18th June 2003
End Internment Of Asylum Seekers
Sinn Fein Newry & Armagh representative Conor Murphy has called on the NIO to end the detention of Asylum Seekers in Prisons here.
Mr Murphy said:
``Central to the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement is the vindication and protection of the Human Rights of all. This must include the Human Rights of Asylum Seekers.
``The detention of Asylum Seekers in prison, along with convicted criminals, for up to 8 months without charge or trial is nothing less than internment. Republicans know only too well the impact that this has on individuals and families. Internment only serves to increase the uncertainty and hardship that Asylum Seekers face.
``Sinn Fein called on the Assembly to back the recommendations of the Law Centre report `Sanctuary in a Cell' over two years ago. It is a disgrace that despite a political mandate for action - including the ending of the unnecessary detention of Asylum Seekers, the creation of non-custodial alternatives, the designation of the British Home Office under section 75 of the NI Act and full access to free legal advice and welfare and community services that we still have nothing >from the NIO to end this disgrace.
``Racism does not grow by accident or in isolation - neither does sectarianism. We need to commit ourselves to a culture of Human Rights for all. Sinn Fein are not alone in wanting to create a society in Ireland based on tolerance, respect and understanding.
``The British government and the Irish government have adopted an antagonistic approach to this issue. It is the responsibility of us all to give leadership on the issue of Asylum Seekers and racism.
``There is a huge richness to be gained from multi-culturism. With information, education and political leadership, fear and misunderstanding can be replaced with an embracing of the growing diversity in Irish society.''
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