Migrant Voice member and Glasgow resident Roza Salih is standing for the Scottish National Party (SNP) at the upcoming council elections. If she succeeds, it is thought that Roza will be the first Kurd and the first former asylum seeker to be elected to public office in Scotland.
The 27 year old Roza arrived to Scotland when she was 12 as an asylum seeker from Iraq with her parents and sister, after her teacher father spoke against the regime of Saddam Hussein. She recalls looking at her new country from the 22nd floor of the tower block where her family were housed. Later she became one of the Glasgow Girls - a group known for their activity to save one of their school mates from immigration detention. Their campaigning led to her release and contributed to the changes in government policies on the detention of children. This story gained a lot of publicity and was later adapted into a stage show and a BBC production.
Roza has continued to be politically active ever since. She studied Law and Politics at Strathclyde University, where she also served as a vice president of diversity on the student union. At this time, she advocated for workers’ rights, the rights and protection of refugees and for change in Kurdistan, as well as secured scholarship funding for three asylum seekers. She went on to work for Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens.
Now with leave to remain in the UK, Roza hopes to succeed in the elections because she sees representing her area as a way of paying back to the community that welcomed and supported her. She believes that her experience and background would enable her to bring something new to the council. She also says that her family are proud of her work for social justice, especially as some of her relatives were executed under the Hussein regime for their work for democracy and peace.
So far Roza has passed pre-selection assessments and will face the Anniesland SNP branch in the beginning of February.