Vianney and his family claimed asylum in early 2013 from Sierra Leone

Myths vs Reality: Refugees and Asylum Seekers in UK

Written by: Sophie Taylor

The vast majority of people who seek asylum in the UK have fled countries ravaged by war and human rights abuses. In 2015, the largest number of asylum applications to the UK came from nationals of Eritrea (3,729), Iran (3,248), Sudan (2,918) and Syria (2,609).

According to the UN Refugee Convention, the definition of a refugee is someone who, ’owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of [their] nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail [themself] of the protection of that country’ (Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees). 

North Four, North London magazine, Clara, Refugee, asylum, article, myth vs reality

Clara fled threat in West Africa after speaking out about customs abusing human rights.

An asylum seeker, however, is someone who has arrived in a country and asked for asylum. Until you receive a decision as to whether or not you are a refugee, you are known as an asylum seeker. In the UK, this means asylum seekers do not have the same rights as a refugee or a British citizen would. You aren’t allowed to work as an asylum seeker, for example.

Here are some facts and figures from Refugee Action to quote the next time you hear some of the more biased ‘facts’ about asylum.

Myth #1 There are a huge percentage of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK

Reality At the end of 2014, refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons made up just 0.24% of the UK population.

North Four, North London magazine, Refugee, asylum, article, myth vs reality

Originally from Ethiopia, Abebe fled to Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp aged sixteen.

Myth #2 There are more refugees and asylum seekers than ever before.

Reality Asylum applications to the UK are relatively low at 32,414 in 2015. Although the numbers have increased a little in recent years, it’s still significantly lower today than at the peak of 84,000 applications back in 2002.

Myth #3 The UK are already helping the most.

Reality 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees), the country hosting the most refugees in June 2015 was Turkey; then home to 1.6 million refugees. Since then, that number has vastly increased with 2.7 million refugees from Syria alone finding shelter in Turkey’s borders.

North Four, North London magazine, Refugee, asylum, article, myth vs reality

Jana, Ahmed and baby Amir from Syria who have received support from Refugee Action

Myth #4 UK have taken more Syrian refugees than other countries.

Reality: As of September 2016, there are over 4.8 million refugees from the conflict in Syria. Around 2.7 million of these refugees are currently being hosted by just two countries; Turkey and Lebanon. As well as providing aid to the refugee camps on Syria’s borders, the UK has pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrians. As of September 2016, 2,860 Syrian refugees have come to the UK through this scheme.

In the EU last year, Germany received the largest number of asylum applications (431,00). Sweden and Hungary were joint second (163,000). Between them, these three countries received 62% of all of the asylum applications in Europe. In comparison, the UK was 9th in Europe for the number of asylum applications it received last year. If someone tells you this is because the UK is a smaller country, the UK was 17th (out of 28 EU countries) for asylum applications per head of the population.

North Four, North London magazine, Refugee, asylum, article, myth vs reality

Seble, now 28, left Eritrea when she was 17 due to religious persecution

Myth #5 Asylum seekers are stealing jobs, living on benefits and given huge houses (all at the same time, somehow).

Reality Asylum seekers are not allowed to claim benefits or work in the UK.  If they are destitute and have no other means of supporting themselves, they can apply to receive asylum support. This is set at around £5.28 per day.

When a person is given refugee status, they have just 28 days to find accommodation and apply for mainstream benefits before they are evicted from asylum accommodation. Many refugees become homeless at this stage.

Learn more, see how you can help and read refugee stories at Refugee Action

Photos, facts and figures courtesy of Refugee Action, Refugee Council and the UN Refugee Convention. 

North Four, North London magazine, eroc, skateboarding, skater dog, french bulldog, frenchie, skateboard, halfpipe, interview, internet sensation, instagram star, tony hawk, fanbase
Lifestyle

Who is Behind Eroc the Skateboarding Dog?

Our exclusive meeting with Eroc: the Beyonce of the skateboarding dog world. Eroc the french bulldog is making waves. With fans like Tony Hawk, BBC Radio and over 30k followers on Instagram (and counting), Eroc has also become something of an online sensation. His viral status comes and goes, randomly popping up on online social media channels every now and again to generate hundreds of thousands of views and clicks via the likes of Buzzfeed, Time Out and rogue iPhone filmers.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, protest, opinion piece, lifestyle, trump, women's march, brexit, riots, uprising, human rights, march, rally
Lifestyle

Protest is Dead! Long Live Protest!

We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!” These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object. It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, trio da kali, musicians, live music, gig, stoke newington, the old church, tickets, events
Culture

Contemporary Malian Sounds in Stokey

This Friday sees the release of Malian master musicians, Trio Da Kali’s new album Ladilikan. Fusing rich, expressive vocals with traditional instruments like the balafon and bass ngoni, this is a beautiful mix of ancient Mande culture and contemporary Malian sounds. Luckily for us North Londoners, we have the opportunity to see the trio play live in the rather fitting ethereal surrounds of Stoke Newington Church next month. 

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, sylvanian familes, store, monsell road, finsbury park, toys, toyshop, collectibles, rare, dolls
Lifestyle

On your Doorstep: Inside Sylvanian World

Walking along Monsell Road in Finsbury Park, we spy the charming exterior of a shop looking like something out of a children’s book circa 1932. Beneath a green and white striped awning, a whimsical new world of mini animals awaits. Once inside we stumble about the store in hushed awe, reaching over a book of minuscule carpet samples/ family of miniature otters to tap a tiny bell.

