We are aware of reports of refugees and asylum seekers who have been placed in a hotel in North Somerset being denied boarding on Stagecoach buses. A number of people and agencies have been in touch with SARI to ask for our help. These buses are vital for people in the hotels to access services and attend appointments and are often the only way for people to get to Bristol and other areas where key services are. We are working with people involved, including the local council, transport services and Avon and Somerset Police, and are looking into the situation.
Unfortunately, despite so many of our citizens doing all they can to welcome and support newly arriving refugees, some people seeking sanctuary are subjected to hate incidents and hate crimes. But it should not be something that they come to expect. We work with individuals and local refugee partners to support people when they experience hate crime, alongside carrying out preventative work in the community.
It is often a difficult environment for those seeking sanctuary here given the economic crisis and lack of funding, complicated policies and constraints in health and wellbeing services. Media coverage and political rhetoric too often creates scapegoats out of people for the very human act of searching for safety; in doing so, increasing the likelihood of hate crimes and discrimination against refugees and asylum seekers.
We encourage anyone in our local community who has experienced hate crime because of their immigration status to contact us. We are here to support you.