Joint response to Home Office decision, announced yesterday, not to proceed with plans for induction centres in Sittingbourne and Brighton - Refugee Council
April 8, 2003

Joint response to Home Office decision, announced yesterday, not to proceed with plans for induction centres in Sittingbourne and Brighton

Alison Fenney, Head of Policy at the Refugee Council, and speaking on behalf of both organisations said:

“We would be very disappointed if this decision means the Government’s programme for induction centres is hindered.

“We are concerned that this decision has been made partly because the local community was not consulted at the earliest possible opportunity. Early public involvement is crucial to ensure that local residents are kept informed and are given balanced, impartial information about what is being planned for their area. Better communication would help to dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding asylum seekers and would address some of the concerns before they become fears.

“However, we have always been supportive of the Government’s plans for induction centres. The induction procedure will help asylum seekers to know their rights and responsibilities and will give them immediate orientation to the UK, as well as ensuring their health and support needs are assessed.

“Continuing with the programme is an important step towards creating a fair and fast decision-making process, which will improve the efficiency and credibility of the asylum system.

“We welcome the government’s pledge to work in partnership with the voluntary sector in pursuing this programme and look forward to helping ensure it is successful”.

Ends

Note to editors:

Migrant Helpine is a charity that provides direct support, information and advice to asylum seekers in the South East of England and currently runs the induction centres in Kent. It works in partnership with the Refugee Council to advocate and campaign on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees. For more information about Migrant Helpline please contact Tony Fuller, Head of Development on 0702 112 3267.

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