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By Pınar Aksu | Glasgow Caledonian University

Recently, I have carried out interviews for the RESPOND research in Glasgow, Scotland. It was an emotional, frustrating and hopeful process, with many of the participants openly talking about their experiences.

Many people leave their country for different reasons; protection, new life, hope and better future. Sadly, some are forced to leave their country, so sudden there is no time to gather memories and say final goodbyes.

For the Respond research, all participants came from different countries and shared their journeys of arriving to the UK. Everyone wanted to speak, raise their voices and wanted their stories to be heard. Most participants wanted change, to live a normal life and to share their experiences.  

From my observations, I would say there are 3 layers of issues/topics from all the interviews which needs to be addressed and changed: EU protection, UK Human Rights and Home Office.

Deciding to leave and being forced to leave your country is not easy. Throughout history, people have travelled. There were no borders then, it is now border controls are imposed and created, while the people continue to suffer in search of safety.

Many of the participants mentioned the lack of responsibility from the EU- there is no transparency with lack of honesty by the governments when decisions are made. There needs to be safer and humane policies created to help those seeking asylum and refuge. States needs to be reminded the reasons why the European Union was created, and its purpose needs to be implemented by all member States. If not, then hundred and thousands of refugees will continue to suffer and die at borders and waters of Europe.

Secondly, reasons for coming along to UK included protection of Human Rights, which has been seen on media and mentioned by the people. Many people believed UK will protect them, provide opportunity, allow people to be treated based on Human Rights, however, they found the Immigration system very different to what they have heard. With the rise of hate and fear amongst society created by politicians and news, we seem to forget that Human Rights should be for all and not for the rich nor based on where you are born.

Finally, people who are still seeking asylum are suffering from the hostile environment created by the Home Office. Not being able to work has a huge impact on people as they are not able to provide for their family and contribute to their community. People face detention without a time limit- UK is the only country in the international community which has no time limit. Put in a prison like environment leaves people in isolation. Then there is destitution, where you are invisible amongst the society without a future. These were some of the mentioned issues, on-going issues which needs to end.

People seek asylum, refuge and move for a safer place to live as its been done and seen throughout history. People want peace, protection and human rights. Years of waiting in the asylum process with unknows have created huge impacts on participants physical and mental health. This needs to be changed for a better future based on human rights for all.

With the message of hope from all participants, the system of the EU and UK can be changed if wanted for everyone, so that people are treated based on Human Rights, not fear and labels given by the system.