“We should welcome refugees”

Last night, despite opposition from across civil society and the House of Lords, the Nationality and Borders Bill passed through Parliament.

The bill criminalises those who have travelled to the UK through dangerous routes, but offers no safe routes for refugees from many parts of the world.

As Signatories to the Fight the Anti-Refugee Pledge, everyone at WCIA is extremely disappointed with this outcome. People fleeing war and persecution need safe routes to the UK and a quick, simple and kind process when they arrive. There are so many people and communities across Wales and the UK ready to welcome refugees who want us to be a place of sanctuary not hostility.

According to research by the British Red Cross, 62% of the public agree that the UK should welcome refugees. In Wales, many support the ambition to be a Nation of Sanctuary. But this will become even more difficult in light of this latest legislation. The UK should work with partners around the world to support and look after refugees, not penalise them.

Susie Ventris-Field, Chief Executive, WCIA

In a move opposed by the UNHCR, the UK Government also plans to ship some people seeking sanctuary to Rwanda for ‘offshore processing’, despite its own previously expressed concerns about the human rights record there.

What can people do to help?

At the WCIA, we support active global citizenship – this means sharing information about what is happening in the world, but also providing ways people can take action if they want to make a difference. Although the bill has passed, the campaign against the Nationality and Borders Bill has galvanised people, organisations and MPs across the UK, and it is still possible to make a difference.

Susie Ventris-Field, Chief Executive, WCIA
  1. Write to your MP to express your concerns
  2. Raise awareness of the issue – Together with Refugees produces regular updates and information you can share
  3. Support or fundraise for charities that support refugees both here in Wales and around the world
  4. If you have a spare room, offer to host refugees
  5. Offer a warm welcome to people seeking sanctuary in your community

Refugee organisations and other useful links

Please see below the latest update on some of the key developments in asylum and migration over the past fortnight:

Fight the #AntiRefugeeLaws 

Over 350 organisations have now signed the pledge committing to #FightTheAntiRefugeeLaws. Your organisation can sign up to the pledge here, and can also call on your MP to pledge their support. 

Here’s a powerful guest blog from Kidist Teklemariam, the Director of Unleashing Refugee Potential C.I.C, outlining why we must fight the UK Government’s cruel #Anti-RefugeeLaws. You can also continue to share #AntiRefugeeLaws pledge resources, including:

The UK Government has detained all those people it intends to transfer to Rwanda, with around 100 people seeking asylum thought to have been issued with notices of intent so far. The Guardian has profiled one of those affected, who is seeking asylum after fleeing from Sudan, who states ‘I thought the UK was a good country with a lot of humanity…I’m shocked that the Home Office is not treating me like a human being.’

Rainbow Migration is among the groups to highlight that the Government’s own recently published equality impact assessment makes clear that LGBTQI+ people who come to the UK seeking safety will be sent to Rwanda, despite the evidence it has found of ill-treatment and abuse in the country. 

Solidarity Knows No Borders Week of Action 13-19 June
10 years on from the launch of the Hostile Environment policy, the Solidarity Knows No Borders network are calling holding a Week of Action 13-19 June to #EndTheHostileEnvironment. They are holding an online launch rally Wednesday 25th May at 6pm where you can find out how to take part. 

Resources, events, jobs & training

Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund

The Community Foundation Wales’ new Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund is now open to applications from groups working with people seeking sanctuary in Wales. Grants of up to £50,000 per annum for up to 3 years are available, with a focus on work providing emotional/trauma support and community support to help with developing and improving a sense of belonging. Further information on the grant and how to apply here


What we’ve been reading

  • This Border Criminologies blog post analysing the UK and Rwanda Governments’ Memorandum of Understanding from the perspective of human trafficking.
  • This powerful blog post in the Big Issue by William Gomes who details his inspiring journey overcoming many barriers to graduate from the University of Essex.

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