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Homeless, penniless, stateless and destitute

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 21/06/2017 | Views: 976

An independent advocacy service could be a first step in a new preventative approach to tackling the destitution facing asylum seekers in Scotland.

Ibrahim Fahim has been in Scotland for one year during which the 37-year-old has lived hand-to-mouth, sleeping on the floors of friends’ homes or the occasional overnight stay at emergency accommodation provided by charities.

He came to Glasgow via Kent on a long circuitous route through Europe. After fleeing his homeland of Syria, he says he faced certain death at the hands of government forces after being wrongly targeted as an anti-Assad rebel. 

Ibrahim knows he can’t return, though the UK government takes a different view refusing to grant him leave to stay. As such he has no means to support himself.
“I don’t want charity but it is either that or death,” he says. “This is my life. I don’t have my family and I will never be allowed to earn a living. I face this life or death in Syria. I don’t know which is better.”

Ibrahim hopes for peace to break out in the middle-east country sometime soon. But even then he believes his card has been marked. “The government will take reprisals so I don’t know if it will ever be safe to return,” he says. “Thousands have been killed for supporting the rebels. I don’t think I’ll ever be safe.”

For Ibrahim and hundreds like him, Scotland isn’t the safe haven they first envisaged. Refused asylum, hundreds of refugees face a life on Scotland’s streets, destitute and unable to return home. Like Ibrahim, for many refugees going back to their home country is not a choice, and being destitute is preferable to being imprisoned, tortured or killed.

Inevitably charities are left to provide shelter and food for this growing population of desperate, displaced people who can’t return home.  read more

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