His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
London SW1A 1BA
Your Royal Highness,
We are writing from Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG) to ask for your support. As Refugees and Asylum Seekers we have come to the UK seeking protection from conflict and persecution, but we also face many hardships here.
Throughout the Asylum process, many of us have faced a lack of belief from the British authorities in the Home Office and UK Border Agency. After the traumas we have suffered in our home countries, this disbelief is distressing and hard to take. When we came here, we believed that the UK was somewhere where human rights and dignity were respected.
Thousands of Asylum Seekers each year are indefinitely locked up in detention centres around the UK. Research from organisations like Women for Refugee Women has found that detention is a traumatic experience – particularly for vulnerable women who have suffered rape, torture, or other forms of gender-based violence. It is also an expensive and inefficient system; many of those who are detained end up being released to continue their Asylum claims in the community, so their detention serves no purpose whatsoever.
We are also concerned about the number of Asylum Seekers facing destitution. We know people within our community who are homeless, who have to depend on charities, friends and faith groups for food, clothing and even shelter. We are also faced with Mental Health difficulties due to stress and uncertainty. Many of us have been in the Asylum system, waiting for an outcome on our cases, for many years. We want to work, to contribute to society, and support ourselves, but the rules preventing Asylum Seekers from working make this impossible. If we were granted the right to work, we could begin to rebuild our lives and regain our independence.
As our Prince, we ask if you would please speak out publicly on our behalf. We would like to see an asylum process where refugees’ rights are respected and our dignity is upheld; where those who seek protection are not locked up; and where asylum seekers have the right to work and support ourselves, rather than being forced to depend upon the British state and the generosity of society.
With warmest regards,