A NEW Chester group is to campaign for the rights of asylum seekers.
The Asylum Seekers Support Group is holding meetings at a church hall in Hoole to combat the ‘dreadful human rights abuse’ they believe is happening to migrants in the region.
Dr Joseph O’Neill, from Hamilton Street in Hoole, set up the group after hearing the stories of asylum seekers, and even halved his working hours as a GP in Liverpool to dedicate more time to the issue.
He said: “It’s reminiscent of how the Jews were treated. January 27 is Holocaust Memorial Day and we are going to have a conference to draw similarities.
“Asylum seekers are never allowed to work and are treated with disbelief by the British government. They are dispersed around the country and put in detention centres. These are people who have been massively abused in their own country and this is how we treat them. I decided I couldn’t ignore it.
“There are not many in Chester, but we have a role in Chester to approach the Home Office in Liverpool and ask what they are on about.”
The new group, currently about seven strong, has several aims.
Dr O’Neill wants to focus on the Government’s asylum seeker screening unit at Reliance House, Liverpool. He also hopes to raise funds to send the children of immigrants on holidays.
The group is the latest in a network across the North West.
After the meeting last Saturday, Dr O’Neill also hosted a national meeting in Hoole of 20 doctors about the state of healthcare for asylum seekers. Although they are not a lobbying group, he has drawn up a report on the possibility of creating an asylum health centre.
He said: “The Government is attempting to bring in legislation making asylum seekers pay for their GP care.”