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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Conference concern over immigration survey
Romanian gypsy refugees in the UK
Antipathy to immigrants is revealed in rural Wales
Race workers in Wales have expressed concern at a survey which shows many people in rural areas believe immigrants should be forced back to their own countries.

The findings of a survey on racism - published to coincide with Refugee Week in the UK - were released on Monday at a conference in Cardiff on immigration issues.

The results, released at the conference organised by the Wales Refugee Council, will make disturbing reading for those concerned about the potential problems of immigrants settling in Britain.


People in rural Wales are not really used to having asylum seekers and maybe they do not really know what these people have gone through

Lawyer, Lisa Hassan Scott

Researchers from the Migration Unit at the University of Wales, Swansea, questioned 150 people in Powys on behalf of the charity Victim Support.

The survey was commissioned in the wake of concern by race campaigners about the particular sense of isolation felt by immigrants in rural areas - and about the extent of racially-motivated attacks throughout rural Wales.

Results obtained revealed that one in five of those surveyed thought that all immigrants - and children they had while in the UK - should be sent back to their countries of origin.

A further 36% thought there were too many ethnic minority people living in the UK.

Despite the answers given, 75% of those questioned in the survey claimed they were not racist.

'Hypocrisy'

And more than half thought there was less prejudice in Powys than in other parts of the UK.

The survey was carried out by a team headed by Swansea University's Dr Vaughan Robinson, director of the Migration Unit.

He said the fact that so many of those questioned did not see themselves as racist showed "a degree of hypocrisy" surrounding the issue.

Following recent racism-linked events in Oldham and Lancashire, the survey results have concerned many involved with immigration issues.

'More understanding'

Lisa Hassan Scott, a lawyer who represents refugees in Cardiff said: "I think people in rural Wales are not really used to having asylum seekers and maybe they do not really know what these people have gone through.

"We often find that when a person who previously had racist feelings actually meets the person, actually puts a human face to the experience they become more understanding

"So I hope that does happen when more asylum seekers come here."

Meanwhile a new charity, Displaced People in Action, has won nearly a 250,000 from the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to provide activities for those seeking asylum in Wales.

Persecution

On Sunday the charity took a group of families for a day out at Worms Head, on the Gower, south Wales.

Around 3,000 went on hiring coaches and providing a day of entertainment for the families all of whom - charity workers claim - are fleeing from persecution in places like Afghanistan.

Leona Evans, who is originally a Czech refugee, organised the day at the seaside.

She said: "It brings them enormous pleasure because most people don't have the money to do anything on their own.

"It breaks down the boredom of just waiting around day after day for their decisions to come through."

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See also:

21 Jun 01 | Scotland
Homeless fears for refugees
19 Jun 01 | Background
50 years of refugees
23 Jun 01 | UK
Events celebrate refugees
22 Jun 01 | Africa
Stricken refugee ship 'saved'
13 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Plight of refugees to be debated
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