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Testimony, tolerance and hospitality : The limitations of the Human Rights Act in relation to asylum seekers

Nayak, S 2012, 'Testimony, tolerance and hospitality : The limitations of the Human Rights Act in relation to asylum seekers' , in: Confronting the Human Rights Act : Contemporary Themes and Perpectives , Routledge, London, pp. 219-241.

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This chapter is written with women asylum seekers as a lens of critical situated knowledge. These co-writers are members of the campaign group ‘United for Change’, within the ‘Salford Forum for Refugees and People Seeking Asylum’ and the charitable organization ‘Revive’ based in Salford, Greater Manchester. The origin of this relationship began when these asylum seekers gave testimony to their experience at a conference about the HRA. The paradox is that within the context of the conference the credibility of these asylum seekers’ testimonies as a critical lens was contingent on the fact and consequences of the lack of credibility of their testimony within the legal and state processes that establish authenticity of their request for asylum. The decision that they were assessed as inauthentic made them authentic witnesses. Indeed, incorporating the element of testimony in the conference represented inclusivity of the ‘Other’, an antidote to accusations of exclusivity and the rubber stamping voice that authenticates. Insisting on the problematic of ‘authenticism or the authority of authenticity’ Spivak argues that, ‘the mechanics of the constitution of the Other’ and ‘invocations of the authenticity of the Other’ are used to circumvent the difficulties inherent in representation. Picking up Said’s notion of the violence of relentless fetishization of difference, Griffiths states, ‘a fetishised cultural commodity, may be employed ‘... to enact a discourse of "liberal violence" [sic], re-enacting its own oppressions on the subjects it purports to represent and defend.’ Similar tensions had to be explored and not necessarily resolved in co-writing this chapter with asylum seekers. In particular, consideration of how inclusion of testimony in this chapter, re-enacts the mastery of the host in the dynamics of hospitality and the regulatory function of tolerance continues to be grappled with. The words of asylum seekers in this chapter function as metaphorical red ink; to interrupt, disturb and dislocate theoretical perspectives and interpretations. In short the words of asylum seekers in this chapter function to transgress the hierarchical relations of host/guest, tolerate/tolerated, known/unknown.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Kang-Riou, N, Milner, J and Nayak, S
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9780415674706
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Suryia Nayak
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 18:02
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 19:28

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