Leeds feeling strain of 0.03% increase in population

It’s great to see Leeds talking seriously about how it can support people fleeing violence and forced to leave their homes and countries. The council task force has come up with a “compassionate” plan to offer 200 Syrians a home. (See http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/leeds-offers-home-to-200-refugees-1-7462798) But is it really enough when there are over 4,000,000 Syrian refugees? And is the task force right when it judges …

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We’re the same

We’re the same you and me.

You leave Homs – I leave home.

We both get caught in a queue.

It’s the M1 that brings me to a halt.

My air-conditioning drowning the DJ.

I’m snarled, and angry, fighting for a lane.

For you it’s the border that brings you to a stop.

Armed guards shouting and pointing you back.

You’re starved, and scared, fighting for a life.


We’re the same you and me.

You flee to save your life.

I live on what I’ve saved.

You’re a migrant escaping the pain.

I’m an ex-pat avoiding the rain.

You take nothing – everything left behind.

I bring essentials – tea, marmite, marmalade.


We’re the same you and me.

But I’m worth more – I have so much.

So I’m building a wall to keep me safe.

Around my house securing my place.

A border to keep you out.

Surrounding my country.

Surrounding my wealth.

We’re the same you and me.

But I’m worth more

so you keep out.


If you are rich and attractive to others, you also have to be strong because if not, they will take away what you have worked for and you will be poor, too.
Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Guardian, 5 September 2015

Alternatively, here are 6 things you can do to help refugees if you live in Leeds.

Help Over the Final Hurdle

Harassed, stressed, tired and disorientated people are arriving in Leeds from all over Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East and finding a warm welcome and a helping hand. ‘The idea is to help people arrive in a calmer, and less nervous state as they go into a ‘life or death’ situation’, explains Matthew Neill.‘What we offer is a …

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Excellent Leeds law firm short-listed for award

Henry Hyams Solicitors are delighted to have been shortlisted for The Law Society’s Excellence Awards, which will be judged on 9 October. The Leeds based legal firm undertakes pro-bono (free) work in support of the Manuel Bravo Project. The project offers free legal advice to asylum seekers who wish to appeal against a negative first decision or submit a fresh …

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Journeys of great uncertainty

Asylum seekers arriving in the UK are dispersed to make their own way to major cities in remote regions to be interviewed by the Home Office. Most arrive disorientated and harassed before a long interview that will determine their future. Acts of hospitality are lifelines in this hostile system. ‘I couldn’t sleep on the eve of the journey because I …

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Unheard voices

There will be a screening of short films highlighting the voices of unheard refugees and asylum seekers. As part of Refugee Week and in partnership with Henry Hyams and DLA Piper. With a short talk from Manuel Bravo Project and a person with first-hand experience of navigating the asylum system in the UK . There will be networking before and after, and …

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The right to legal representation

Manuel Bravo Project – Legal assistance for people seeking asylum The Manuel Bravo Project is a volunteer-based service which offers legal assistance to unrepresented asylum seekers. We offers free legal advice to asylum seekers who wish to appeal against a negative first decision or submit a fresh claim for asylum and who cannot obtain legal aid. The project employs seven …

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Is the UK number one in Europe?

Source: UNHCR From the images in the media and the political hype, you’d think that the UK was the number one destination for asylum seekers in Europe. In reality we’re not that popular and it’s questionable whether we pull our weight. Don’t forget that 8 out of 10 refugees escape to neighbouring countries in the same region. Asia hosts 4.8 million …

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