Press Release: Office of Jean Lambert MEP

19th February 2007

 

GREEN MEP CALLS FOR END TO DESTITUTION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS AT SLEEPOUT


London's Green MEP Jean Lambert has today called on the UK Government to end the destitution of asylum seekers that have sought protection in the UK as she joined the Refugee Council's 'Just. Fair. sleepout' in Parliament Square.

Jean, who previously raised the issue when she spent the night 'sleeping rough' in Trafalgar Square, today gave her support to the volunteer sleepers who will spend the night outside Parliament. Jean said "Asylum seekers are being forced into destitution by the Government's policies which ignore the well-being of those who have been forced out of their homelands. Just because asylum claims are turned down does not mean they can leave the UK. Even if individual claims are turned down it is not always safe for them to return, for example to Zimbabwe or Iraq.

"It is vital that we provide assistance to prevent them being homeless, hungry.

"I give my ut-most support and admiration to those taking part in the Refugee Councils 'Just. Fair. sleepout' tonight. They are doing this for one night out of choice to draw attention to the plight of the thousands who do not have that luxury and are being forced to sleep out every night."

Acting Chief Executive of Refugee Council Anna Reisenberger commented "Refused asylum seekers are human beings first, but they are being
treated as if they are non-humans. To say to someone who has fled in terror from their country in the hope of finding safety here, that unless you return home you will be left to starve on the streets is shameful for a civilised society.

"We are very grateful to Jean Lambert for her interest in the issue and ongoing support."

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.