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tv   Disclosure  BBC News  July 12, 2021 1:30am-2:01am BST

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footballs fans across italy are celebrating in the streets after the team won the euro 2020 championship in a hard—fought match against england in london. the game finished 1—1 after extra time but england crumbled during the penalties, only scoring two of five. america's west is being scorched by heat as california and nevada brace themselves for even more record—breaking temperatures, having already endured the hottest june on record. forecasters are warning that some places including california and nevada will remain dangerously hot, fuelling fears of even more wildfires. the british billionaire richard branson has successfully flown to the edge of space in his virgin galactic rocket plane. he described the flight as the magical and said it marked the dawn of a new space age.
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now on bbc news, it's disclosure, and sam poling meets men and women who fled to scotland to escape danger. hello, everybody. how are you. so i will — hello, everybody. how are you. so i will speak arabic sometimes because my english is very weak — my name is mohammed alosimi. so i will speak arabic sometimes, because, uh... ..my english is very weak.
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this is ali. he's an asylum seeker living in glasgow. he's come here seeking refuge from war. his days are spent wandering the city's parks. i am garden now. it's beautiful garden. yes, i stay here maybe two hours because, after, uh, iwill go back, i go back to my home. for ali, that home is here — mclays guest house. room a3. the room's small. around 12 feet square. a tablet — donated by a charity — sits next to his bed. this is where he eats, where he sleeps and spends most of his time. there's no fridge, so he keeps his food and his milk on the windowsill outside to keep them cold.
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this is ali's world. he's agreed to film for us to try to show what life is like for him — and thousands of others — living inside the uk's asylum system. ali's from yemen, in the middle east. it's a country in the midst of a brutal civil war. since 2014, more than four million people have had to flee. almost a quarter of a million have lost their lives as a result of the conflict. ali escaped over the border to saudi arabia with his family. then he set off alone to the uk, in search of a safer life for them all.
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this is footage captured by romanian border police of one boat that ali was in. ali had paid smugglers to get him from serbia into romania, crossing the river danube. halfway into the journey, the boat capsized. a police spotlight picks out what's left of the boat. survivors clinging to the upturned vessel.
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this is all ali has left to remember his friends by — footage from the day they were buried. eight of ali's friends drowned that night. it would be another four months before ali would make it to the uk, arriving in august last year. the horror of what he witnessed on hisjourney rarely leaves him. in english:
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there are more than 5,000 asylum seekers in scotland — and most of them in glasgow. that's because the council here is the only one in scotland that has an agreement with the uk government to take them. ali's still learning english. so he comes to meet me
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with a friend who can translate for him if he needs it. hi. how are you? yeah, i am good. and you? ali's a father of five. his wife and his children are still in hiding in saudi arabia while he goes through the asylum process. he's come to the uk hoping that, if asylum is granted, his family will be able to join him. why did you decide to come to the uk? why the uk?
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it does not usman aslam is an immigration lawyer, representing hundreds of clients in glasgow, including ali. one of the biggest difficulties that they face is the length of time that they are currently taking to process asylum claims. now that's not because of covid—i9, i'm talking about even pre—covid—i9. so how long are we talking that it's taking? their guidelines are usually up to six months. the reality is so many of them are waiting years before even interviewed. sorry, hold on, sorry — years before interview? yes. notjust years before being granted, or refused, years before even interviewed. the home office is planning a controversial overhaul of immigration policy which it says will speed up the asylum process. anyone who fails to claim asylum in another safe country prior to arriving in the uk, or enters the country illegally, will be considered inadmissible to the asylum system. there's no such thing as a visa
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from those countries to come here on a safe and legal route. so, they have to come here clandestinely. but international agreements know that. the refugee convention of 1951 tells us that is how kill the they arrive into countries. and we also have domestic legislation which says that can't be held against them. nicola sturgeon: let me be blunt - the stringent restrictions _ on our normal day—to—day lives that i'm about to set out are difficult and they are unprecedented. boris johnson: from this evening i must give the british people - a very simple instruction. you must stay at home. within days of lockdown being announced, 400 asylum seekers began to be moved from their homes in glasgow and placed into hotels. others, like ali, were taken straight there the moment
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they receive around £5 a day to live. but when lockdown happened, that cash was withdrawn for those placed in hotels, because they'd be receiving three meals a day. there was talk of women not being able to buy sanitary protection, or people not being able to buy toiletries. ramadan had begun and they weren't able to get snacks at the right time, kitchens were not open. and we werejust like, "what's going on?" it was very clear in our minds that people were suffering in the hotels. the food wasn't decent, they weren't able to communicate, people were enclosed. we just thought if they would just get people into houses. mears is the company responsible for housing asylum seekers in glasgow. it's part of a 10—year contract worth over £1 billion that the company has with the home office. the contract states that mears must provide safe, habitable and fit—for—purpose accommodation.
