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Lift the Ban: busting some myths around asylum seekers and work

Alongside more than 150 organisations across the UK, Help Refugees is calling on the Government to give people seeking asylum in the UK the right to work. At the moment, asylum seekers are banned from working while they await a decision on their application and have to survive on a little over £5 per day.

There are some common misconceptions about asylum seekers and work that appear in the media. These are often used to argue that people seeking asylum should not be allowed to work, but they do not stand up to scrutiny.

 

Allowing people seeking asylum to work does not create a “pull-factor”

 

A common argument for restricting work rights for people seeking asylum is that allowing people to work would create a “pull-factor” – an extra incentive to come to this country. But research by the University of Warwick shows this is simply not the case .

 

Studies, including one commissioned by the Home Office, have shown that access to work has little, if any, affect on where people seek asylum. The Lift the Ban report shows there is not one piece of credible, published evidence of a long-term link between labour market access and asylum destination.

 

Often, people have little choice in where they seek asylum. In cases where people have some degree of choice, it is primarily based on language, colonial links between their home country and the host country, having family or friends in the host country, or a belief that the host country is safe, tolerant and democratic.

 

Furthermore, the report shows that people seeking asylum often do not have knowledge of the host country’s policies on working rights prior to their arrival. And research has shown that restricting the right to work has no effect on the number of asylum applications a country receives.

Allowing people seeking asylum to work does not encourage “economic migrants”

 

Some go further and argue that such a policy would lead to more “economic migrants” applying for asylum in order to work. This, too, is not borne out by the evidence. It also makes little sense.

 

Our coalition is calling for asylum seekers who had been waiting for a decision on their application for over six months to be allowed to work. Researchers have widely discredited that this would encourage people to come to the country solely for economic reasons.

 

For people who arrive in the UK without a visa and intend to work, research suggests it is easier for them to remain hidden and work illegally. It is unlikely they would put themselves through the asylum process and bring themselves to the attention of the authorities, putting themselves at risk of deportation, in the hope that their application will be delayed and they won’t be able to work for at least six months.

The benefits of giving asylum seekers the right to work

 

If the UK were to adopt a six-month waiting period, it would go from being an outlier to joining the international mainstream.

 

Spain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and many more countries across Europe have already shown that giving asylum seekers the right to work after six months or less can bring benefits to both the local community and people seeking asylum.

 

Our coalition of charities, think tanks and faith groups argue that giving people seeking asylum the right to work would:

• Strengthen people’s chances of being able to integrate into and contribute to their new communities.
• Allow people seeking asylum to live in dignity and to provide for themselves and their families.
• Give people the opportunity to use their skills and make the most of their potential.
• Improve the mental health of people in the asylum system.
• Help to challenge forced labour, exploitation, and modern slavery.

 

It’s time for a change. Join us in urging the Government to move rapidly to grant the right to work for people seeking asylum by reading the full report and signing our petition demanding the government #LiftTheBan.


This article was written for Help Refugees by James Burgess.

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We need 3,000 sleeping bags in Calais!

Our stock of sleeping bags and blankets for Calais & Dunkirk is running desperately low, and right now we’re unable to keep up with demand. In the next 15 days, we need your help to collect 3,000 sleeping bags and 5,000 blankets.

Thanks to incredible public support in December, we’ve been able to distribute bedding every week of winter so far. But with over 100 evictions last month, people are once again being left in the cold with nothing to protect themselves. Our stocks are running low, and we need help to make sure anyone sleeping rough in Northern France, at the very least, has a blanket or sleeping bag to keep them warm at night.

 

What can you do to help?

On 27th February, we’re sending a truck to all the drop offs in London to pick up donated sleeping bags and blankets. For the rest of the UK, all donations will be picked up in the coming weeks!

So if you have any spares (or would like to organise a collection), please please please send to your local donation drop-off point before the end of the month!

A sleeping bag isn’t a bed. It’s not enough. But in the freezing cold of night, it can be the key to preventing hypothermia. Find out any and everything you’ll need to know about organising a donation in our information pack. 

 

Where is my local drop-off?

