Management Committee

Pinar Aksu

Pinar Aksu works with Maryhill Integration Network as a Community Development worker in Glasgow, and with Active Inquiry using Theatre of the Oppressed methods. She has been involved with asylum and refugee rights since a young age. She is involved and a committee member at the Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Stand Up to Racism Scotland.

Monish Bhatia

Monish is a Lecturer in Criminology at the Birkbeck, University of London. He teaches in the areas of race, migration, border controls, and critical criminology. In 2017, Monish completed a self-funded project – capturing narratives of those who were subjected to forced removals from the UK. Previously, he has done a Carnegie Trust funded project on destitution and drug use amongst asylum seekers, and his Doctoral Thesis focused on the impact of policies and procedures on asylum seekers and ‘illegal’ migrants in the UK. Monish is also a Board Member for the Scottish Refugee Council. He can be followed on Twitter: @DrMonishBhatia

Laura Gibbons

Whilst living in London Laura completed a Masters in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and worked with refugees and asylum seekers in the charity sector. Laura then decided to move into the legal sector and qualified as a Solicitor. She currently works for a legal aid firm based in Manchester working in Public and Housing Law where she assists unaccompanied asylum seeking children in age dispute cases and in securing accommodation and support from the local authority, families with no recourse to public funds in accessing housing and support and refugees and asylum seekers in accessing suitable accommodation and support from the Home Office or local authority as appropriate. She is also an active member of voluntary organisations in the area short-term holding facility based at Manchester Airport.

Catherine Hurley

Catherine has worked at the University of Cambridge’s interdisciplinary research centre, CRASSH, for the last 15 years. She has recently become active with organisations concerned with immigration and asylum in a voluntary capacity. She emigrated to Canada from the UK with her family as a baby but has only recently begun to think of herself as an immigrant.

Tienga Ngale (co-chair)

Tienga was involved in setting up the Cameroon Community Welfare and Development Association (CACOWEDA), and was a trustee of the Notre Dame Refugee Centre from 2003 to 2010. He coordinated the activity of the Cameroon Support Network until 2011, and was very involved with the Strangers Into Citizens Campaigns both in 2007 and 2009. He has also been a Trade Union Rep, and worked as an advisor in welfare rights and health and social care.

Katherine Rennie

Katherine is a retired solicitor and mediator and has recently moved to live in St Ives, Cornwall. She is a Local Preacher with the Methodist church and a member of the Iona Community. Whilst living in Glasgow she was active in work with asylum seekers and refugees, and was a Trustee and Secretary to the Board of Trustees of a Nightshelter for Destitute Asylum seekers.

Robert Swinfen

Robert works as Head of Finance for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and formerly worked for The Iona Community, Richmond Fellowship, NACRO and Oxfam. He serves on the Board of Positive Action in Housing and has been a voluntary committee member for many other community bodies and charities. He is a professional qualified accountant.

Phill Wilcox

Phill has over ten years experience as an asylum caseworker with Refugee and Migrant Justice, the Immigration Advisory Service and more recently as a caseworker and researcher for the Manuel Bravo Project. Phill is also a final year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, London.

Hyab Yohannes

Hyab is an Eritrean refugee in the UK, completed an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies at SOAS University of London, worked as an Education and Employment Adviser for a charity based in Leeds and is now studying for a PhD at the University of Glasgow. Hyab in his career engaged extensively with refugees and asylum seekers at different positions ranging from community facilitation to casework and community organising in Sudan, in Egypt, and in the UK. Having a first-hand experience of human trafficking, Hyab has a research interest in refugee trafficking (which he wrote his MA dissertation on) and the ambivalent position of ‘the refugee’ as ‘unprotected’ figure.