On 20 February 2020, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR), Latitude Law and Consonant hosted an event on the process of accessing and applying for asylum for GCC citizens. The event, held at the Work Foundation in Westminster, London, was well attended with strong participation from the audience.
After an introduction from Jawad Fairooz – SALAM DHR’s Chairman – with an announcement of SALAM DHR’s plan to create a booklet on the asylum process in the UK, the event was handed over to the esteemed panel who gave short presentations followed by a Q&A from the audience. The event provided a guide on the asylum process in the UK, with advice about what kind of preparations asylum claimants should make.
Latitude Law’s Gary McIndoe gave a short presentation on the process of asylum in the UK. This included gathering evidence, processing your claim, the appeal hearings themselves and what legal representation you are entitled to and working towards a settlement. McIndoe contextualised this by listing what European conventions the UK has signed and is obliged to follow.
Consonant’s Ayshea Azam gave an overview of what is involved in asylum hearings. She showed an information video from Consonant on the right of appeal, which can be viewed here.
Azhar Iqbal, Immigration and Human Rights Lawyer, gave advice on how soon you should apply for asylum with information about accessing Legal Aid and having the relevant supporting documents for your hearing. This was followed by information about UK detention centres, specifically under what grounds the Home Office can detain people and that you are entitled to legal representation if you are a victim of persecution.
The Q&A followed with a lively discussion of the Bidun community in Kuwait and contributions from the audience about the similar situation faced by the lesser-known Bidun community in Saudi Arabia, who have a limited profile. The audience also asked about the asylum process as it relates to the Bidun and the specific categorisation of their asylum claims in the UK.