Faith leaders call for free bus travel for asylum seekers

MIN welcomes the statement by the Senior faith leaders in urging the Scottish Government to enable people seeking asylum in Scotland to access free bus travel.

In a statement, 24 faith leaders from a large number of religious groups in Scotland, highlight that “national free bus travel for people seeking asylum (an expansion of schemes for those aged 5-22 and 60+) would be a unique intervention the Scottish Government could deliver to effectively and immediately change the lives of people in our communities in the midst of an otherwise hostile policy environment towards those seeking asylum.”

Abiola, mentioned “Having a bus pass would be great benefit to me and other asylum seekers in so many ways, particularly for our mental health,” she said.

“Our wellbeing would improve a lot and life would be easier because we are very restricted because tickets are very expensive and we are living on a tight budget. If I had a bus pass it would help me to move around more freely and when I am lonely I can go out and explore and take my mind off whatever I am thinking. All we want is to live a happier life and feel like we belong. The restrictions and limitations placed on asylum seekers make us feel like we are prisoners.”

Pinar Aksu, Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator of the Maryhill Integration Network speaks of how transformative it would be:

“Access to concessionary bus travel is viewed by us as a key social justice policy. We know it will move asylum seekers as a group so much closer to integration in our communities.”

Linsay Taylor, Chair of Interfaith Scotland highlights the importance of access to worshipping communities: “Unfortunately, we live in a time where individuals who are seeking to exercise a most basic international right, that of seeking asylum, are being met with an increasingly hostile environment. This should be a cause for concern for us all. That is why Interfaith Scotland supports the call for free bus passes for those asylum seekers. Having access to a free bus pass will allow individuals to more easily interact with much-needed support, and community, as well as practise their faith by having much easier access to places of worship. Something that so many of us take for granted but which at this time is often inaccessible due to the cost of travel.”

Read more about the Statement: