issues affecting the asylum seekers and refugees in uk


“Darkness can never drive out darkness, only light can do that.”- Martin Luther King

There is a grim picture persisting in this world. The world is dangerously and painfully divided in ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. War, torture, rape, political killings and other heinous crimes marred the very existence of humanity and question our silence when we respond heartlessly to the problems happening throughout the world. Pictures of hapless men, women and children driven out by their own countries by force entirely against their interest have become a harsh reality these days.  Such images of destitute, desperate mothers accompanied by holding gaunt children living in a depressing condition at any temporary camp in any part of world not only left us bewildered about the promises we once made to humanity but also show the real picture of millions of down-and-out people caught up in crosscurrents of wars, revolutions, famine and who have been forced into exile.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, an escalation in conflict around the world has generated refugee flows of a scale that has been unprecedented since World War II (Amnesty International, 2002). This wave has affected UK the most. In the early 90’s 2.5 millions of ex-Yugoslavs was forced into exile due to the “ethnic cleansing” at home and now after the ‘war on terror’ episode from 2001 and ‘Iraq war’ from 2003,so many asylum seekers and refugees among have been created, the majority of whom have touched the land of UK for help. With the snowballing of this number of asylum seekers and refugees, the problems of these helpless communities are also augmenting in the UK.


The research’s aim is to find out whether there are any issues affecting the asylum seekers and refugees in UK. The study includes close watch of the problems like

          i.            The impact of domestic draconian terrors laws on the life of asylum seekers and refugees.

        ii.            Problems affecting the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

      iii.            Prolonged and arbitrary detention of the asylum seekers and refugees in the name of curbing terrorism.

      iv.            Forcing asylum seekers and refugees to live in hostile conditions.

        v.            Grievances of the failed asylum seekers.

The research will also come out with the possible solutions suiting the state and asylum seekers and refugees both and through this a better picture is expected to come out.

Table of Contents

A. Introduction

        i.            Statement of the Problem

      ii.            Objective of Study

    iii.            Significance of the study

B. Literature review

C. Design and Methodology

a)      Research Perspective

b)      Sampling Methods

c)      Scope and Limitations

D. Conclusion and Recommendations.

i)                    Introduction of the problem

The world is becoming increasingly volatile with the emergence of problems in various forms everyday. Clashes in the name of race, religion, ethnicity etc have become commonplace. War, revolutions, military coups, massive human rights violations in the name of protecting ‘national interest’  has just given birth to new problems like refugees and asylum seekers who are forced to live in destitute conditions. Every month whereas the previous problems seem looming large, a new one is evolved which only makes things worse.

Problems of disintegrating nations around the world like Liberia, Ethiopia, Somalia, ex-Yugoslav and ex-Soviet Union and escalation of ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence in the  countries like in Iraq and Afghanistan give impetus to the rising crisis of refugees and asylum seekers in the European countries mainly UK. Once the country talking of savouring the humanity from the clutches of injustice, repression and hopelessness now putting barriers to the people displaced from their own countries due to those very reasons. With the strict immigration and asylum laws, UK is practicing ‘restrictionism’ to the opportunities of asylum seekers from the affected countries where gross human rights violation is taking place. Even our elected representatives to the parliament are turning hostile to the pleas of asylum seekers.  Such strict standard of accepting asylum seekers in the progressive European nations like UK have serious repercussions and make them hypocritical when they criticize others in providing humane relief in the time of need.

According to a report by the Joseph Rowantree trust the destitution of the aggrieved refused asylum seekers and refugees has more than double in the past 18 months and it termed the Government’s policy on this regard as totally unacceptable. Numbers of affected children has quadrupled and rough sleepers have increased by a third.

Adding insult to the injuries of asylum seekers few months back UK government forcibly sent displaced Iraqis back. It’s literally backtracking on the values of providing succour to the needy and banished peoples for inhuman reasons.

