Then & Now: Shock of arrival

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1983: 'Macaulay's reference to Britain as 'the sacred refuge of mankind' conjures up dim but comfortable images of Huguenots, French aristocrats, and other victims of persecution who have received a tolerant welcome here. Unfortunately this flattering national stereotype is about a century out of date. Successive Immigration Acts have transformed Britain's 'ever-open door' into a well-guarded turnstile. . . . Workers in health care and social welfare interviewing refugees who have been victims of violence should be trained to listen very carefully . . . A full medical history should be documented, including the history of the flight and events leading to it. A gentle, sensitive, non- defensive inquiry into violent episodes (torture, rape, beatings) should not be avoided. If necessary, X- rays and photos should be taken. A special consultation can be advisable both for adequate treatment and reassurance. (The Psychosocial Problems of Refugees, published by the British Refugee Council and European Consultation on Refugees and Exiles.)

August 1993: 'This is a prison for me. I eat and sleep and that is all' (Bosnian refugee admitted to Britain a year ago). 'If I'd stayed I would have been treated by now. Had I known what I'd go through here I definitely would not have come' (Bosnian bomb victim admitted to Britain a year ago).

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