees and vulnerable migrants at the British Red Cross
  (MP3 – 4′ 02″)

~ Nick Scott-Flynn, head of refugee services at the British Red Cross (MP3 – 8′ 13″)

In two comprehensive articles for The Guardian newspaper (here and here), Amelia Gentleman met some of the individuals and described their situations in detail. After reading the reports, many readers contacted the Guardian to find out how they could help – click here for a useful list of contacts set up in response.

But the situation is not new, and the British Red Cross report is by no means the first call for a more humane asylum system, as Nick Scott-Flynn emphasises. In 2008, the Centre for Social Justice, a think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, published the report “Asylum Matters: Restoring Faith in the UK Asylum System“, which found that the removal of benefits did little to encourage failed asylum seekers to leave.

In March 2009, the refugee charity PAFRAS published a report Underground Lives, documenting failed asylum seekers in Leeds and describing similar conditions to those outlined in the British Red Cross report more than a year later.

In July 2009 the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust published Still Destitute, its third study on destitution in Leeds (following studies in 2006 and 2008) and found that destitution was still increasing.

In its report, the British Red Cross supports the following changes to the asylum system:
1. The adoption of the principle that destitution should not be an outcome of the asylum system.
2. Additional support for all destitute refused asylum seekers with dependent children.
3. An end-to-end asylum support structure, including permission to work, until the applicant is either removed or granted leave to remain.
4. An entitlement to healthcare throughout the asylum process until removal or granted leave to remain.

In theory at least, some of those principles would probably not be recognised by bodies such as the UK Border Agency as ‘changes’ needing to be made. It could be argued, on paper at least, that they are already part of the process – it could be argued, for example. that those who are destitute can apply for support under the provisions of ‘Section 4‘ (this being the section of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 which outlines how and in what cirumstances failed asylum seekers waiting to return to their country of origin can apply for support).

However, on the ground, the reports point to flaws in Section 4, citing evidence that it is not working:
~ the 2009 JRCT report (Still Destitute), quoted in the British Red Cross report, found that ‘waiting for Section 4 to begin’ was a cause of destitution for one third of respondents

~ In order to access support under Section 4, refused asylum seekers have to sign that they will go back to their country of origin. As the Centre for Social Justice report (Asylum Matters) outlines, this is something which the majority (83%) are not prepared to do, largely because they feel it is too dangerous for them to do so (93% of those refusing to sign). The report quotes Home Office figures of 9,140 receiving Section 4 support at the end of 2007, calculated as just over 3% of refused asylum seekers at that time.

A substantial number of refused asylum claims are upheld at the appeals stage, as the British Red Cross report explains: National Audit Office figures from 2009 state that 70% of asylum claims that are refused go to appeal and of these some 20-25% are upheld. Or to put it another way, between one in seven and one in six refusals are later overturned.

Is there a ‘culture of disbelief’, as mentioned anecdotally by individual asylum seekers who we’ve spoken to – and as recently discussed in the Guardian by a whistleblower who worked in the Border Agency office in Cardiff (2 Feb 2010)? If so, is this one of the root problems which need to change?

For further debate around whether there is a ‘culture of disbelief’ among agencies dealing with asylum claims, see also the BBC World Service programme Assignment broadcast in February 2010: BBC World Service, Assignment: programme information + Listen (13 February 2010)

Whether there is a culture of disbelief or not, it’s to be hoped that the new government can promote a culture of respect for everyone seeking asylum, at all stages of the process, both at policy level and throughout the system on the ground – and, along with the respect, a more humane system of support.

Seeking to Remain

This feature is from Emma Golby-Kirk, student on the MA course in Radio Production at Bournemouth University. It was streamed as part of Refugee Week Radio 2009 and originally published on the RWRadio network.

Cue:
Each Friday, on a busy tree lined avenue in central Southampton, over 100 refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed through the doors of a church drop-in centre. Here they receive a wide range of help and support from Southampton’s refugee support agencies ranging from English classes to welfare and legal advice.

I went along to find out more about what happens at the drop-in session and, whilst there, I heard one woman’s story of her struggle to be granted leave to remain in Britain.

Feature: Seeking to Remain (11′ 25″ – MP3)

Produced By Emma Golby-Kirk
MA Radio Production, Bournemouth University
www.birst.co.uk