Thursday, 18 October 2012

Stay of execution and promise of a great legal battle for refugees threatened with eviction and absolute destitution

Below is an update from the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees outlining the result of yesterday’s hearings into the forced evictions of asylum seeking families in Glasgow. The STUC has been supporting this campaign and is appalled that our asylum system works in such a way that people are systematically and routinely left destitute on our streets. We are glad that yesterday some progress was made in tackling this issue, although much is still to be done. We are also glad that the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees will be joining the march for a Future that Works on Saturday.

Refugees and campaigners who attended today's first court hearings in Court 14 in Glasgow Sheriff Court brought by the YMCA to evict the remaining refused refugees, witnessed a remarkable event. While a number of undefended cases went through on the nod, 8 of the cases were defended and the case for eviction challenged. The first effect was to extend the cases into December, giving the refugees at least a stay of execution, the longer and more significant outcome could be to develop a group of test cases which will challenge the legality of the use of absolute destitution as an arm of government policy. Some of the cases were defended by an advocate, an unusual enough event in the eviction courtroom, but an indication of how seriously the refugees' lawyers intend to pursue these cases.

As one of the legal firms involved put it, in more measured terms:

"Latta and Co. Solicitors represented several clients who were faced with eviction at Glasgow Sheriff Court today. The cases were successfully continued to consider challenges raised to the lawfulness of the eviction proceedings. Additional challenges were also raised in respect of potential human rights breaches involving destitution issues. These will be considered at an evidential hearing which has been set for December. The clients are allowed to remain in the accommodation until the matters are fully considered."

Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and numerous other organisations will continue to campaign until our society is rid of this barbarity. Not only out of sympathy with refugees but for ourselves too for what governments can get away with doing to demonised refugees today they can do to the demonised "undeserving poor' tomorrow.

Jock Morris

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