|Coalition Against the Destitution of Asylum Seekers
c/o The 1990 Trust, Suite 12, Winchester House,
9 Cranmer Road, London, SW9 6EJ
Tel: (020) 7582 1990 Email: email@example.com
for immediate release
Wednesday 4th February 2004
ASYLUM SEEKERS TO SPEAK AT PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT (Wed 4th) OF A LIFE OF DESTITUTION AND DISPAIR IN THE UK
Asylum seekers will speak about their life of destitution and despair in Britain at a public meeting tonight.
Semrat Sirak of the Eritrean Women’s Group, will join other keynote speakers in condemning the treatment of asylum seekers, many of whom have fled persecution only to find themselves left homeless and hungry on the streets of Britain.
Semrat said: “We escaped rape and other torture and find ourselves destitute in the country we came to for safety.
“Many in our group are sleep on the streets, in stairwells, nightbuses, parks, train stations, outside Refugee Council, even pregnant women and those sick or disabled from the torture we fled. Our health is deteriorating, we have no access to food, water or the health service.
Some of us will not survive this winter. Is that what people in Britain want for us?”
And Elsa K, who is 7 months pregnant and destitute says: “Many women have been raped by soldiers or forced to sell our bodies in exchange for offers of freedom.
“Being raped, abused and tortured in prison and being disrespected and refused help when we escape, are examples of the sexism women suffer and why we are so angry”
Other speakers at public meeting: Lee Jasper, advisor to London Mayor Ken Livingstone; Simon Hughes, Lib Dem MP and mayoral candidate; Patrick Augustus, author of the Babyfather; Sonali Naik, chair of JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigration); Jean Bosko, French Speaking African General Council); Keith Best, chief executive of Immigration Advisory Service; and Dawn Stephenson of Black Londoners Forum.
6pm – 8pm
London City Hall (near Tower Bridge)
Eritrean Women’s Group is part of the Crossroads Coalition for Justice for Asylum Seekers
Bids to interview Semrat Sirak or other women asylum seekers:
0207 482 2496 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the event / other interviews contact: Rhon Reynolds or Lester Holloway on: (020) 7582 1990
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