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when covid hit and the lockdown started, we had a decision to make about how best to create a scenario where provisions were made available, whether that was food, whether that was health provisions, and ultimately if people needed to self—isolate, we could do that safely within the confines of a hotel. they'd actually uprooted hundreds of people out of residential homes, and dumped them in the hotels that were emptied so the rest of us did not have to catch a virus. apparently, that was part of a wider home office plan to have hundreds of people transferred, in this city, to accommodation within hotels. who decided to put them into hotels? well, that's a conversation between ourselves and the home office, and... so did mears make the decision... no, mears... ..or did home office make the decision?
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home office makes the decision. so the home office said to mears, "you need to put these asylum seekers in hotels." they gave us the permission to use hotels for covid contingency. no, no — when you say they gave you permission... yeah. ..did you request to put them into hotels? we requested the... yes, we requested to utilise hotels, yes. so the decision to move asylum seekers into hotels came from mears. the home office granted that request. that's correct. it didn't make sense, and that's when we became very suspicious about what was happening to people under the care of mears in the city, because what we thought was a problem sorted was actually now starting to unravel. mears says pressure grew further as more asylum seekers arrived in glasgow looking for housing — housing that mears was unable to provide. where i'm struggling is, you have a billion—pound contract... yeah. ..and yourjob is to provide accommodation... yeah. ..and you're telling me you don't have that accommodation. so if you can't fulfil
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that contract, why do you still have the contract? so, you know, over 800 people came into support in a very quick period. we didn't have the properties readily available, there's never been a scenario in any contract where 800 people come in very quickly. pressure on the system — and on those in the hotels — was reaching breaking point. news report: the centre of glasgow has been closed down _
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after a major police incident. emergency services have been called to west george street. reporter: this is clearly one of the biggest policing - operations in scotland in many, many years. a multiple stabbing at a hotel, the park inn, right in the centre of glasgow. "it was all blood," he said, "i went down the stairs and the reception was full of blood." the attacker stabbed max glossoa several times in his stomach, as dontay redhead stood just a few feet away. all i can see is "bwap!" and the guy was like, "help, help!" - and my friend is on the ground and he's kicking up, he's - kicking up. even hisjersey — hisjersey's literally had been torn off. . i'm telling him, i say, "look, listen to me, i "you're going to be ok." i say, "you're going to be ok." he said, "i love my mother." he's like, "i love my mother."
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you thought about your mum? i said, "please, just. don't close your eyes. don't do it." i called 999 and told them that this... - i explained it just as there - is a madman that is stabbing people in front of the park inn hotel on west george street - in the city centre. i say, "look, the guy's in there." i say, "look, you've got to stop him. - he's going to kill people." all i can hear upstairs is "pow, pow, pow!"| inside the park inn, armed police confront the attacker and shoot him dead. his name was badreddin adam — a 28—year—old sudanese man, who'd arrived in the uk seeking asylum seven months earlier.
