Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Last year, Louise Perrett made public the appalling xenophobic and racist behaviour she claimed she witnessed amongst the Home Office Border Agency (UKBA) staff in Cardiff. Louise first shared her horror at the humiliation and indignity asylum applicants are subjected to within UKBA at a talk hosted by Bristol STAR.
Xenophobic and racist behaviour
Louise said that in less than four months working at the Home Office agency responsible for migration, UKBA, she observed shocking behaviour, including the lead case worker for children stating “if it was up to me I would take them all outside and shoot them”.
She claimed that a former child solider was instructed to lie on the floor and demonstrate how he shot at people in the bush to prove his story.
Poor attitudes by decision makers
Louise described how the ‘grant monkey’, a toy gorilla was placed on the desk of any officer who approved an asylum application as a sign of shame. Louise’s attempts to make complaints about such behaviour at the time with senior UKBA staff were dismissed.
Her allegations sparked a formal investigation which found that the ‘grant monkey’ did exist. Although evidence was not found regarding the other claims, the investigation acknowledged that the PCS union may have circulated advice to their members to not co-operate with the investigation.
Asylum seekers deserve dignity and respect
We hope that the investigation and publicity will have a lasting impact on attitudes in the Home Office. The introduction of awareness sessions for UK Border Agency staff and a new asylum instruction procedure and training will hopefully prevent such inexcusable treatment of asylum seekers in the future.
Louise came forward out of a desire to ensure that those who seek refuge are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, not have their vulnerability exploited by individuals who are there to assist them.
We hope this story will be remembered for how powerful awareness-raising can be. Unjust practices should not be accepted. Well done to Louise for having the courage to speak out and to Bristol STAR for helping her to speak publicly for the first time.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Posted by Communications on 24/08/2010 at 11:03 AM