Wed 26 Aug, 2020

Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Alison Johnstone MSP this afternoon called on the First Minister to act to ensure that the tragic death of an asylum seeker in Glasgow is never repeated. 

Mercy Baguma was found dead on Saturday beside her malnourished baby in a Glasgow flat. Speaking at First Minister’s Questions this afternoon Ms Johnstone said that while the asylum system is the responsibility of the UK Government, MSPs could not simply stand by while mothers and babies went hungry. 

Alison Johnstone MSP said: 

“This appalling tragedy occurred as a direct result of UK Government asylum policy which forced Mercy into extreme poverty. We cannot allow mothers and babies to go hungry in 21st century Scotland. I know that the Home Office is responsible, and the Home Secretary must answer for this entirely preventable death. But we cannot simply stand by, this is on all of us. The First Minister must act to ensure that this tragedy isn’t repeated. 

“In response to this tragedy the Home Office has said that it takes the wellbeing of all those in the asylum system “extremely seriously.” Anyone who sees the cruel way asylum seekers are treated knows that statement just isn’t credible. This is the third death of an asylum seeker in Scotland in recent months. 

“Positive Action in Housing has called for an inquiry into the housing of asylum seekers during the pandemic given the serious concerns that have been raised. 

“Further examination of the deaths and suffering caused by the UK’s hostile environment is clearly required, so it’s vital that an independent inquiry is established urgently to shine a light on the impact of this cruel and inhumane policy. 

“Scottish Greens Glasgow City Councillor Kim Long is currently leading a campaign for asylum seeker accommodation to be taken out of private hands and managed at the local level by the council with support from the third sector to ensure it meets all the needs of those in the asylum system.” 

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