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A social model of asylum: disablement and resistance in the British asylum system

Wednesday 26 April at 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

The final webinar in our series ‘The Health of Migrants and the Right to Health’, co-hosted by MMB and GRAMNet.

With Rebecca Yeo.

The UK asylum system includes multiple restrictions which limit access to the services and support needed for physical and emotional health and wellbeing. At different stages in an asylum claim, people are systematically denied access to such necessities as housing, financial support, and sense of safety. These restrictions are not the result of oversights but of deliberate policy designed to create a ‘hostile environment’.

The social model of disability highlights the disabling impact of barriers imposed on people with impairments. Similarly, restrictions imposed on people subject to asylum conditions, result in a system that is actively and deliberately disabling. This is not to negate the emotional and physical pain inherent in some forms of impairment or in being forced to flee one’s home, however effective resistance must challenge the socially constructed, and therefore changeable, injustices. Drawing on material from my forthcoming book about the knowledge and experiences of disabled asylum seekers and refugees, I argue for a ‘social model of asylum’ to bring together the insights and experiences of people in the asylum system, the disability movement and a wider population seeking to resist the hierarchies of human value underpinning current injustices.

Further information and a link to register here.


More about the series:

‘The Health of Migrants and the Right to Health’

Health is a fundamental human right, yet in practice, there are many barriers to the realisation of ‘Health for All’. The health inequalities and barriers to access healthcare systems faced by people-onthemove and by non-citizens more generally, have long been recognised in research, policy and practice. While the World Health Organisation continues to advocate for ‘migrant sensitive health systems’ (2010), healthcare systems are bounded within the nationstate, subject to the laws and policies of governments that increasingly restrict the rights of ‘migrants’ to access their rights. As rights to health are restricted, health and social protection systems are mobilised within hostile environment regimes as a means of surveillance.

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the need for universal health care and the fragility of national health systems. This series of four seminars and one online networking event is organised by University of Glasgow’s GRAMNET and University of Bristol’s Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB) will reflect on access to health care for migrants, refugees and those seeking asylum. Starting from different disciplinary standpoints, the speakers offer empirical and theoretical work exploring the relations between health and migration and the role of migration systems in the production of health inequalities. We will end the series with a (fun!) online networking event.

Visit the series webpage here.


Wednesday 26 April
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm



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