We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee, established in 1999 by concerned local people who realised that numbers of asylum seekers and refugees were arriving in Suffolk, particularly in the Ipswich area, and that there was a need for advice, advocacy and practical support. We have developed our services over the years in response to the needs of our clients (see What We Do page for more details). We are an independent charity whose purpose is to ensure that all asylum seekers and refugees in Suffolk are enabled to live integrated, fulfilled and contributing lives in their new communities.
Who are Refugees and Asylum Seekers?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war and persecution. Their own government is unwilling or unable to protect them and they are unable to return home until conditions are safe for them again.
The 1951 Refugee Convention defined a refugee as someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
In the UK a person granted refugee status is normally given five years leave and then they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
An asylum seeker is someone in the process of claiming protection in another country. Once an asylum claim is recognised by a host country then they can live in their host country as a refugee.
Everyone has the right to seek asylum – it is recognised as a universal human right.
Asylum seekers are not required to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.
There are no safe, legal routes for people to reach the UK for the purposes of claiming asylum.