General

By Lynn Malone

A Scottish human rights campaigner has reacted angrily to posters displaying the message “Go Home” at a UK border agency in Glasgow.

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, a Scottish refugee homelessness charity, wants to highlight the new “Hate” campaign at the UK agency in Brand Street which she says is undermining anti-racist work in Scotland.

She said: “Positive Action in housing believes that the UKBA’s “Go Home” poster campaign is nothing more than a racist and xenophobic “Hate Campaign” designed to harass and wear down those from refugee communities and undermine the excellent anti-racist work already being done in Scotland.

Giant posters depict a destitute refugee in the UKBA Brand Street offices in Glasgow. It says ‘Is life here hard? Going home is simple.’ On every single chair in the large waiting room, there are large stickers saying ‘Ask about going home’ to reinforce the hostile message to asylum seekers reporting daily or weekly there.

This poster campaign is racist and offensive. “Go Home” is the classic racist taunts used for decades in this country by fascists and racists against ethnic minorities.
Other messages appear on the floor and in the area where asylum seekers “sign on” and there are reports of huge images of aircraft accompanied by questions suggesting they should go home – rather than endure the life of an asylum seeker in Scotland.

Ms Qureshi whose work involves countering racism and discrimination said: “That a government agency should decide to take up the same racist and xenophobic refrain while “processing” would-be refugees to this country, is shameful and deeply offensive.

“If there was a parallel campaign telling patients in A&E hospitals not to turn up for treatment you can imagine the public outcry. The “Go Home” poster campaign exposes the UKBA’s attitude and gives us a small idea of what refugees in this country go through when they seek asylum.”

The human rights campaigner explains that claiming refuge is a human right but says the reality is that refugees entering the UK are caught up in the incompetent bureaucratic mess that is the “British asylum system”

Ms Quershi alleges the Home Office failed to deal with a backlog that left more than 100,000 postal enquiries about asylum cases unopened in November 2012. The asylum seekers affected have been left in limbo for an average of 7 years, she claims.

The row follows the recent scheme which saw vans driving through London and other major cities calling on illegal immigrants to leave or face investigation.  The Home Office sanctioned billboards which contained language reminiscent of slogans used by racist far-right parties in the 1970s and 80s.

Civil rights group Liberty claimed that the Home Office's slogans had "racist connotations – mirroring National Front slogans from the 1970s" adding that they were "deeply offensive and divisive and in breach of the Equality Act 2010 so therefore unlawful.”
The new van poster campaign directed at would be refugees was condemned as racist and is currently being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Ms Qureshi, who has campaigned to close detention centres for asylum seekers in the past is urging the public to write to their MPs and MSPs to call for the “Hate” campaign to be stopped immediately. She hopes to raise the matter in Parliament.

Comments  

 
# theycantbeserious 2013-08-30 10:22
Another example of uk policy forced upon Scotland.....better together....aye right!
 
 
# Abulhaq 2013-08-30 10:48
Why Glasgow? Simple, the intention is to create an unhealthy milieu for the referendum. By stoking the fires of Brit patriotism, and this is just such a patriotic initiative, they hope the Scottish people will be divided so that they might continue to rule unchallenged. By raising the issue of race and using pejorative terminology they suggest that Scotland is not a welcoming country. Another negative fixed to the banner of Unionism. Another attempt to subvert and defame our people. The imperialist grand design restored. And they have the gall to speak of "liberating" Syria.
 
 
# Henderson 2013-08-30 11:20
Spot on Abulhaq - turns your stomach doesn't it !
 
 
# Henderson 2013-08-30 10:57
Thanks UK Govt ; this has always been a big part of Scottish culture in recent years.....oh yeah. All the marches by the NF & BM ???
Just when those with 'irish heritage' were starting to feel at home, lets reminisce about prehistoric scottish religious intolerence ( no stirring, nothing intentional there then). Listen just becuase this the kind of thing that might get supported in pockets down south, please don't foist it upon us. We have an important referendum coming up
and this is tasteless and tactless. What next posters in Glasgow saying 'Jocks go home' ???

Another excellent reason for voting YES in 2014
 
 
# Jimmy The Pict 2013-08-30 11:19
I do not want me or my children to live in a country where there is state sponsored racism.

We will all be voting YES next year.
 
 
# ButeHouse 2013-08-30 11:34
Jimmy the Pict says:

We will all be voting YES next year.

YES Jimmy, you and a million others.

VOTE YES in 384 Days
 
 
# theycantbeserious 2013-08-30 12:27
Westminster policy...Go Home!

Vote YES 2014!
 
 
# Hugo 2013-08-30 13:22
I am already here in Scotland.

Give me my home.

Vote YES.
 
 
# hektorsmum 2013-08-30 14:37
Awful, we do not need this here. We have always been a welcoming people it is in our blood.
 
 
# andy-cap 2013-08-30 14:53
Cant say Im surprised at this campaign, Theresa May is indeed a despicable human being, many of those refugees would possibly be murdered if they returned home, and for your adopted nation to drop hints that you're not wanted must be soul destroying, roll on independence.
 
 
# Saoghal Eile 2013-08-30 15:36
Sadly Westminster would prefer to bomb potential refugees before they get a chance to escape their homelands.

Racism is one of the favourite accusations from team fear and smear, unless they are being ironic?
 
 
# Alan 2013-08-30 19:37
So the government wants to inform failed asylum-seekers how easy it is to go home by erecting billboards. Seems kind of inefficient to me. Since asylum seekers have to go through due process, surely the most efficient way of informing failed asylum-seekers about what help is available to help them return 'home' is to do so when their asylum application has been rejected.

The billboards are not aimed at failed asylum-seekers (or illegal immigrants) but are in fact aimed at current and potential UKIP voters in a cynical attempt to herd them back into the Conservative fold. "Look, we are doing something!"
 
 
# cjmasta 2013-08-30 20:53
What about a little public demonstration on Brand Street then?
 
 
# mearns46 2013-08-30 21:00
It is fairly clear that the unionist camp, working with the commentators, media, Whitehall and Westminste wast to stir up racial tensions ahead of the Referendum. Rhetoric from ministers, "Experts" and other sycophants make this clear. The Marr comment was just the typical intro to this scenario.Expect to see interventions from the border agency - Dawn raids, brutal treatment of asylum seekers and other immigrants in Scotland , as they try to stir up this issue. In fact bring their problems to Scotland.
 

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