Our Mission

At GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) we offer support to those seeking asylum in Gloucestershire, welcoming them when they arrive, advocating for them in their daily struggles, supporting them if they face being sent back as well as helping them adjust to their long term future if they are recognised as refugees.

Contact Information

Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS)
The Trust Centre
Falkner St

Telephone: 01452 550528
General enquiries: info@garas.org.uk
Administrative enquiries: admin@garas.org.uk

Adele Owen

Where is the scariest place in the UK?

August 24, 2015

On a fortnightly basis many asylum seekers and others monitored for immigration purposes have to present to Immigration Officers to sign to show their compliance with their requirements under their claim.

For some this will involve going to an Immigration centre and for others a visit to a local police station is required and the Immigration Officers will be present to witness the signatures.

This is scary and takes emotional and physical resources to comply. Because you just never know. You just don’t know if today will be the day they pick you up to start removal proceedings. Today may be the day day they take you from your house and community and put you in a detention centre while they decide what happens next.

Today you may just be humiliated by someone with all the power and a row of witnesses all feeling vulnerable. This is not some kind of punishment for criminals just a form of humiliation for those who have requested a basic human right, the right to be safe.

This is not a short term fear but a fear that can be enacted many times over while waiting court cases and decision makers. And don’t make the mistake of missing your signing because it will come back to affect you in the future.

I have witnessed this fear, it is palpable, even the local police will avoid the signing session held at the police station as they find it uncomfortable.

Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX)

September 6, 2013

Thanks to John O for sending this round:

Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX)

[In a Meeting at Porcullis House, Westminster, London, on Wednesday 4th September 2013, The theme ‘creation of a strong coalition to campaign on the issue of immigration and to change the tone of the public debate on xenophobia’. Those *attending agreed the following statement.]

It is with alarm that we are witnessing the development of increasing hostility, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance towards immigrants.

We are gravely concerned at the tone of public discussion about immigration in the press and from politicians, which is contributing to a climate of hostility and fear. Government, Opposition and other mainstream political parties are directly participating in a race to the bottom in this regard.

Migrants make a substantial contribution to the economy, enrich Britain’s culture and improve the standard of its public services. The multicultural and prosperous Britain that exists today has been created through generations of immigration and acceptance of refugees which is not recognised in the mainstream public discourse about immigration and asylum.

We believe austerity measures and public sector cuts are producing real tensions among communities living in deprived neighbourhoods. Those denied access to benefits and services are pushed to the margins of society and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

British nationals, long-term residents and their families with spouses or civil partners and relatives from non-EU countries are subject to draconian and discriminatory immigration controls that wreck family life. These measures are splitting up ordinary families through the lack of an arbitrary level of income.

We reject as unacceptable the scapegoating of immigrants that sections of the media and politicians of all mainstream parties participate in. We reject moves to oblige workers and landlords to inform on people’s immigration status, measures which will engender an atmosphere of mistrust and threaten social cohesion.

In this context of growing racism, the threat of racist violence has increased against all migrant communities in Britain – with the number of race hate crimes in London and other places rising markedly.

– We call for an end to attempts by political parties, their leaders and the media to exploit racism and xenophobia for their own vested interests.

– We call upon the Government to reject the ‘numbers game’ politics of immigration and to pursue an immigration system built on human rights and the economic needs of the UK.

– We call for the media to show responsibility and to put an end to the publication of sensational and unfounded stories which incite racial hatred and hatred towards migrants and refugees.

– We will defend the right of refugees to seek asylum in the UK under the 1951 Geneva Convention. We insist that while seeking asylum, people should be treated with respect and afforded fundamental liberties.

– We call for an amnesty for irregular migrants in the UK, allowing them to work and pay taxes, thus contributing fully to society.

– We pledge to resist any attacks on human rights. Any such attack on the European Convention on Human Rights or domestic legislation would be primarily aimed at immigrants and then used against ordinary British people.

– We pledge to speak out against racism and xenophobia and to defend migrant communities and refugees.

We want to live in a civilised society where people, irrespective of background, are valued and treated with respect. We are migrants, descendants of migrants and ‘indigenous’ British people. We stand together for a diverse and inclusive society. We believe we can live together with dignity and peace, learning from each other’s differences and contributing to a better place for us and future generations to live in.

Join with us in rejecting this move towards intolerance, and join the fight for a more inclusive UK.

The next meeting of MAX will be held in three weeks time on Wednesday 25th September

The meeting will be open to Community/Faith groups /Migrant Friendly NGOS/ Trade Union branches

If you wish to attend or need more information Contact:

Guy Taylor
Campaigns & Communications
JCWI, 115 Old Street, London EC1V 9RT

Initial MAX launch Meeting at Porcullis House, Westminster, London, 4th September 2013

*Present at the meeting were:
Lee Jasper, SLIM
Saira Grant, JCWI
Nazek Ramadan, Migrant Voice
Ruth Grove-White, MRN
Season Butler, Counterfire
Lindsey German, STW / People’s Assembly
Jack Tan, JUST West Yorkshire
Pauline Walcott, Strickly Roots
Hilary Brown, Society of Black Lawyers
Joseph Choonara, SWP
Steve Green, BritCits
Sonel Mehta, BritCits
Mohammed Khaled Noor, Muslim Professionals Forum
Dave Weaver, 1990s Trust
Peter Herbert, Society of Black lawyers
Habib Rahman, JCWI
Guy Taylor, JCWI (chaired the meeting)

Minister for Immigration on the Radio

August 22, 2013

On Friday 23rd August, the Minister for Immigration Mark Harper MP will be answering questions on BBC Radio Gloucestershire between 10:30 and 11:30am. Listen out for what could be some interesting question and answers. Remember that Mark is also the MP for the Forest of Dean. So remember that if you are one of his constituents, whenever you write to him you are writing to the Immigration Minister directly.

We occasionally run campaigns. If you are interested in being added to our campaigns list, please contact info@garas.org.uk .

BBC Radio Gloucestershire can be heard in the county on the following frequencies:

104.7 FM
1413 MW
95 FM in Stroud
95.8 FM in Cirencester