Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

Open your eyes to destitution in Scotland debate

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said "in this day and age, in our country, we have people living in destitution" on 22 November 2012.

Ms Fabiani commended the campaign, Open your Eyes to Destitution in Scotland, by the http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk Scottish Refugee Council and the Refugee Survival Trust . It argues that current UK laws can force asylum seekers, many of whom have fled war and torture in their own countries, to beg or leave them with no home, money or food.

It recognises calls for an improved decision-making process in dealing with asylum claims, for proper support for asylum seekers waiting to be granted protection or returned home safely and for those asylum seekers who have been in the UK for more than six months to have the right to work, and welcomes support for the campaign.

Ms Fabiani said if you are facing going back to a country where you believe you will be killed, tortured, homeless of starving, "what would be the incentive to leave"?

She also said that "having the right policy with dealing with asylum seekers is not only the right thing to do" but pays dividends as well.

External Affairs and International Relations Minister Humza Yousaf said that it had been "a sobering debate" and was "appalled that in this day and age" people were still facing destitution.

Mr Yousaf said "The Scottish government has always been clear that asylum seekers should be welcomed, supported and integrated" in to our communities.

He said that "time and time again this Scottish government, and previous Scottish governments, have hit their heads off the preverbal brick wall" dealing with the UK government and UKBA about asylum seekers.

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