PLEASE NOTE: If your local drop-off is an Emmaus location – please make sure to label your donation “HELP REFUGEES – CALAIS” 

If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us at calaisdonations@helprefugees.org. Thank you so much for your continued support – we love you!


If you don’t have a sleeping bag or blanket, but would still like to help, you can donate to our fundraiser for Northern France, and we’ll buy the most-needed items from local businesses.

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We’re hiring! Apply to join Help Refugees as a Programmes Officer

Help Refugees is looking for a Programmes Officer to join our London team on a full-time basis. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience working for one of the fastest growing charities in the UK. You’ll work alongside a small, dynamic and hard-working team, and have the chance to make a real, tangible impact on the lives of thousands of refugees and displaced people all over the world.

We are looking for someone who is excellent at prioritising and multitasking to support the Help Refugees Programmes team. You will be excellent at building systems and working with the team to ensure the smoothest process for grant administration. You will have the ability to prioritise according to the changing needs in the context and the team, whilst ensuring that the everyday tasks are complete to the highest standard. You will use your initiative when faced with new or complex problems. You will use your positive attitude to work out a way to move forward, and you will also know when to check in with the team.

The Programmes Officer will be line managed by COO and Head of Programmes, based alongside our other core team members in our East London office.

Role and responsibilities

  • Travel arrangements and diary management for Head of Programmes and COO
  • Additional admin support for Head of Programmes and COO including inbox management, meeting preparation and expenses management
  • Writing reports on programmes for donors
  • Writing social media content based on programmes reports
  • Preparing grant proposals and budgets for potential donors
  • Grant administration
  • Providing regular updates to the team based on policy and geo-political changes
  • Minute-taking at meetings
  • Internal communication across Advocacy and Communications teams
  • Field new enquiries to Help Refugees Programmes team
  • Supporting Help Refugees’ field team in Calais and Greece with ad-hoc needs
  • Assisting Head of Programmes and COO with due diligence and compliance for new grants


Essential skills:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively with the team as well as external contacts in a confident and professional manner
  • Highly IT literate with an ability to learn new software quickly; excellent understanding of Microsoft Office and G Suite (Google apps)
  • Excellent administrative and time management skills
  • Meticulous with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Highly organised and structured, but also willing and able to adapt to changing priorities and different team members’ needs
  • Interest in migration and refugee issues, with a passion in supporting effective grassroots organisations and long-term solutions
  • Enthusiastic and positive attitude, flexible and adaptable
  • Collaborative team player who is willing to support whatever the greatest needs are in the Help Refugees team
  • Ability to use own initiative to ensure all tasks are met

 

Desired

  • Experience writing grant proposals
  • Experience with programme budgeting
  • Language skills
  • Experience using a CRM system e.g. Salesforce

 

We are committed to providing equality and fairness for all and not discriminating on grounds of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, mental health, religion or age. We encourage and celebrate the different qualities that our colleagues, and others we work with, bring to our work. And we believe that seeing things from a wide range of different perspectives helps us to resolve problems, adapt our approaches and develop as an organisation. We want to bring greater diversity to our team and we are keen to receive applications from people who believe they would do this.

 

To apply for this position please send your CV and brief cover letter to projects@helprefugees.org with the subject line “Programmes Officer Application”.

Applications close on 28th February 2019

Start date – ASAP

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Women in Calais

According to the UNHCR, women and girls make up around 50 percent of refugee, internally displaced and stateless populations. Those who are unaccompanied, pregnant women, heads of households, the disabled and the elderly are especially vulnerable. 

 

On their journeys to safety, displaced women and girls are likely to have faced abuse, sexual violence, and exploitation. The UN reports that 60 percent of preventable maternal deaths take place in humanitarian settings, and at least 1 in 5 displaced women are estimated to have experienced sexual violence.

 

For the past few months I have been working with several women and families living in camps around Calais. Although there are only between 5 and 10 women, and a handful of families living outside in Calais, they camp alongside hundreds of men all trying to cross the border to the UK.

 

Added to the daily turmoil people face living outside in makeshift camps – staying warm, accessing food, water and showers, avoiding police harassment – women here are vulnerable to gender-based violence, exploitation and everyday misogyny. As a female volunteer, the experience of being surrounded by large groups of men can, at times, be intimidating. It is impossible to fathom how it must feel as a woman living in such a disproportionate setting.

