Voices of refugees and asylum seekers key to changing hearts and minds

15th October 2020

I was pleased to meet with Gwent residents, Raffi Abbas and Marilyn Gwet, who many years ago found themselves living in Wales as refugees. They now call Gwent their home and hearing their personal journeys was compelling. Marilyn and Raffi shared with me their desire to educate communities on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. I agree that communities need to hear voices such as theirs, to really understand why people and families flee terrifying circumstances such as genocide and war.  


I find it very distressing when some people discriminate against and object to asylum seekers and refugees, as has been evident in recent weeks in Penally, Pembrokeshire. Hateful words and actions can have harmful impacts on others, even more so if they are in a new country. In Gwent, there are many organisations that help and support asylum seekers and refugees. I am pleased that my office is able to fund The Sanctuary project in Newport, which helps young asylum seekers and refugees. It provides advice, mentoring and support sessions and social activities, which are invaluable in making a difference to the lives of young asylum seekers and refugees.  


Desperate individuals and families are exploited by serious organised crime groups. Criminals prey on vulnerable people, putting lives in danger to make financial gain. Ultimately, we need police forces to work together, both at home and internationally, to deal with criminals. When asylum seekers reach our shores, we need to work with partners to tackle public perception to enable individuals and families have a safe place to live.


For more information on The Sanctuary visit: https://www.thegap.wales/sanctuary/

If you or anyone you know has experienced a hate crime, please report it.

Dial 101 (non - emergency) and always dial 999 (in an emergency)

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If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the police you can also report in confidence to Connect Gwent 0300 123 2133 or email connectgwent@gwent.pnn.police.uk