The Independent Asylum Commission

The Independent Asylum Commission


Written by: Kevin Smith

Responding to concern about the UK asylum system, the Independent Asylum Commission is conducting an open investigation with a series of public hearings across the UK.

The Independent Asylum Commission is made up of citizens’ groups of local churches, mosques, trade union branches, schools and community groups that are a part of London Citizens and Birmingham Citizens.

The team of Commissioners includes asylum experts and a former immigration judge. The commissioners will be investigating our asylum system on behalf of a whole range of citizens – from those who believe that asylum seekers are not being treated with humanity, to those who believe the current asylum system is too generous. After 18 months, a report will be produced that aims to make credible recommendations for reform on the basis of its findings.

Public hearings

The Independent Asylum Commission will be conducting public hearings across the UK between January and November 2007. The hearings will be themed and focus on one aspect of the asylum system at each.

The hearings are opportunities for commissioners to hear testimony directly from everyone concerned with or by the UK asylum system: from asylum seekers and refugees; those who work with and for them; the civil servants implementing the system, and those living in communities where asylum seekers live.

Anyone can respond to the call for evidence and every submission will be read and acknowledged, but the Commission would particularly like to hear from:

  • asylum seekers and refugees;
  • any organisations working with and for refugees and asylum seekers;
  • civil servants implementing the asylum system;
  • those who have evidence of abuses of the asylum system;
  • those who have evidence of asylum seekers’ rights being breached;
  • citizens with a general interest in or concern about asylum.

You can submit evidence to the Commission under the following headings:

  • access to the asylum determination process;
  • the operation of the asylum determination process;
  • the asylum appeals process;
  • the treatment of vulnerable groups in the asylum process;
  • the detention of asylum seekers;
  • material support and accommodation for asylum seekers including those at the end of the asylum process;
  • the removal of refused asylum seekers;
  • public responses to asylum and miscellaneous

You can submit evidence in written form or you can upload a short video testimony to the website.

Dates for public hearings
  • Midlands: Asylum Determination Process, Birmingham, 31 January 2007 Public Hearing: 14:30-17:30 at St Anne’s RC Church, Alcester St, Digbeth, Birmingham.
  • London and the South-east: Detention, London, 29 March 2007
  • Wales and the West of England: Vulnerable Groups, Cardiff, 22 May 2007
  • Scotland: Removals, Glasgow, 5 June 2007
  • Yorkshire and Humberside: Asylum Appeals, Leeds, September 2007
  • North-west: Asylum Support and Destitution, Manchester, October 2007
  • National hearing, London, November 2007

Related links

Visit the Independent Asylum Commission website

You can contact the Commission at: Independent Asylum Commission, 112 Cavell StLondonE1 2JA. Tel: 020 7375 1658.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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