 

This is not to overshadow the experiences of the displaced male population in Calais. A recent report published by the Human Rights Observers team in Calais documents that between 1 November 2017 and 1 November 2018 there were 972 incidents reported relating to disproportionate physical violence, the use of teargas, destruction of personal property and other rights abuses by French police.

 

Lack of shelter and adequate sanitation, forced clearances occurring every other day, and police abuses of power such as the use of chemical agents and arbitrary arrests, combine to make the camps’ living environments impossible for both men and women – severely damaging their mental and physical health. But women and families face an additional set of challenges in comparison to men in the hostile environment, and must not be forgotten in the story of Calais.

 

In France’s official accommodation centres for asylum seekers, living conditions are similarly inadequate: we have heard reports of cockroaches, a single room for a five-person family and no food provisions or follow-up support. There is also a lack of information within the registration process, so many women and families are unwilling to put themselves forward because they are uncertain of where it will place them legally or of what happens if they are evicted from a centre (or indeed if they leave of their own volition).

 

A family from Kurdish Iraq refuse to go to an accommodation centre, knowing that to go through the process would stall their journey to the UK. Instead they stay, as the only family in a camp of 100 men, steeling themselves against the fast approaching winter. The four children regularly fall over in the mud as they run around playing, and their mother has no access to clothes washing facilities. Her youngest, just three years old, repeatedly stands in human faeces. They camp next to a busy road, and both parents are always watching out for their kids running across, at risk of seriously injuring themselves in an accident.

 

I play a game with the 8-year old daughter. She runs off, and I can’t find her for a minute. I panic, and later realise this panic must be a constant for the parents, and how this must shape their interactions with their children, and their own mental health. The oldest son, 13, has stepped up to watch over his younger siblings, and he speaks English incredibly well. He should be in school learning, not carrying the responsibility of being the translator for his family’s interactions with charity representatives.

 

 

Five Ethiopian women meet us on an unlit street in winter’s afternoon darkness, near to the toilets used by two camps of over 300 men. According to international guidelines, male and female toilets in refugee camps are supposed to be separate and marked as such. The doors are also supposed to have locks to prevent sexual attacks. But in Calais, with no formal refugee camp for those attempting to reach the UK, women must share toilets with men, and have no access to proper washing facilities. This increases an already higher risk of experiencing gender based violence or sexual abuse. Without the money to pay off a smuggler, the women regularly attempt to jump on lorries, just as the men in their community do, and all have travelled independently from their country.

 

A woman from Iran draws a love heart in the sand. She writes two initials inside it; the first letter of the names of her husband and her child. She left them behind in Iran, and hopes to be reunited with them when she reaches the UK. But for now she is trapped in the purgatory that is Calais, pretending her friend is her husband, in order to protect herself in the male-dominated camp. She will have the option of family reunification only after she arrives in Britain, but it is impossible to know when that will be, as she must first risk her life to get there, denied the option of claiming asylum from this border.

 

These stories highlight the need for the UK to offer a safe passage for all people where the border is controlled in Northern France. At the moment, people risk their lives jumping on trucks, climbing aboard ferries, even, in recent weeks, sailing across on small boats. In 2015 a Syrian child washed up on Greek shores and made international headlines. Must we only accept responsibility when the same happens on the shores of Kent?

 

Though very little statistical information on refugee women is available, those statistics that are accessible indicate the depths of indignity, fear and violence that vulnerable women face in their journeys to safety:

 

