The British Red Cross is a humanitarianorganisation that helps people in crisis,whoever and wherever they are. We are part o the International Red Cross and Red CrescentMovement – a global volunteer network thatresponds to conicts, natural disasters andindividual emergencies.We enable vulnerable people at home andoverseas to prepare or and respond toindividual crisis, as well as emergencies intheir own communities. When the crisis oremergency is over, we help people recoverand move on with their lives.As a member o the Red Cross and RedCrescent Movement, we are committed to,and bound by, our undamental principles– humanity, impartiality, neutrality,independence, voluntary service, unity anduniversality. The principle o humanity is
“to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found”.
It has been estimated that there are up to500,000 reused asylum seekers in the UK
.These are people who, or a range o reasons,have not returned home, are still living in theUK with very limited or no access to supportrom the state and who are not allowed towork. They become reliant on the goodwillo riends and support rom aith groupsand charities. In many cases they experienceexploitation, overcrowded living conditions,street homelessness, physical and mentalillnesses and malnourishment.The British Red Cross accepts that thegovernment has a right to control its borders,and to remove asylum seekers who have notbeen granted protection. However, over thelast six years we have spent an increasingamount o resources addressing a growinghumanitarian need amongst this group, andwe believe we have a responsibility to highlighttheir plight.This paper highlights the dire humanitariansituation that many reused asylum seekersexperience on a daily basis. Many o thesefndings complement the work o the StillHuman Still Here campaign, o which theBritish Red Cross is a member, dedicatedto highlighting the plight o reused asylumseekers who are destitute in the UK.
Why is this an issue forthe British Red Cross?
The British Red Cross defnes someone who isdestitute as:
“A person who is not accessing public funds, isliving in extreme poverty and is unable to meet basic needs e.g. income, food, shelter, healthcareand who is forced to rely on irregular support from family, friends, charities or illegal working to survive.”
Humanitarian assistance is a phrase that mostpeople normally associate with the work o the Red Cross internationally with victims o persecution, conict, or disaster. However, weare increasingly being called upon to providesuch support to help reused asylum seekerswho become destitute in the UK.
“Giving food to destitute asylum seekers hereis not very different from handing out food from the back of lorries in the Sudan. Thehumanitarian need is the same.”
Red Crossinternational aid workerWhile there are a number o reasons whyasylum seekers become destitute, or exampleas a result o delays in the asylum applicationprocess, this paper specifcally ocuses onreused asylum seekers who are at high risk o becoming destitute.
About the British Red Cross
1 Gordon, Scanlon, Travers & Whitehead (2009, February) Economic impact on London and the UKo an earned regularisation o irregular migrants in the UK: An Interim Report rom LSE.Available: http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/publications/2009/docs/earned-amnesty-interim-summary.pd