The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation
19th July, 2022
New exhibition ‘Exodus: the Uganda Asians’ Crisis of 1972’ opens at Arundells, a former Prime Minister’s home
On Friday 12th August the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation is launching its latest exhibition: ‘Exodus: the Uganda Asians’ Crisis of 1972’ at Arundells, the home of Sir Edward Heath, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The exhibition examines the forced expulsion of the Asian community from Uganda by President Idi Amin Dada in 1972 and the willingness of the Government of Edward Heath to receive over 28,000 refugees.
On August 4th 1972 Amin announced his intention to expel almost the whole Asian population of Uganda within 90 days. It tells the remarkable story of the expulsion of the Asian community from Uganda, the initial resistance from some political elements to their admission to Britain – even though they were British passport holders – and the courageous decision by the Government of Edward Heath to honour Britain’s humanitarian obligations – and how from arriving virtually penniless, the community have made new and successful lives in Britain over the last 50 years.
The exhibition will feature material on:
- The history of the Asian community in Uganda, their position in the country’s economy and their citizenship status
- The 90 Day Deadline for the expulsion– and how this played out in both Uganda and the UK. In the case of the former, President Amin’s targets for expulsion grew from covering UK passport and citizens of India and Pakistan to include almost all Asian citizens of Uganda, who were rendered stateless. Many Asians were robbed, harassed and raped and were restricted to leaving with no more than £50 per family.
- How under the supervision of the Uganda Resettlement Board, most of the refugees arrived at Stansted Airport, many literally penniless and were accommodated in 16 temporary camps before being dispersed and helped to integrate in Britain. Despite attempts by the Board to disperse them more widely most refugees tended to gravitate to areas with existing Indian populations such as North West and East London and Leicester.
- The political context of the Heath Government’s decision to accept the refugees in the face of unemployment having just exceed one million and of a campaign by Enoch Powell MP and the Monday Club in Parliament and at the Conservative Party Conference to oppose the Government’s humanitarian action. It also notes problems within the Conservative grassroots and the Government’s efforts to persuade more countries to accept a share of the refugees.
- A review of the remarkable contribution made by the Ugandan Asian community to Britain over the last 50 years
Peter Batey CMG, OBE, Chairman of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said:
“‘Marking the 50th anniversary of the shocking expulsion of Uganda’s Asian population, this exhibition tells the remarkable story of the 28,500 refugees that came to Britain thanks to the open arms of Edward Heath’s government and the contribution they have made to British society. Heath’s decision was not only morally and legally right, it was also brave at a time when unemployment in Britain was surging and Enoch Powell was seeking to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment within the Conservative Party and the wider electorate. The experiences from 1972 remind us of Britain’s tradition of generosity towards refugees and the rewards for our nation that have stemmed from compassion and generosity.”
The exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of the Ahluwalia Family Foundation and of the Rumi Foundation.
The Foundation is grateful for the work of its Advisory Group on the exhibition: Rt Hon Shailesh Vara M.P., Cllr Ravi Govindia and ecotourism expert and entrepreneur Praveen Moman.
01722 326546 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to editors:
On Fridays-Mondays, visitors can browse the house and gardens at their leisure. On Tuesdays, access is by guided tours only (advance booking for tours is advisable: www.arundells.org). Admission costs: House, Garden and Exhibition Room: £9. Guided tours: £13. Garden and Exhibition Room only: £3.50. Wheelchair access ground floor only. For more details, please contact: 01722 326546 or email@example.com