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Sinn Féin launch Refugee Week at Stormont

16 June, 2009 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann will today launch Refugee Week at Stormont today highlighting the challenges that those who flee persecution face when they come to live in the North of Ireland.

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

“People who have fled to Ireland have made a positive impact to our country and their needs must be addressed. Those who have fled here to escape persecution have rights and Sinn Féin has worked tirelessly to protect their liberties.

“Unfortunately however they face a daily challenge to access their full entitlements and rights when seeking asylum or refuge. We need to send a clear message to both Irish and British Governments, whose policies currently criminalise refugees seeking asylum, that enough is enough.

“Those who come to our shores seeking refuge do not do so of their own free will. They are escaping persecution, torture and death. To face persecution once they arrive here, being held in prison compounds or police custody as they await a decision on their future, in a process often far removed from the refugees is unacceptable.

“The built in, systematic discrimination against refugees and asylum seekers, and how we treat those coming to Ireland for a better life, needs a serious shake up. While not refugees we only have to look at the recent racist attacks against Romanians living here to see one such challenge that this vulnerable group faces.

“This year’s focus of Refugee Week is on the “Simple Acts Campaign” hopes to deliver a welcome and a positive message using small but significant local gestures and can in its own way change things for the better and help those refugees who are need of support and community.”

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