Monday, 26 July 2010

'Local reporting for local people'

A Campaign which started with a Walk of Justice in July 2009 has achieved an important milestone in the campaign to promote justice for vulnerable people seeking sanctuary in our local area.

It is now a year since Tees Valley Citizens for Sanctuary – an alliance of faith, refugee and citizen groups - met with UKBA North East Director, Jeremy Oppenheim to call on him to put an end to people having to walk up to 12 miles to Stockton Police Station in order to comply with UK Border Agency reporting requirements. Following that meeting, travel expenses were provided for those receiving asylum support, and a pledge given that an alternative venue in Middlesbrough would be secured. During the year various venues had been explored but none was forthcoming.

Following a constructive meeting with Katherine Hierons, UKBA Assistant Director for Teesside on Tuesday, an assurance was given that the system for reporting in Middlesbrough aims to be up and running for the week beginning Oct. 4th.
Katherine Hierons also agreed that she would continue to work with Tees Valley Citizens for Sanctuary to resolve this and other issues. During the meeting, issues were raised concerning the process of detention and removal of vulnerable families.

Barbara Hungin, a Leader from Tees Valley Citizens for Sanctuary, said:
We are encouraged by our recent meeting with Katherine Hierons, and delighted that a year's campaigning has had a positive result. We look forward to future meetings so that we may continue to campaign on behalf of some of the most vulnerable in our community.

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