Sunday, June 15, 2008


I had a rough idea of what we'd be talking about. I knew a number of refugees who'd come to the UK in the past. And I knew something about the UK's current asylum system, from newspapers, from TV and from the radio. In particular I knew that it was neither generous nor efficient. But I'd never met anyone on the receiving end.

Now I have. And nothing has made me this angry in a long time. We bellyache about the abuse of human rights overseas. But there are thousands of people living here, right now, in one of the richest countries in the world, forced to live in poverty. They are denied basic rights and services which the rest of us take for granted. And this is not an accident. This is government policy. And we should be ashamed of it.

Mark Haddon talks to asylum seekers in the UK, in today's Observer

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