Racial harassment on the rise in Scotland

March 12, 2004

Written by Harmit Athwal

Asylum seekers, refugees and settled migrants in Scotland have experienced a 75 per cent increase in racial harassment since April 2003.

According to a report by Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), a Scottish housing charity, 28 per cent of its clients have suffered racial harassment. This represents an increase of 75 per cent on last year when only 16 per cent of their client families had suffered racial harassment. This year’s report shows that 35 per cent of the families experienced daily harassment which included physical attacks, racial abuse and damage to property

Refugees and asylum seekers targeted

The families that suffered most from racial harassment were mainly from refugee communities. 28 per cent of PAIH’s clients are from Somali, Iranian or Afghan households. A further 21 per cent of the charity’s clients are from Pakistani families.

The high levels of racial harassment are hardly surprising. Since at least August 2001, when Firsat Dag, who had been ‘dispersed’ by NASS to the Sighthill estate in Glasgow was stabbed to death, activists have warned of the deteriorating situation. But what this new report reveals is how very little has been done by statutory agencies to avoid serious attacks and the possibility of another fatality.

Related links

Positive Action in Housing

For further details on PAIH's work, view their website.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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