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'Duty' to give asylum.

Byline: Natalie Walker

SCOTS are opening their arms to asylum seekers, a new study has found.

Around 65 per cent believe the country has a duty to look after the 100,000 people currently sheltering from persecution here.

In addition, 82 per cent think refugees have the right to work and 60 per cent think it is wrong that children are detained in secure units while their family's application is considered.

Judith Robertson, of Oxfam Scotland, said: 'This is a welcome affirmation that Scots still see their country as one which should offer sanctuary for people escaping from humans rights abuses or conflict.'

Ian Duncan, of the Scottish Refugee Council, added: 'This poll confirms Scotland's reputation for tolerance.' He also said many asylum seekers were skilled professionals, adding: 'They are eager to work and contribute to our society.'

But they can not legally work until their application for asylum is granted - which can take five years.

Annie Kanyendo, who fled Zambia to live in Glasgow, said: 'It is very hard to support yourself and your children, and you lose your skills and self-esteem.'

Rosemary Burnett, of Amnesty International Scotland, said she was pleased so many Scots were opposed to children being held in secure units such as Dungavel Detention Centre in Lanarkshire.

Only14 per cent of Scots asked did not think Scotland should welcome refugees.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 18, 2004
Words:230
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