Reflecting on 2023

22 December 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, we have been reflecting on the hostile policy of the last 12 months that have created crisis and catastrophe for people looking for sanctuary and home.

2023 began with commitments from the Prime Minister to “stop the boats”, a phrase that has come to dominate press and media cycles endlessly over the last year. Unfortunately, we end 2023 with attempts from the Home Office to bypass a ruling by the highest court in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to remove people seeking sanctuary to Rwanda. Throughout the year we have seen continuous attempts to force through this Rwanda deportation scheme in blatant defiance of international and domestic law. We have witnessed more deaths in the channel and asylum accommodation, most recently in the widely condemned Bibby Stockholm. Countless avoidable tragedies have been used to justify the increasingly inhumane and degrading treatment of people seeking asylum. 

Meanwhile, the far-right have been emboldened by the use of increasingly inflammatory language from officials and decision-makers. Protests at asylum accommodation centres have taken place across the UK throughout the year. We remember vividly the violence of the far-right outside a hotel in Knowsley that left people seeking asylum living in fear and anxiety. Hostility towards migrants and people seeking safety is on the increase across Europe, and we have seen the impacts of the failure of governments across Europe to provide safe and legal routes to people fleeing war and terror. Deaths at sea and news of thousands of unmarked graves along migration routes through Europe are horrifying reminders of the fatal impacts of hostile border controls. 

In Glasgow, we have seen the announcement of a housing emergency, as thousands of people were threatened with homelessness in a cost-of-living crisis. People continue to live in meagre amounts, scraping pennies for essential goods. We have seen, time and time again evidence of our broken asylum system that seems designed to fail those who need it most. 

We will not stop drawing attention to the injustices and horrors of our asylum system until we have the compassionate and humane approach that is needed. We will continue to fight for adequate and appropriate housing, call out the senseless slow violence of indefinite waiting times and threats of deportation to Rwanda, and tackle misinformation about the experiences of people seeking asylum. We stand for compassion, not cruelty, for safe routes now, for an asylum system that works for those who need it and for international human rights. 

Iona Taylor (Advocacy and Campaigns Lead), and Adam Paterson (Advocacy and Campaigns Officer)

Please indicate your consent to this site’s use of cookies

Some cookies are essential for our site to function. We also use cookies for functionality and for performance measurement.