Community Care has written to Conservative leader Iain
Duncan Smith urging him to apologise publicly for the “pejorative”
language used by his MPs when referring to asylum seekers and
The letter highlights in particular the “inflammatory” language of
shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin and Welsh Tory MP Nick Bourne
for raising fears that the UK is being “swamped” and harbours
“terrorists intent on blowing us up”.
Community Care editor Polly Neate has called on Duncan
Smith to “consider the impact of these words and the hysteria they
provoke”. She stated: “Using asylum as a political football with
which to win votes in local communities is abhorrent and undermines
what is a genuine issue for the many people escaping persecution in
One of the aims of Community Care‘s Right to Refuge
campaign is to encourage politicians to cut out racist language.
Neate has “strongly requested” Duncan Smith to take responsibility
for his party’s actions and “contribute positively to the debate on
The letter follows Mori research released by Amnesty International,
Refugee Action and the Refugee Council to coincide with Refugee
Week which shows that large numbers of young people have a poor
opinion of asylum seekers.
The survey of 289 15-24 year olds reveals that 58 per cent think
asylum seekers do not make a positive contribution to the country,
nearly a quarter think Britain should not offer a safe haven for
people fleeing war and persecution, and half think only a few
asylum seekers are genuine.
Meanwhile, the government has announced it has dropped plans to
process asylum seekers in “transit camps” outside the European
Union. Four weeks ago, immigration minister Beverley Hughes said
camps could be piloted this year.
Refugee Council acting chief executive Margaret Lally said the
government seemed to have made a u-turn “because of the fierce
opposition from non-governmental organisations and lack of support
from European partners on the legal, practical and cost
– Mori study from www.amnesty.org.uk