Violence marks launch of Glasgow`s new asylum seeker strategy

Within 24 hours of Glasgow Council launching a new strategy to
combat racist attacks against asylum seekers, violence broke out
again in the city streets and statutory authorities were accused of
a public relations exercise.

Following orchestrated violent attacks on asylum seekers and
refugees in the Sighthill area of Glasgow over the past few months,
the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson, convened an emergency
meeting of council departments including social work and the asylum
support project, Strathclyde Police, the Scottish Refugee Council
and councillors to devise a strategy to combat violence. Glasgow is
the main dispersal area for asylum seekers and refugees in

The resultant racial incident strategy includes a threat to
evict the families of anyone found to be participating in racist
attacks, a commitment to closer policing and range of community
development, housing and education activities aiming at integration
of the refugees with the existing community.

Within hours, a vicious and potentially fatal assault was
targeted at three Sudanese asylum seekers by a group of 10 youths
all thought to be teenagers. The assault follows the pattern of
previous attacks. From a small number initially, 4,500 families
have now moved into the city and it could double by the end of the
year. Overnight, the city has increased reports of serious
incidents of racist violence mainly around Sighthill and the Red
Row flats, the main location points for refugees.

Robina Qureshi, director of pressure group Positive Action in
Housing, said: “I suspect this new strategy is nothing but a public
relations exercise. There is no evidence at all that asylum seekers
are being afforded extra protection in spite of Strathclyde
Police’s promises.”

Qureshi claimed that too little had been done too late. She
said: “Refugees and asylum seekers are vulnerable immediately on
their arrival, and should be treated as such by the automatic
introduction of devices such as fireproof letter boxes and alarms.
So far there has been no evidence at all of any extra

She said the new strategy simply did not answer the
victims’ own needs saying: “Asylum seekers do not ask for
integrated English language classes or the like to provide safety.
They ask for immediate, real protection. They are asylum seekers
twice over – first in the country they fled and now, here, in
the city of Glasgow.”

But Charles Gordon, leader of Glasgow Council, placed the blame
elsewhere saying that “the wheels of justice were grinding a bit

The Scottish Refugee Council, one of the member organisations to
the agreement, described Glasgow Council’s initiative as

At the time of writing no-one had been arrested for the latest
attacks on asylum seekers on the streets of Glasgow.

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