Deputy first minister, Jim Wallace, should stay away from the
Sighthill area of Glasgow unless he brings resources and practical
help according to campaign groups.
Wallace’s visit to Sighthill is the first by any
government minister since the murder of asylum seeker, Firsat Dag,
and the civil demonstrations and street violence that followed over
three weeks ago.
In announcing his proposed visit Wallace pledged to do all in
his power to improve the quality of life for refugees and asylum
seekers in Scotland.
Campaigning groups have declared that if the visit is merely a
one-off PR exercise then it shouldn’t happen. Mohammed Asif
Naveen, spokesperson for Glasgow Refugee Action Group, said: “It is
pointless for Jim Wallace to come to Sighthill unless he is
bringing financial resources to an area that has been ignored for
decades. Sighthill needs a multi-million generation package not
just a drop-in centre and four extra handy men.”
Asif’s comments were a thinly disguised barb at Glasgow
Council’s package of services introduced after the civil
Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, shared
Asif’s views and said: “It is interesting that refugees, who
were labelled as scroungers when they came to Glasgow, are the very
ones to mobilise local people to lobby for resources in
Qureshi was referring to a series of joint demonstrations by
asylum seekers, refugees and local residents of Sighthill the last
of which took place on Saturday 25 August. Then approximately 500
people took to the streets demanding more investment in Sighthill
including anti-racist support from the voluntary sector, increased
resources for the police and investment in the area.
A Scottish executive spokesperson said that Wallace’s
visit to Sighthill was to meet with and listen to local people as
well as asylum seekers and refugees.