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he'd been living alongside max in the same hotel. in just a matter of minutes, badreddin stabbed max and five other people. certainly, i mean, we were very aware of badreddin and his challenges. what i can say, though, at every turn, when support was required, whether that be to support him with self—isolation, bring food to him, make sure he was ok, make sure that doctors were aware of his circumstance, we certainly made sure that happened. in the hotel, fellow asylum seekers
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say badreddin was withdrawn. he was terrified of catching covid and self—isolated, appearing paranoid and agitated. he'd asked for help. so did others on his behalf. he'd been living in a hotel room for three months. mears says it's provided good care and has kept asylum seekers safer from covid in hotels during the pandemic. at one point, 700 asylum seekers were in six hotels across glasgow. how many asylum seekers do we currently have in hotels? we operate three hotels currently in glasgow and there's 230 service users within those hotels. does it sit comfortably with you that today, well over a year since you put asylum seekers into the hotels, they are still there? no. no, i don't want them in the hotels. and you expect them to be out by when? end ofjuly. end ofjuly?
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yeah. you had already stated that the deadline would be december. you missed that. march — missed that. what guarantees can you give that july will be the date? we're seeing less asylum seekers self—present in glasgow. we don't have an expectation that that's going to grow, so based on the forecast that i've gotjust now, and the number of people who are leaving support through positive decisions, i'm confident that we will absolutely hitjuly deadline. back in mclays guest house, and living in the one room and with no money, it's starting to take its toll on ali. his five children, who are hiding in saudi arabia, are constantly on his mind. in arabic:
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back in yemen, before the country was devastated by war, ali worked as an accountant. he has a university degree. before her family tried to force her into marriage, saba was studying a medical degree in london. after she claimed asylum, she wasn't able to continue her studies or to work. asylum seekers, many of them want to work. i want to work. i'll be paying taxes that, in turn, will be helping government. we are a burden on them. why can't we support ourselves? i mean, i can work. i would do anything to be able to work. saba believes the entire system is set up to act as a deterrent
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to force asylum seekers into withdrawing their claims. you think it's designed to make you want to leave? yeah, yeah. it's. . . it's. .. in a way, they want to break you. i do have a problem back home, that's why i'm staying here. why would i waste my life here? what if they say no, full stop, that's it, end of the line? i'm not going back. that's final. but...but... so what will you do, then? i don't want to say it, but i'm not going back. what are you not saying? i'd rather... ..end my life here than to go back. i'm not going back. that way i'll be able to... ..finish everything my way.
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what are you seeing, in terms of the effect on your clients? a decline in their mental health and what... like a very visible one? one that you have seen? very visible. we're having people threatening to hurt themselves. we are seeing people that are hurting themselves. yeah. i have had clients that have tried to overdose. initially, they would rather do that than face being removed to the abuse or the torture that they ran away from. but now they're ready to do that because they're saying, "i'm stuck in limbo for this long." some people in scotland, like the rest of the uk, worry there are too many asylum seekers here. usman aslam says the actual numbers tell a very different story. i think at the end of september 2020, so not that long ago, i think we had taken 31,000 applications. in a population of over 60 million. germany, 155,000. france 129,000. spain 128,000. greece, 81,000. turkey, nearly four million.
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lebanon, which is, what, the size of dumfries and galloway? two million. pakistan, 1.4 million, so i think that's the starting point for the public is not to be, you know, misled. we regard it as temporaryjust now. i suppose the question would be more, "when do we stop that pause, when do we cease that pause?" and when do you? i don't have an answer to thatjust now. but are we talking months? years? i don't think it's in the foreseeable future.
