1 Sep '13

News Asylum seekers: news and teaching resources round up

Switzerland's restrictions on asylum seekers' movements prompted international furore. Here are some resources to help you explore the issues surrounding displaced people

Swiss human rights activists say the country is in the grip of a backlash against people seeking residence from foreign countries.

When a new asylum centre was recently opened in the town of Bremgarten, near Zurich, authorities decided to restrict the asylum seekers' access to school playing fields and facilities such as swimming pools, as well as subjecting them to a curfew. In response to angry reaction from human rights activists and the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the mayor of Bremgarten, Raymond Tellenbach, said they had decided on "security grounds not to allow access to these areas, to prevent conflict and guard against possible drug use".

An estimated 48,000 people sought asylum in Switzerland this year, twice the European per capita average.

To help you discuss the topic in class, we've pulled together the best news stories, teaching resources on displaced people and informative websites. You'll find a poetry performance on the government's Go Home campaign, asylum seekers' stories and maps showing peoples' movement across the world.

From the Guardian

Asylum seekers: nowhere boys
Around 1,200 children arrived in Britain seeking asylum last year – often alone, and after long, harrowing journeys hidden in freezers or under lorries. The article speaks to some of the children and looks in detail at what happened to them after they arrived.

Asylum seekers mapped
Where do asylum seekers come from and where are they going? The map shows you their movements across the world.

George the Poet: 'Go Home' – video

Performance artist George the Poet takes on the government's campaign against illegal immigrants, in which a 'Go Home' sign is driven around diverse areas of London.

Celebrating asylum seekers
The article discusses the positive impact people seeking asylum have on our country.

The refugee trail – audio and video
Guardian journalist Maggie O'Kane and film maker Fiona Lloyd-Davis followed the refugee trail from Afghanistan to Dover, documenting what they saw using film and audio. The series won a European online journalism award.

On the Guardian Teacher Network

Combatting racism towards asylum seekers
The pack is full of facts and activities to help young people challenge misconceptions about asylum seekers and refugees, as well as developing their understanding of diversity and identity. It can be used in conjunction with the film A Safe Place from the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.

In the Sea there are Crocodiles – text analysis
Based on a true story, the book by Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally manages to claim political asylum. Starting points for discussion are given in the guide to the book.

Explore immigration and racism with primary sources
Real historical sources are used to explore immigration, including a telegram from Barbados to Britain in 1953 asking the British government to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or religion.

Understanding immigration and its impact
Interactive geography lesson which explores different types of immigration, including forced migration. It considers push and pull factors, and the impact on the host country's labour system.

Immigration podcast
A podcast made by a history teacher to help her students understand immigration to the USA in the 1920s.

Best of the web

Displaced people around the world – interactive map
The origins and destinations of displaced people are shown on the world map. The National Geographic also offers facts, figures, definitions of key terms and ideas for further reading.

Human rights and immigration
Card games, films, role play ideas and many other teaching resources are provided by Amnesty International for exploring refugee and asylum seeker issues.

Why I left my country
Collection of true stories on why people sought asylum or refugee status from the Red Cross.

Understanding why refugees seek safety
The Refugee Week website has a wealth of resources for helping students understand why refugees come to the country, including factsheets and videos. It also looks at the positive contribution they make to the UK.

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