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Indefinite detention is dehumanising for refugees. This practice must end

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 19/07/2017 | Views: 1009

In our interconnected world, it is such a truism that everyone has a story to tell that we rarely ask to hear them. We should. Both sides would benefit.



We might start with The Student’s Tale, about the young man studying epidemiology who is detained in Britain, having survived a perilous journey from Africa, menaced by the knives and guns of people smugglers. He had been forced to flee his village, having been denounced as an apostate.

Or The Lorry Driver’s Tale, the account of a trucker who travels from Calais to Dover and, seeing the misery and desperation of the migrants who dot his path, occasionally brings one across to a new life. The Witness’s Tale: the fortunes of a man falsely accused in his home country of being a terrorist, who makes it to Britain, helps the state convict a gang of murderous, brutal people smugglers, and is told that his reward is to be deportation back to a likely death. Perhaps The Abandoned Person’s Tale, the recollection of a youth rounded up in his homeland during a crackdown on student protests, who spends three years in detention here before eventual release. Each tale vastly different; each illuminating a system that should deal humanely on our behalf with the many people who arrive here seeking refuge, sanctuary and a better life, but which every day fails to deliver.

 With the Refugee Tales project, a book published on Thursday, and by walking with refugees around the country – mirroring routes described in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – a group of writers, authors, poets and academics have sought to tell those stories: to make the statistics flesh. To hear from migrants themselves about the fears and terrors and pressures that often led them to undertake arduous, terrifying journeys over land and sea, only to find themselves subject to our lamentable procedures for deciding what should happen next.  Read the full article here.
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