This research will slowly delve into the deeper factors that creating lots of predicaments for the asylum seekers and refugees. It will question the efficacy of the existing rules and regulations and effectiveness of the draconian laws that only create trouble for the already devastated peoples.

ii)                  Objective of Study

The objective of the study will be the issues affecting the asylum seekers and refugees in UK in the recent years. This will focus on the government policies that whether they provided assistance to these unfortunate people or pushed them into more serious and pathetic conditions. Five main areas of study are there which will state the real picture of these asylum seekers and refugees in UK. They are-

        i.            The impact of domestic draconian terrors laws on the life of asylum seekers and refugees.

      ii.            Problems affecting the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

    iii.            Prolonged and arbitrary detention of the asylum seekers and refugees in the name of curbing terrorism.

    iv.            Forcing asylum seekers and refugees to live in hostile condition.

      v.            Grievances of the failed asylum seekers.

iii)                Significance of the study

This research will look into the most burning topic of our times. For the readers in future it will provide opportunity to discuss all the crucial questions that will shape the course of history in the coming time. The first and foremost factor which needs to be viewed microscopically is the exact cause of this mass exodus of unfortunate populace and the phenomenon of forcing them to live in a situation they had never thought of  in their wildest of imaginations. Why do political ideologies which voice to give relief the people end up causing such great crisis?  The political and strategic consequences of the refugee movements around the world are what all the Governments must necessarily ponder upon.  This research will hopefully pave the way to end the growing hostility towards the asylum seekers and refugees in the host countries like UK and may give some help to carve out a long standing measure to address such serious issues.

Literature review of the Study
The definition of asylum seekers is someone who has left his country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has yet not been accepted.

The 1951 Geneva Convention was adopted by the international community in face of the growing atrocities on refugees. It defines a refugee ass someone with “a well-founded fear of being persecuted in his country of origin for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. And we also can define his status as one whose asylum application has been successful and who is allowed to stay in another country having proved that he would be prosecuted back home.

Throughout the ages, forcibly displaced persons have occupied a vulnerable status in recipient societies, with their precarious claims to residency rights creating a fertile ground for exploitation, marginalization, and expulsion. Now in the post 9/11 era with the ‘war on terror’ going on, the asylum seekers and refugees are more vulnerable to the suspicion and distrust by the states. Most of the governments assume that with their degree of acculturation to the host society it may leave severe impact on the economy, ethnic balance and it may pose serious national threats. UK is no exception. But it’s also true that the burden of asylum seekers and refugees on UK is far greater than any other European nation. The data shows that only in the third quarter of 2007 United Kingdom Home Office received 5,890 application seeking asylum in UK.

With the growing numbers of failed asylum seekers and refugees in the various part of the UK the number of problems are also rising and affecting these people relentlessly.

The recent terror laws that had come into force after 9/11 literally stripped the liberty of asylum seekers and refugees. Detention without charge had been applied so many times on these people merely on suspicion. As Guardian reported an innocent bright teenager girl of Turkish Kurdish origin named Maltem Avcil who had been living in UK for more than 6 years was held in prison.

Due to the wars, revolutions, ethnic and communal strife, sometimes unaccompanied minors flee their countries and take shelter temporarily and in this way we can also witness the augmentation of minor asylum seekers who are not guarded by any such laws. Often refugee children are declared unqualified to be refugees on account of their non-compliance or their failure to play along as helpless and frightened because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or any other social criteria of discrimination (Villareal, 2004).Most of the times, they are deprived of the basic rights such as home, family and education.

Whereas pre-charge detention before 2000 was 4 days, now the legislators are trying to make it 42 days. This is becoming one of the most terrifying fear factors among the asylum seekers and refugees. Again Guardian reported “Immigration detention centres in the UK are stuffed with people whose detention has been arbitrary and prolonged. Many of them have been unable to access competent – or sometimes any – legal representation.” This literally questions the liability of UK government to raise the cases of human rights abuse in the other countries.

Asylum seekers and refugees are also living in one of the hostile conditions in UK. There are people who had been held as terror suspect and later even after getting cleared of all charges, they were given difficult bail conditions like orders not to use mobile phones or internet, such as the same above mentioned Guardian column reported of a refugee like Mustapha Taleb.

