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The New Arab

UK asylum seekers hide identity for fear of violence

Hate crimes have risen sharply in Britain since Brexit [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2017

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A fear of stigmatisation and violence is forcing asylum seekers in Britain to hide their identity in public, charities say.
Asylum seekers in the United Kingdom are hiding their identity in public to avoid discrimination and abuse, British charities say.

A spate of hate crimes in Britain, fuelled by far-right political rhetoric, is forcing asylum seekers to self-censor in a bid to protect themselves.

Last week, a brutal attack in London left an Iranian-Kurdish asylum seeker unconscious. The teenager was assaulted by a large group of men and women after finding out he was a refugee.

"The racism is now so deep that the scapegoating of the person seeking asylum is being very clearly understood and people are taking defensive measures where they can," a researcher for refugee rights charity RAPAR told The Independent.

Police say there has been an upsurge in racist violence since the UK voted to leave the EU last year. Immigration played a key role in the debate and some have argued that the decision to leave has given racists a boost in confidence.

"We have had cases where people have been abused at a street level and targeting in their places of residence," the director of anti-hate group Tell Mama told The Independent.

"These are vulnerable people and the toxic debates around asylum seekers certainly does not help in dehumanising some of the most vulnerable in our society and communities."

There were 62,518 hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales last year compared to 52,465 the previous year – an increase of 19 percent.

There has also been a surge of hate attacks across Europe. In Germany, migrants and their homes faced more than 3,500 attacks in 2016, injuring 560 people, including 43 children.

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