Places of Death — Constructing Asylum-Seekers’ and Refugees’ Countries of Origin
Becoming a refugee means leaving one’s home and being an international refugee means leaving one’s country of origin behind, which is true of asylum-seekers in the UK. The literature on asylum-seeking and refugees suggests that there are a number of reasons that cause refugees to leave their countries of origin. According to Neumayer (2005), oppression, violence and human rights abuses are among the main reasons for refugees fleeing their homes. The countries from which most refugees in the UK come do indeed have poor records on human rights and tend to have ongoing conflict, including Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2011). While it will be shown (in chapters 4 and 5) that asylum-seekers’ reasons for coming to the UK can be challenged, the accounts of asylum-seekers themselves suggest that they are fleeing extremely harsh and difficult situations. For example, Crawley argues that ‘conflict is the single most significant factor associated with most flows of asylum-seekers to the countries of Europe’ (2010, p. 20), a claim that is backed up with an example from an Iraqi refugee experiencing conflict:
I am not Muslim, I am a Sabian Mandaean. You either have to leave Iraq or change your religion. I went with my parents to stay with a Christian friend but this was not safe.
KeywordsSexual Violence Bright Side United Nations High Commissioner Iraqi Refugee Dangerous Place
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© Steve Kirkwood, Simon Goodman, Chris McVittie and Andy McKinlay 2016