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Issue:- 24 February 2010


STUDENTS in Liverpool will be sleeping on the steps of St. Luke's Church, on Friday, 25 February 2011, 8pm to 8am to raise awareness of the destitution faced by thousands of refused asylum seekers in the UK, who are literally left penniless at the end of their asylum claim.

Up to 1,000 students across the country will be sleeping out during the National Student Action Week from 21 February to 27 February 2011, organised by Amnesty International and STAR (Student Action for Refugees).

They are calling on the government to get behind more sensible rules for permission to work for asylum seekers. Allowing people to work and support themselves if they have been waiting for more than six months for their cases to be concluded, or have been refused asylum but cannot be returned, would reduce the burden on the taxpayer and allow them to support themselves and their families while contributing to the economy, say campaigners. People can take action at:-

Debbie Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the Liverpool Student Amnesty, said:- “The way that refused asylum seekers are being treated in this country is disgusting. These men and women are being reduced to penniless poverty. They are forced to sleep on the streets. “This happening in our towns and cities here in the UK, yet many people simply don’t realise. For us, enduring a night in the cold is the least we can do if it helps bring some attention to their situation. We’re calling on MPs like Louise Ellman to support a declaration calling for this small group of vulnerable people to be allowed to work and support themselves, until they are granted protection here or can safely return home.”

For many refused asylum seekers who cannot return home or are too scared to leave the UK, all support is cut off and they are denied the right to work to support themselves. They are then left destitute. While shelter and payment cards for food are available to those on so-called “hard case” support, to qualify people must enter into agreements to return “voluntarily”, even if their country of origin may not be safe. Many refused asylum-seekers are fearful of such agreements, not least as they are from countries - such as Zimbabwe or Somalia - torn apart by conflict or where human rights abuses are rife. Moreover, in practice it is extremely difficult to forcibly remove people to countries where there are serious safety concerns, difficulties in obtaining travel documents or where there is no safe flight route.

The policy would not attract economic migrants to the UK, argue the campaigners, as only a small percentage of asylum seekers would be in the system long enough to apply for permission to work. The number of people claiming asylum in the UK is at its lowest point for 20 years. The Home Office would also still have the discretion to refuse anyone permission to work, if they were responsible for delaying a decision on their claim. Many EU countries already allow asylum seekers to work for up to six months after making their asylum application and these countries do not receive more asylum applications than the UK.

Still Human Still Here is a coalition of more than 40 organisations, including Amnesty International and STAR, that are campaigning to end the destitution of thousands of refused asylum seekers in the UK:-

Film showing of "Ladybird, Ladybird" followed by Q & A with Actor Crissy Rock

THE film that was written by Rona Munro and Directed by the award winning Ken Loach (Route Irish, Sweet Sixteen, Looking for Eric, Kes), called Ladybird Ladybird has been inspired by true life events. The story is a love story that stars Liverpool’s own Crissy Rock, Ray Winstone and Vladimir Vega. The film tells the tail of Maggie and Jorge and their struggle to have a family. Maggie has had four children, by four different fathers who came to the attention of Social Services when they were injured in a fire and due to her previous violent relationships. When she meets Jorge, a gentle Latin American refugee, she gradually sees her chance for happiness, but her history still haunts her. She finds it difficult to escape the image that is described in her official records. Ladybird Ladybird is an emotional and harrowing story of a woman's fight to keep her children and her relationship intact. Well known for her comedy shows, Crissy is currently back in England after spending time in Spain to film the forth series of ITV comedy Benidorm and will be performing in the play at Floral Theatre, Southport. Her autobiography The Heart Within Me Burns, will be launched in March. There will be an opportunity to purchase a signed copy at the screening of Ladybird Ladybird.

Crissy Rock said:- “It’s brilliant that Maureen’s screening Ladybird Ladybird to raise funds for a well deserved project whilst helping to promote my new autobiography. The Clapperboard Youth Project is a fantastic learning opportunity for so many young people from the North West.”

Clapperboard’s Director, Maureen Sinclair said:- “I’m really proud to promote Crissy’s work which is an amazing achievement. When I saw Ladybird Ladybird when it was first released it made such an impact on me and Crissy’s performance was outstanding.”

Crissy Rock, will participate in a Question and Answer session with the audience, Chaired by Roger Shannon, Professor of Film, Media Department Edge Hill University. A complimentary after show drink will be sponsored by 3345 Parr Street.


Film:- Ladybird Ladybird
Running time:- 101 mins
Q&A:- Crissy Rock
Viewing takes place on:- Monday, 11 April 2011
Viewing time:- 6.45pm

The showing will take place at:- The Picture House, FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ

Tickets:- £11, Concessions £8
Box Office:- 0871 042063

Income raised from Clapperboard Presents... will go toward the Clapperboard Youth Project.

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