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i don't think it's this year. really? right. and it's possibly not next year because we still have significant challenges, not least that we still have almost 200 asylum seekers accommodated in hotels. we think it's completely inappropriate and it doesn't offer them the kind of support that they need and that we think they're entitled to. what needs to change, do you think? there needs to be an acceptance that additional funding's required within the system. that would allow, i believe, for widening dispersal to happen. you know, asylum seekers are supported within glasgow, very uniquely, in that context so, you know, the ability to have dispersal into other local authorities would be an advantage. it would create new communities, and it would take the pressure off the infrastructure that sits around glasgow. but that does need to be funded. mears would like the rest of scotland to open up, would you endorse that? ultimately, yes, iwould like to see that as well. but while the home office runs, and the uk government run the asylum system the way they do which, frankly, is on the cheap, privatised and on the cheap, other local authorities, funnily enough, are not going to be
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rushing to sign up to that, and i don't particularly blame them. would you encourage them to? from your experience? um... right now, probably not. what they would be taking on is a very challenging relationship with the home office, and i think probably, in the case of most local authorities, a fundamental disconnect between their view of what an asylum system should be and the uk government's view of what an asylum system should be. the home office didn't want to be interviewed for this programme, but told us in a statement that... its new plan for immigration will reform what it calls... the home office says it continues
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"constructive discussions" with glasgow city council and "would encourage other local authorities in scotland" to open their doors to asylum seekers. glasgow may have closed its doors for now to those being sent here directly from the home office, but asylum seekers continue to turn up in the city and ask for help. while the uk government presses on with its robust new plan for immigration, those desperately seeking asylum here can only wait and hope.
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well, it's a mixed bag out there at the moment with some rain around. and we've some showers in the forecast for monday too. some of the showers could be particularly heavy across southeastern areas of the country. and here, we could have some thunderstorms as well. so this is what it looks like early hours of the morning. you can see where the heavy rain is, particularly in the south and the southeast. dry weather across most of scotland and most of northern ireland. and really quite mild in the morning — around 16 degrees, for example, in liverpool. so on that heavy rain, then, in the south, it'll come and go through the course of the morning. in fact, there might even be some sunshine around for a time. but then through the afternoon, showers will brew across parts of scotland, the north of england, but the heaviest ones probably in the southeast here. and these are the ones that could turn thundery and linger through the afternoon, into the evening hours. best sunshine on monday, i think some of these
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western areas of the uk — certainly western parts of wales, maybe cornwall and devon too. now, low pressure is still fairly close by on tuesday. you can see it's actually centred around, well, the western half of europe in the alps, but it's just about influencing the weather around the near continent, so there could be one or two showers around in the southeast. the best of the sunshine, i think across western and northern areas on tuesday. in fact, from plymouth through cardiff, liverpool, belfast, glasgow, should be a relatively sunny day, and the temperatures are starting to recover as well. in fact, by the time we get to wednesday, it should be a dry day across the uk. high pressure is slowly building from the azores. there could be a weak weather frontjust about nudging into the western isles, giving a few spots of rain. but on the whole, it's a fine day for most of us. and then from thursday onwards,
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we are expecting that high pressure to build right across the country. the winds will fall light. and given some sunshine, we'll see those temperatures recovering. in fact, we're expecting the mid—20s quite widely across the uk, but it really does depend where the winds going to be blowing from. for example, if it's coming in from the north, the north sea coasts could be a little bit chilly, but further inland, certainly around 25 or so. so here's the outlook, with monday and those showers there, maybe even one or two thunderstorms in the southeast, and then a steady climb in the temperatures as we head towards the weekend. that's it from me. bye—bye.
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welcome to bbc news — i'm david eades. our top stories: celebrations in rome as italy's footballers are crowned champions of europe for the first time since 1968. the 2020 final finished 1—1 after extra time but the italians beat england in a tense penalty shootout as england's last three penalty takers all failed to score. across england, hope turned to bitter disappointment after their team had made a spectacular start in the final. america's west is scorched by heat as california and nevada brace themselves for even more record—breaking temperatures. and richard branson,
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billionaire founder of virgin galactic, has flown to the edge of space

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