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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Asylum seekers diverted from city
Kalan Kawa Karim
Kalan Kawa Karim died in September
Asylum seekers are being diverted away from Swansea in a bid to reassure local communities after the recent alleged murder of an Iraqi Kurd.

The Home Office had been due to send asylum seekers to the city, but was put off by police and local organisations.

Kalan Kawa Karim, aged 29, died after an alleged attack in the city centre last month.

There are currently about 600 asylum seekers in Swansea.

But when the Home Office wanted to send large additional numbers to Swansea from other parts of the UK last week, the Swansea Bay Race Equality Council (REC) and the police advised against it.

We feel we don't have the amount of resources available to have additional numbers of asylum seekers at this moment in time
Taha Idris, Swansea Race Equality Council

Police said that, since the death of Kalan Karim, there has been concern in minority communities and they needed to adopt a cautious approach on race issues.

"Swansea became the focus of intense media attention during the time of the alleged murder and in the weeks following," said Acting Chief Superintendent Cliff Filer.

"It is for this reason that police and the Swansea Bay Race Equality Council (REC)want to ensure that the existing minority ethnic communities here are comfortable and confident before we welcome additional asylum seekers to the county."

Swansea marina
Swansea's population is about 225,000
Taha Idris, the director of Swansea REC, said extra numbers would not currently get the support they need.

"We need to make sure we have the capacity and the support mechanisms available to welcome those asylum seekers," he said.

"We feel we don't have the amount of resources available to have additional numbers of asylum seekers being brought into this area at this moment in time."

'Working hard'

Mr Filer added that all the agencies involved in the dispersal of asylum seekers had "agreed on the most appropriate way to manage the dispersal of asylum seekers into Swansea over the coming weeks".

"This is with the aim of ensuring that there is minimal impact to the residents of Swansea and that the asylum seekers are provided with the most appropriate levels of support."

He added the force was "working hard to reassure and support minority ethnic communities".

The Home Office said the National Asylum Support Service worked in close cooperation with police and other local agencies "to ensure that the dispersal of asylum seekers is carefully monitored and managed in the interests of community cohesion".

"Dispersal is designed to be flexible and responsive to local conditions and is kept under constant review," said a Home Office spokesman.

"Following advice from South Wales Police and other agencies a decision has been taken to suspend this dispersal to Swansea for the time being. The situation will be monitored and this decision kept under review."

Earlier this month, about 1,000 protesters took part in a march against racism in Swansea.

It came weeks after Kalan Kawa Karim was attacked outside a city centre pub in the early hours of 6 September.

A 26-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Mr Karim.




SEE ALSO:
City marches against racism
09 Oct 04  |  Wales
Refugee's body flown to Iraq
06 Oct 04  |  South West Wales
Refugee murder: youth released
16 Sep 04  |  South West Wales
Man charged with refugee's murder
14 Sep 04  |  South West Wales


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