Asylum seekers tell shocking stories

Refugees, asylum seekers and local people gathered for Refugee Week.
Refugees, asylum seekers and local people gathered for Refugee Week.

To start Refugee Week, 45 people walked for eight miles in the Carnforth Yealand area to call for the end of indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

Refugees, asylum seekers and local people gathered in Carnforth to walk to Yealand where they were provided with lunch by Quakers at Yealand Friends Meeting House.

Here, they heard from Solomon Yitbarek, an Ethiopian who was held in detention last year and then deported to Ethiopia.

Solomon described how the Courts ruled that the Home Office deportation of Solomon was unlawful, and that the Home Office was ordered to bring him back to the UK where he has since received Leave to Remain because of the persecution he faces in his own country. Solomon described the toll the experience had taken on his mental health, and thanked all of those who supported him through the process.

From Yealand, walkers returned to Carnforth where they were treated to a meal provided by the Global Village Café. They heard stories of other asylum seekers who had been held in detention, including someone who had escaped his country with vicious stab wounds to his body caused by insurgents angry with his construction work for NATO.

Green MEP Gina Dowding said: “It was shocking to hear about the experiences of detention by people who have escaped their countries where they have been targeted for their political beliefs. Indefinite detention is not a mark of a civilised society.

“The vast majority of people want our Government to maintain a compassionate system of dealing with asylum seekers.”

The walk was inspired by refugeetales.org, a project calling for the end of indefinite detention of asylum seekers.