Independent Asylum Commission seeks people’s stories about Asylum


Asylum is one of the most contentious issues in contemporary politics. It is consistently at the top of the public’s list of political concerns. Never far from the headlines, there is a widespread belief that the system is not “fit for purpose”. Meanwhile, there are many reports of asylum seekers facing unfair treatment, destitution and a loss of dignity. And a recent citizens’ commission into conditions at Lunar House, the headquarters of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, called for an independent review of national asylum policies.

Concerned citizens across the country have asked our team of commissioners to conduct a truly independent review of the U.K. asylum system, from beginning to end. After eighteen months we will produce a report that will suggest recommendations for reform.

Our Commission will be using three methods to inform our work: public hearings; original research; and a call for evidence. We would encourage a whole range of people — individuals and groups — to contribute evidence to the Commission. In addition to giving evidence on asylum policy, we would be interested to hear your asylum stories. You may be an asylum seeker, a Home Office caseworker or have a story to tell about your experience of refugees and asylum seekers in the U.K. If so, please tell us your story using the guidelines below.

Sir John Waite
Ifath Nawaz
Co-chairs,
Independent Asylum Commission

Can I submit evidence to the Commission?:

Anyone can tell their story but we are particularly interested to hear from those who have first-hand experience. The Commission would particularly like to hear from:

  • civil servants implementing the asylum system;
  • asylum seekers and refugees;
  • those in contact with refugees and asylum seekers.

Telling your story is easy and we would encourage you to do so.

How should I tell my story?

You should submit your story by November 1, 2007. The earlier you submit, the more time the Commission has to read your story — so please submit your story as soon as you can before that date.

You must include a cover note with your name, address, contact number, and organisation (if relevant). If you wish to use a pseudonym to protect your identity, please mark this on the cover note and suggest a pseudonym.

Stories become the property of the Commission, and may be printed or circulated by the Commission at any stage.

What happens to stories I submit?

All submitted stories will be read and acknowledged by the Independent Asylum Commission staff. Stories will then be made available for the consideration of Commissioners and will help shape the Commission’s final report. In some cases the Commission may wish to invite contributors as witnesses for Commission hearings. Some of the stories will be published in the final report.

The Commission is not obliged to follow up every story submitted. The Commission is independent and has no statutory obligation or desire to investigate individual cases or play the role of the Home Office. The Commission’s purpose is to gather evidence and consider recommendations for reform — not to take on individual cases.

Tell your Story

Please tell us your story. There is no word limit, but please set it out clearly, double-spaced and try to be concise where possible. You may wish to include information on the following if it fits with your story:

  • situations in asylum seekers’ country of origin;
  • how asylum seekers get to the U.K.;
  • how asylum seekers are treated in the U.K.;
  • asylum seekers’ aspirations and contribution to society;
  • refugee integration;
  • the experience of refused asylum seekers.

How do I submit my story?

Your stories should be submitted electronically in Word format using the template laid out below. They should be sent to evidence@cof.org.uk.

It is possible to submit paper copies if you do not have access to email. These should be addressed as follows:

Tell my Story
Independent Asylum Commission
112 Cavell St
London E1 2JA.

Source of message: EMIT Writers News, June 2007.

Related Books:

Broken Spirits,Spreading the Burden?,Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Contemporary World,A Place of Refuge,Child and Family Social Work with Asylum Seekers and Refugees

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