Monday, 15 December 2003

Asylum and Refugees

Letter to Ilford Recorder - 15 December 2003

I write, having read with profound sorrow, about the pitiful death of Mr Kandiah Rasamohan, a Sri Lankan seeking refuge here in our community of Redbridge – ‘A sad, cold lonely death’, front page, Ilford Recorder, December 11.

What a sad indictment of our government it is that it has, through its harsh policies, left many asylum seekers and refugees at best to be collectively at the mercy of a national media driven hatred frenzy or, as in the case of Mr Rasamohan, left to crawl away, suffer and die alone under a bush like a wild animal.

We, as one of the most civilised nations on earth, should hang our collective heads in shame at the treatment that we allow to be meted out to some of the most vulnerable people in our midst; fellow human beings who have escaped from hunger, torture and/or war to vainly seek refuge here in Britain.

I often feel helpless to do anything in order to reverse this dreadful situation. However, one of the accompanying articles on page 3 of your newspaper thankfully gave the telephone number, for those wishing to help at the Redbridge Night Shelter over the Christmas period. I contacted Ms Vojinovic on 020 8514 8958 on behalf of my wife and I to offer our services to help out on Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

I do hope that others will also volunteer – as it is not too much to ask to help keep the centre open at this time of good will – and that Kandiah Rasamohan’s death will not merely be just another ‘statistic to remind us of a world that doesn’t care’…

Ashley Gunstock