Looking At Edinburgh

12 June 2008

Baking for Asylum: save Jojo

Saturday 14th June 2008: 2-5pm, Artisan Roast, 57 Broughton Street:

Have you ever been on holiday and had your travellers cheques pinched? And your credit card? And your wallet with all your cash and ID? Or have you ever worried about what you would do if that happened – stuck in a strange country with no money and no way to prove your identity?

That’s the situation Jojo Yakob is in right now – only worse. It’s no holiday that brings him here: he arrived in the UK, an escaped prisoner hidden in a lorry. Yakob, a member of Syria’s Kurdish minority, was imprisoned for distributing anti-government leaflets. When the prison guards discovered he was gay, he was tortured and beaten: he spent nearly three weeks in a coma in hospital. Escaping from the hospital, he made his way to the UK, only to be arrested in Aberdeen for possession of a fake Belgian passport.

Released on bail, he still waits for determination of his status as an asylum seeker.

Church Poverty Action Group says, of their Living Ghosts campaign, “People seeking asylum in the UK who have had their application refused (often through unfair and incompetent processes) sometimes cannot be deported because it is not possible or safe to do so. Government policy is to use a carrot and stick approach of making rejected asylum seekers destitute whilst offering very basic support if applicants say they will ‘voluntarily’ return to the place they fled.” That’s exactly the situation Jojo is in – and so many other people like him.

This Saturday, Artisan Roast at 57 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, is hosting a bake sale to raise cash for Jojo Yakob. You can come along any time between 2 and 5, buy a cake, give some bread, and, if you’re interested find out more about the new Positive Action Housing campaign is working to change the system that leaves failed asylum seekers destitute in a strange country.

Half the money raised will go to an account for Jojo Yakob: the other half to Edinburgh-based charity Refugee Survival Trust. Jojo said: “I don’t like to take money like this from people – there are so many worse off than me. When I’m legal, when I can get a job and earn money, then I’ll buy clothes.”

Maddi Marshall, who Jojo is staying with as a guest while he waits for the Home Office decision, says “Jojo’s a very independent young man, full of integrity: he doesn’t like hand-outs. But we want to let the Home Office know that he can’t be deported now, he’s got friends in Edinburgh, that we all want him to stay here.”

(If you want to bring baked goods to the sale, thank you! It will help if you e-mail bakesale@gmail.com to let us know what you plan to bring and when.)

I’m making and bringing rye bread and cupcakes…

1 Comment »

  1. […] Today at 2pm till 5pm – Baking for Asylum in Artisan Roast on Broughton […]

    Pingback by The King’s Wark on the Shore « Looking At Edinburgh — 14 June 2008 @ 8:10 am

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