Pinar Aksu testifies before the PACE Committee on Migration

Pinar Asku, born in Turkey, sekeed asylum in the UK with the rest of her family when she was 8 years old. She testifed before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Migration, Refugees & Displaced Persons about her experience as an asylum seeker. 

She described many barriers that asylum seekers face on a daily basis, from allowances to work to education. In 2001, they got moved from London to Scotland as part of a dispersal programme. Later on, they were detained. She said “The UK Home Office started detaining a lot of families – including mine. My parents, my 2 siblings and I were detained for over 2 months in an immigration removal centre called Dungavel in rural Scotland and then in Yarlswood in England. I describe Yarlswood and Dungavel as a prison – I don’t see any difference between a detention centre and a prison.” She learned that the programme she was involved in was among those which experts called ‘alternative to detention’ – allowing for people to live in the community while they wait for their migration status to be clarified.

According to her,”Alternatives to detention – were children can live in house with their family,…, costs less, allows them to get support and it is more humane. We must ensure that alternatives to detention are exactly this, and not alternative forms of detention.”

To Read the Testimony