Thank you for your interest in the Independent Asylum Commission.
Asylum is one of the most contentious issues in contemporary politics. It is consistently at the top of the public’s list of political concerns. Never far from the headlines, there is a widespread belief that the system is not “fit for purpose”.
Meanwhile, there are many reports of asylum seekers facing unfair treatment, destitution and a loss of dignity. And a recent citizens’ commission into conditions at Lunar House, the headquarters of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, called for an independent review of national asylum policies.
So concerned citizens across the country have asked our team of commissioners to conduct a truly independent review of the UK asylum system, from beginning to end. After eighteen months we will produce a report that will suggest recommendations for reform.
Our Commission will be using three methods to inform our work: public hearings; original research; and a call for evidence.
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 our asylum system is too generous.
So we would encourage a whole range of people –individuals and groups - to contribute evidence to the Commission. In addition to giving evidence on asylum policy, we would be interested to hear your asylum stories. You may be an asylum seeker, a Home Office caseworker or have a story to tell about your experience of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. If so, please tell us your story using the guidelines below.
Sir John Waite Ifath Nawaz
Co-chairs, Independent Asylum Commission
About the Independent Asylum Commission
The Commission’s approach will be informed by the principle that the asylum system should be fair, just and consistent with the UK’s human rights obligations. Find out more at www.independentasylumcommission.org.uk.
Can I submit evidence to the Commission? Anyone can tell their story but we are particularly interested to hear from those who have first-hand experience. The Commission would particularly like to hear from:
civil servants implementing the asylum system;
asylum seekers and refugees;
those in contact with refugees and asylum seekers.
Telling your story is easy and we would encourage you to do so.
How should I tell my story?
You should submit your story by 1st November 2007. The earlier you submit, the more time the Commission has to read your story - so please submit your story as soon as you can before that date.
How do I submit my story?
Your stories should be submitted electronically in Word format using the template laid out below. They should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is possible to submit paper copies if you do not have access to email. These should be addressed as follows: Tell my Story, Independent Asylum Commission, 112 Cavell St, London, E1 2JA.
Please use the template below for paper and electronic copies. You must include a cover note with your name, address, contact number, and organisation (if relevant). If you wish to use a pseudonym to protect your identity, please mark this on the cover note and suggest a pseudonym.
Stories become the property of the Commission, and may be printed or circulated by the Commission at any stage.
What happens to stories I submit?
All submitted stories will be read and acknowledged by the Independent Asylum Commission staff. Stories will then be made available for the consideration of Commissioners and will help shape the Commission’s final report. In some cases the Commission may wish to invite contributors as witnesses for Commission hearings. Some of the stories will be published in the final report.
The Commission is not obliged to follow up every story submitted. The Commission is independent and has no statutory obligation or desire to investigate individual cases or play the role of the Home Office. The Commission’s purpose is to gather evidence and consider recommendations for reform – not to take on individual cases.
Tell your Story
Please tell us your story. There is no word limit, but please set it out clearly, double-spaced and try to be concise where possible. You may wish to include information on the following if it fits with your story:
Someone who is fleeing persecution in their homeland, has arrived in another country, made themselves known to the authorities and exercised the legal right to apply for asylum.
Someone whose asylum application has been successful and who is allowed to stay in another country having proved they would face persecution back home.
REFUSED ASYLUM SEEKER
Someone whose asylum application has been turned down and is awaiting return to their country. If it is not safe for refused asylum seekers to return, they may have to stay for the time being.
Someone who has moved to another country to work.
If you have further queries please contact Chris Hobson at the Independent Asylum Commission, 112 Cavell Street, London E1 2JA; tel. 020 7375 1658, e-mail email@example.com.