Campaigner of the Year

Pinar Aksu

We need a humane immigration system based on compassion, justice, dignity, and human rights. I believe we can all achieve this with a welcoming approach that sees people as people, not as numbers.

The Campaign

Pinar is a passionate human rights campaigner for a more humane immigration system and coordinates MIN Voices, a Glasgow-based group for people seeking asylum. Together, they are running various campaigns, including the Right to Work for people seeking asylum, Access to Education, Ending Hotel Detention for newly arrived people and Free Bus Pass campaign in Scotland.

Her philosophy is to transform negative experiences into positive action, locally and nationally, focusing on raising awareness about the impact of harmful and hostile immigration policies on people seeking asylum and refuge. She is particularly interested in creating spaces for dialogue, conversation, and creativity.

Pinar Aksu is the Human Rights and Advocacy Coordinator at Maryhill Integration Network, as well as a second year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, researching ‘Art and Law in Migration: art practices for social change and access to justice’.

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awards

Pinar at STUC St Andrews anti-racism march and rally.

I am delighted to be shortlisted for the Campaigner of the Year award! Thank you!
The road to creating a humane immigration system needs compassion, love, unity, and solidarity. It needs to have human rights at the centre so that individuals can be seen as people before any other given labels. I am proud of all the change we have created as a community – from Kenmure Street to saying No to the Illegal Migration Bill. A huge thanks to everyone at MIN, and especially at MIN Voices for their courage and resilience.”

awards

Pinar at STUC St Andrews anti-racism march and rally.

I am delighted to be shortlisted for the Campaigner of the Year award! Thank you!
The road to creating a humane immigration system needs compassion, love, unity, and solidarity. It needs to have human rights at the centre so that individuals can be seen as people before any other given labels. I am proud of all the change we have created as a community – from Kenmure Street to saying No to the Illegal Migration Bill. A huge thanks to everyone at MIN, and especially at MIN Voices for their courage and resilience.”

The Change

One of the key campaigns has been the Lift the Ban, pressing for people seeking asylum to be allowed to work. Although policy has yet to change, there has been significant movement with increased support for the campaign amongst politicians, better public awareness, and more involvement by community voices. 

Together with many others, Pinar is also leading a campaign for extending concessionary travel for people seeking asylum in Scotland. Recently, MSPs in Scotland and diverse groups/organisations have supported the call for a Free Bus Pass.

A vital part of Pinar’s approach is to work with groups of people to build strong voices in the community. She uses creative methods to bring people together, raise their voices, and find empowerment through story-telling and performance. She promotes theatre as a tool for change and has sought to bring people’s testimony and creativity to increasingly large audiences.

The Future

Pinar hopes to continue raising awareness on all of the campaigns, from Right to Work, Access to Education- Our Grades, Not Visas, Free Bus Pass to Ending Hotel detention. Her ultimate goal is a system that is based on human rights and international protection, one that sees people as people. She will continue to use creativity across all the campaigns, and create spaces for community conversations and dialogue, so  that positive change can take place across all communities.

Who else was involved?

Pinar campaigned together with everyone at Maryhill Integration Network, especially with the MIN Voices group members. Also with support from the Voices Network, JustRight Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council, Refugees for Justice, and the public.