  • Sexual and gender-based violence: GBV in refugee camps, though also under-reported, remains a key concern for vulnerable women with justified fears of rape and other forms of GBV, with one in four cases reported being sexual violence.
  • Early and forced marriage: statistics on early and forced marriage amongst the Syrian refugee community in Jordan, for instance, indicate the extent of the trend. In 2013, of the 2,936 registered marriages of Syrians in Jordan, approximately 25% involved a Syrian child between the ages of 15-17 and the majority of these children are girls. Refugee camps are woefully under-equipped and over-subscribed, and are unable to provide adequate support to vulnerable girls getting married at a young age.
  • Sexual and reproductive health: the use of contraceptives amongst vulnerable Syrian women has dropped from pre-civil war rates in Syria, which used to be in the region of 60%, to only 34% amongst refugee women in Lebanon. Less than 70% of Syrian women refugees surveyed have any knowledge of family planning and how it can be accessed, demonstrating a widening information gap which speaks to a lack of awareness amongst Syrian women in Lebanon.
  • Safety in host countries: in a study conducted by the IRC that interviewed 135 female heads of household taking refuge in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, approximately half of participants left the house less in their host country than when they were living in Syria, as well as reporting feeling isolated and imprisoned in their own homes. Further, 60% of women expressed feelings of insecurity, and one in three women stated that they felt too scared or overwhelmed to leave their homes at all, often a result of refugee women living in insecure and temporary housing with poor security.

 

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Uprisings in Sudan

A civil rights revolution is taking place in Sudan, with hundreds of protests across the country since mid-December 2018. Governmental security forces have been responding with a show of strength in a brutal campaign of violence and harassment.

There have been reports from inside the country of excessive use of teargas and live ammunition, torture and illegal detainment. Journalists have been arrested and university buildings have been shut down. According to opposition groups, over fifty people have now been killed. Protester and recent university graduate, Abdul-Metaal Saboun, told Associated Press he was detained and tortured for three days for taking part in a demonstration, but that he has not been discouraged. “We have no choice but to resist”, he said; “there is nothing that makes me frightened of them anymore”.

Like Saboun many of those protesting in Sudan are young, in their 20s and 30s, which has led to comparisons with the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. Demonstrations were initially triggered by measures taken in the face of worsening economic conditions (such as the tripling of the price of bread), following the loss of 75% of the country’s oil reserves when South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011. These oil fields accounted for 50% of Sudan’s GDP at the time of the secession and as a result inflation has risen dramatically over the last eight years. Half of Sudan’s population now lives below the poverty line.

Following the outrage over the rising cost of basic commodities, demonstrations countrywide have grown to incorporate grievances of all kinds. As with the Arab Spring, protesters are calling for increased individual freedoms and recognition of their human rights. President Omar al-Bashir – who has been in power for almost three decades – is refusing to step down despite repeated calls for him to do so.

UNICEF is calling on Sudanese authorities to prioritise the protection and safeguarding of children – after reports that some minors have been killed – and to ensure the upholding of their rights and access to both education and health in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to Jehanne Henry of Human Rights Watch, “the longer the protests go on, the more violence and abuses we might see the Sudanese government use… the government uses the same sorts of tactics every time there are protests. The risk is that it will get bloodier”.

If al-Bashir does resign, says the the International Crisis Group, a democratic change in leadership may allow for a peaceful transition. The Group is pushing for international governments to create incentives for al-Bashir to step down.

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Open letter: Home Office’s ‘Joint Action Plan’ ignores international law

The “Joint action plan by the UK and France on combating illegal migration involving small boats in the English Channel” sea crossings is, primarily, a symptom of the desperation, untenable conditions and lack of safe and effective routes to seek asylum faced by displaced people in Northern France. Until these root causes are addressed, asylum seekers will continue to take perilous journeys in their attempt to seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom.

 

The right to seek asylum

The 1951 Refugee Convention and the subsequent 1967 Protocol, ratified by both the UK and France, assert and protect the right of individuals to seek asylum. Yet you consistently refer to the women, children and men in the Northern France area as ‘illegal migrants’. We would like to remind you of your obligation to assess each displaced person’s asylum claim, before pre-judging the outcome and assigning them a certain legal status. The majority of the displaced community in Northern France originate from countries that are well-known for their persecution (including, but not limited to, Iran and Eritrea) and others plagued by war, conflict and generalised violence (including, but not limited to, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Sudan).

According to §14 of the ‘Joint Action Plan’, and if recent media reports are to be trusted, you will be sending asylum-seekers back to France without allowing them to have their claims assessed adequately in Britain. This violates both their rights and the UK’s obligations, as established above. Those who arrive by boat have the same right to have their asylum claim fairly assessed, as do others arriving by different means.

The UK in Northern France: spending and securitisation

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We have seen little evidence of the £3.6 million Development Fund, allocated by the Sandhurst Treaty in January 2018 to improve the process for those seeking asylum in the UK, in action.

The UK has spent, and continues to spend, vast sums of money on policies in Northern France thatneither support the displaced population nor address the causes of their irregular crossings. There has been little evidence of the £3.6 million Development Fund, allocated by the Sandhurst Treaty in January 2018, in action. Organisations on the ground, including those who have co-signed this letter, affirm that its impact on asylum procedures and the living conditions for those in Northern France has been negligible at best.

The Joint Action Plan commits a further £6m of public funds to fortifying the border, and thus perpetuates the British government’s prioritisation of a buttressed concept of state security over the rights and protection of vulnerable individuals.

We further note with concern that, in §6, the signatories appear to conflate such spending with the protection of Britain from terrorism. This contributes to the legitimisation of rhetoric which collapses the topics of asylum, migration and counter-terrorism into one, and narratives which frame asylum-seekers as a threat to public safety.

In §2, you assert that recent security measures have been a ‘success’, but also note that they are one of the reasons that individuals have attempted perilous journeys across the Channel in order to seek asylum. In short, it follows that the measures have succeeded in pushing vulnerable individuals to take greater risks and forcing smuggling networks further underground.

Furthermore, such a claim seeks to detach the dire conditions in Northern France from the reasons that drive people in to small boats at night. By placing the emphasis on the evasion of border security, it removes individuals’ actions from the context in which they exist. In Northern France, that is one characterised by ongoing police violence and harassment; a lack of effective access to asylum procedures; and a profound lack of shelter and support for vulnerable people.

Prior experience of destitution and precarity elsewhere in Europe, coupled with the knowledge that any informal settlements and shelters re-emerging in the Northern France area would be imminently demolished, seems to be a key motivator for displaced individuals to accept any possible ‘exit plan’ available. The ongoing government response to human suffering in Northern France appears to consist of dispersals and push-backs, arbitrary detention and removals, evictions and demolitions, the blocking of humanitarian aid, sanitation and medical care, potentially intentional sleep deprivation and the overall criminalisation of solidarity. This raft of measures has contributed to the continuous application of structural and physical violence against displaced people in the area, driving individuals to take desperate measures.

Strategic communication

It is of utmost importance that the ‘strategic communication campaign’ referred to in §13 has, as its ultimate aim, the goal of ensuring that vulnerable individuals are familiar with and can access the support that they need, including the processes by which they can seek asylum in the UK (including Dublin III and s. 67) or in France. It must be designed in collaboration with aid groups operating in the Northern France, and ensure that any information is presented in an accessible, sensitive and child-friendly manner.

In sum, your approach chooses to ignore not only international law, but also the wider context of asylum in Europe, and asylum seekers’ individual circumstances. We invite you to enter into dialogue with us about these matters.

Sincerely,

Refugee Rights Europe

Help Refugees

Refugee Infobus

Refugee Youth Service

Utopia 56

L’Auberge des Migrants

Refugee Community Kitchen

School Bus Project

Refugee Women’s Centre

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80,000 Nigerians displaced

Since November last year there has been an increase in clashes between rebel groups and the military in Nigeria, mainly in Borno State, leading to 80,000 people being forced to flee their homes to seek safety elsewhere. This is in addition to the 1.8 million who have already been displaced internally by conflict in recent years. A further 6,000 people – most of whom are women and children – have fled across the border to Chad to take refuge in the region surrounding Lake Chad.

Of those “on the move” inside Nigeria, the UNHCR has reported that 312,000 people are in need of immediate, life-saving care. Humanitarian teams on the ground are also concerned that the Presidential elections on 16th February will result in increased fighting and violence, contributing to further injury, insecurity and displacement across the country. The UN has made statements requesting that all those involved in fighting work to protect civilians and uphold international law.

Throughout 2018 Nigeria experienced several bouts of violence, due for the most part to competition for water and land resources. Hostility was exacerbated by dissatisfaction with the ruling president, