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How do you think the situation and experience of asylum seekers and refugees could be better understood by the general public?
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A Safe Place

10th June 2004

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A Safe Place - Thierry HenryProfessional footballers challenge us to step inside the minds of young asylum seekers to try to understand their predicament and get rid of our own prejudice.

Footballing heroes such as Thierry Henry, David James and Ashley Cole know the difficulties of adapting to a different culture. They speak up for asylum seekers, asking us to understand the physical brutality refugees have suffered in their own countries and pointing out that we can learn from people of different cultures.

It’s so easy to accept the negative press coverage of asylum seekers and take it at face value. This film challenges us to imagine what it's like being Said or Suhura and to understand that they’re ordinary people, like us, looking for a safe place to live.

“They don’t come here to mess up things or to be bad. They come here for help", says footballer Lomana Lua Lua.

We'll hear from Said who left Tanzania when he was 12 years old. Now, aged 18, he's moving out of the London children’s home where he's staying and is fending for himself. He knows he can’t get ahead without qualifications and wants to study finance and business at college.

“Most of the time, I face a lot of things I can’t talk about”, Said says in an unguarded moment, “there's no-one there for me to speak to. That's what people don't understand.” Yet, he doesn’t feel an attachment to his own country, because he’s spent all his teenage life in England.

Suhura, a tall elegant Somali teenager, fled from the civil war which has ruined her country and claimed the lives of both her parents. She's learning English and wants to train to be a doctor. When it’s safe, Suhura hopes to return to help rebuild the country she still belongs to.

Asylum seekers have been crudely stereotyped by the British media. According to the Refugee Council, the facts give a different picture. They show that 72% of the 12 million refugees find a safe haven in neighbouring developing countries rather than in Britain.

Britain is ranked 8th in Europe and 32nd in the world in asylum applications relative to the population. And most asylum seekers are genuinely fleeing from war zones to find a safe place to live, rather than primarily seeking a better economic future.

'A Safe Place' was made by Show Racism the RED Card, an organisation dedicated to combatting racism against asylum seekers, and supported by Amnesty International and the Refugee Council.


The Refugee Council
Offers help and support to asylum-seekers and refugees newly arrived to the UK and works to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed.
Amnesty International
A worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognised human rights.
Show Racism the Red Card
Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racist charity established in 1996. The aim of their organisation is to combat racism through anti-racist education. The campaign has been able to involve hundreds of top footballers and managers such as Thierry Henry, Gary Lineker and Sir Bobby Robson and has used the high profile of these role models to combat racism.

The organisation produces a number of educational resources including: videos, CD-ROMs, education packs, posters and magazines.

Follow the links to view similar stories:
Race/Ethnicity/Refugees, Sport/Fitness/Lifestyle

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