Young refugees and asylum seekers are missing out on vital
information about their rights because the essential facts are
inaccessible, according to a policy adviser at the Refugee
Judith Dennis, policy adviser for unaccompanied children, said
that although there was a lot of information available for asylum
seekers, it was difficult for them to access.
Dennis spoke at the launch of a guide ‘How to make a new
life in the UK’, which contains vital information for young
refugees on entering the country. The guide provides a
one-stop-shop for all areas and includes sections on applying for
asylum, further and higher education, getting legal advice, housing
and lists many essential telephone numbers and addresses of
Dennis said that young refugees and asylum seekers have little
control over their own lives, with uncertainty about whether they
can stay in the country and where they will be living. She felt
that if they knew their rights, they would become empowered and
know how to help themselves.
The guide, produced by the National Information Forum, a small
charity, and funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund,
was launched by comedian and actor Omid Djalili in London.
Djalili, whose parents gained refugee status in 1979, said his
shock at being asked to launch the guide was an indication of his
lack of self-esteem, and the fact that he still does not feel like
an integrated member of society.
A young asylum seeker Tony Oketta spoke at the launch, of his
experiences coming to Britain, and the problems he encountered,
particularly with the language barriers. He urged the government to
help by funding projects for refugees, and highlighted the
importance of how unaccompanied minors need advice, particularly
‘How to Make a New Life in the UK’ is available now in English,
and will be translated into 10 languages next year. It will be
provided free of charge to young refugees by front line
It is available from the National Information Forum on 020 7402