Then the problems come of the failed asylum seekers whose fate literally hangs due to the legal and political absurdities. Amnesty International recently reported that 3,400 Iraqis whose asylum claims have been rejected are living on a cashless system of vouchers pending their return. At a time when Iraq is devastated due to the sectarian clashes the forced return of the Iraqi refugees by the UK government only make their future bleak. As one of the country, which ‘invaded’ Iraq, UK has onus on itself to look into the grievances of the displaced people by this much criticized war. This only point fingers to its accountability to wage a war in the name of saving humanity.

(i)                 Methodology of the Study

a)             Research Perspective

As earlier mentioned to look into the issues of affecting asylum seekers and refugees in UK we need to study five things seriously which are-

i)        The impact of domestic draconian terrors laws on the life of asylum seekers and refugees.

ii)      Problems affecting the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

iii)    Prolonged and arbitrary detention of the asylum seekers and refugees in the name of curbing terrorism.

iv)    Forcing asylum seekers and refugees to live in hostile condition.

v)      Grievances for the failed asylum seekers.

b)     Sampling Method

The population of this study is defined as the all adult and minor asylum seekers and refugees in the detention centres and sprawling areas around the Coventry area.

The sampling method will be possessing the data regarding their country of origin and reason of their displacement. Then it will follow with the questions to these asylum seekers and refugees concerning the five points made by researchers.  Data collection will be on the basis of –

                                i.            How many were charged with the terror laws based on suspicion?

                              ii.            Number of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

                            iii.            Number of asylum seekers and refugees accessed to the legal aid during any detention.

                            iv.            Their livelihood in the Coventry area of UK focusing on the availability of basic amenities.

                              v.            Numbers of failed asylum seekers in the Coventry area and their current situation.

c)      Scope and Limitations

This research has vast scope to represent the real scenario of these hapless displaced persons residing in and around the Coventry area of UK. By the collected information in this research and the qualitative study about the issues affecting these people we can look into the broader scope of providing them relief within our limited resources. This research will also look whether these human resources can be used to bolster the local economy by any way which is not something impossible.

Limitations are always there. The population which will be studied may be unresponsive with the fear of getting more alienated from the host society. It is also possible that they may feel hostile to disclose information due to some external threat to reveal their grim realities.

ii)                  Recommendations( Ethical Consideration)

United Kingdom is a country which gifted this world with so many progressive ideas, new direction to the humanity and relief for the troubled nations. Today if any nationals are seeking asylum in UK due to the war where UK is itself involved then it can’t escape its moral responsibility to provide aid to those destitute and homeless people. “The one certain lesson we can draw from the past is that building walls is no answer against those who feel compelled to move. The refugee crises of the interwar years and the Holocaust demonstrated that refugee problems, when exacerbated by prejudice, isolationism, and restrictionism, can be incalculably worse than had ever been imagined” (Loescher, 1996).  No one likes to leave his/her motherland voluntarily without any serious reason. And if they are forced to move due to the humane inanities we must question why such things happen on this earth, where we have promised ourselves since centuries to protect the values of peace, brotherhood and justice. Whoever and whatever are the reasons for that, we can’t escape from our conscientiousness. United Kingdom is again no exception.

List of References

1.  Loescher, Gil. (1996) Beyond Charity: International Cooperation and the Global Refugee Crisis. Oxford University Press

2. Mission and Public Affairs Council (Church of England). (2005). A Place of Refuge: A Positive Approach to Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the UK. Church House Publishing.

3. Villareal, Danuta. (2004). To Protect the Defenseless: The Need for Child-Specific Substantive Standards for Unaccompanied Minor Asylum-Seekers. Houston Journal of International Law. 26.

4. The Free Library. (2008). URL (Retrieved August 22, 2008)

5. The Wall Behind Which Refugees Can Shelter. URL (Accessed 2008, August 22).

 6. Walter, Natasha. (2007).

The liberties stripped from the weak today could be lost to us all tomorrow. The Guardian(December10,2007) (


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