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Waiting

Over the last few years, I have met more and more asylum-seekers who are suffering an interminable waiting period for the Home Office to decide their fate: whether they will be allowed 'leave to remain' or face being sent back to countries from which they have fled as a result of torture and persecution. The endless waiting for a decision - which, in my experience, can be more than three years in many cases - is a kind of torture in itself. It is not unusual for carefully-prepared case histories to disappear - lost by lawyers or government officials - so that the whole process has to begin again.

In the meantime, the people I have met are desperate to get on with their lives, to get a job, to make a contribution to the new society in which they find themselves. They are not 'spongers' who want to sit around in their rooms all day on tax-payers' money. And, if you have ever seen the kind of miserable housing allocated to asylum-seekers, you will appreciate the truth of this more than most.

This story called 'Weekend' by Stephanie, an asylum-seeker from Cameroon, captures perfectly the nightmare of waiting, the interminable cycle of fear, that is seeking asylum. If we ever needed more motivation to call upon our government to review the asylum process - to make it faster, more efficient, more humane - then this story surely provides that.
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