Read More...
North Four, north London magazine, outdoor cinema, pizza, sodo pizzeria, snug, events, refreshments, foodie, picnic
Events

Kids and Big Kids: Pizza, Curry and Open Air Cinema

Whether you’re looking for something to entertain your kids, your friends’ kids or that particularly large man child in your life, you might just have lucked out. Snug are hosting an open air screening of The Incredibles next Saturday evening. There will be tasty sourdough pizzas from Sodo Pizza (Upper Clapton) and ultimate authentic curries from Rice n Spice, Northwold Road.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, vegetarian restaurant, ceremony, veggie, cuisine, risotto, dish
Eat & Drink

Ceremony: A New Take On Veggie Cuisine

Coming soon to a Tufnell Park near you is a whole new vegetable patch of delights / wheat field to run vicariously through. It’s time to get excited for Ceremony: a brand new bar/restaurant serving modern British veggie cuisine. Although the website remains tantalisingly mysterious, you can glean more info from their well stocked insta.

Read More...
Spring Kind, Pit Party, North Four Magazine, Music, North London, London
Culture Eat & Drink Events List

Top 4 Weird Things to do This September

Sound baths, pit parties, fake cheese and nipples, these are a few of our favourite things, said no one ever. Bored of drinking down the pub every evening? Unlikely, but bare with me. Sometimes you just want to let down your hair, shake it off and do something down right odd of an evening... followed by a pint at the pub.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, texlationship, online dating, illustration, iphones, texting, tinder, julia potocnik
Lifestyle

Dating North London: IRL vs Textlationship

It’s been a few months since the last instalment of Online vs Offline. I deleted Bumble, Happn and Tinder, flirted with the idea of match.com, went to a friend’s wedding, heard the vicar call my name instead of the Bride’s and reflected briefly on the crushing inevitability of my own spinsterhood before realising everyone was laughing in the pews and I should probably join them.

Read More...
north four magazine, north london, stroud green, cheese
Eat & Drink Events

Stroud Green Market Opens This Sunday!

Gluten-free cake consumers, vegan cheese enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of pies and drinkers of tea; your time is now. Buy food of a quality & variety you can’t easily find in the shops, from organic meat to vegan cheese, fish caught that morning to pickles which have been fermenting for months, at Stroud Green market.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, the finsbury, finsbury park, n4, music venue, gigs, folk
Events

Free Cake and Gin Soaked Folk Pop

Who’s up for free entry, free cake and free folk (except for a jaunty little hat that is passed around for donations)? Get down to The Finsbury this Wednesday eve for a little mid week hootenanny and celebrate some of the best in new live music from the ‘acoustic, singer-songwriter & indie-folk scene’. Host with the most, Zoe Konez (“Ridiculously talented, Konez handles her guitar like she was born with it” - For Folk's Sake) will be deftly introducing each act from gin soaked folk popster herself, Penniless Cove to German indie band, Kalon.

Read More...
Lifestyle

Lamps, Records, Frenchies: The Big London Flea

What if you could mix the joys of your local Sunday car boot and all it’s dog perving potential with your favourite vintage clothes shops and high end antique markets? Within the sparkling depths of Dalson’s former ABC cinema, you’ll find The Big London Flea: London’s largest indoor vintage market.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, oslo, hackney, restaurant, brunch, menu, interior, review, food, drink, venue
Eat & Drink

The Great Big Nordic Brunch Off

Well, last Saturday morning gym memberships gave way to lie-ins and sleep finally bowed down to some serious carb cravings. Finding ourselves at Oslo later that morning, it was a case of hangover meets diet, salmon vs chorizo. If you’re not feeling too peckish, Oslo isn’t the place for you.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, art exhibition, painting, photography, smoke, stoke newington, salon, private view
Culture

Art, Cocktails and Mysticism in a Hair Salon

Joni Belaruski’s following has accompanied the artist from her Northern Irish roots and drummer beginnings with punk folk favourites, The Great Malarkey, to a plethora of London gallery shows. This September sees the painter join photographer Karla da Silva at The Beaucatcher Salon with new show, Jupiter Waiting For The Moon. Belaruski's paintings are at times dark and playful, while da Silva’s dreamy imagery is other worldly, creating both mystical landscapes and colourful smoke-filled portraiture.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, andy warhol, factory, studio, artist, pop art, photography, film, screening, screen test, sixties
Events

Andy Warhol Comes to Dalston

Get your glad rags on darlings. It’s time for a happening in Dalston. Farrs School of Dancing are recreating Andy Warhol’s Factory next Sunday with live performances, music, films and.. well, not quite silk screening but some good old school colouring-in to get stuck into. This is your chance to finally wear that suede fringe bolero and feather boa combo you gleamed from Crisis last October. The best dressed will receive their fifteen minutes of fame, in true Warholian screen test style.

Read More...
Eat & Drink

Pet Nat Party All Night Long at Yield

Until five minutes ago I would’ve believed Pet Nat was a holistic dog food brand / veterinary business in Wood Green. I’m half right actually*, but in the boozios world it’s a fizzy wine. Pétillant Naturel is light and fizzy, usually pretty low on the alcohol scale and rather sweet. Think the opposite of a dry red wine.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, beyond the binary, bonnie and the bonettes, camden peoples theatre, gender stereotypes, come as you are festival, theatre, live art
Culture Lifestyle

Beyond The Binary: Gender Specific Expressions That Need to Do One

As part of our Beyond The Binary series we asked stars of the upcoming Come As You Are Festival which gender specific expressions that really grind their gears. We started with Man Up! whose first answer came from the title of their show.

Read More...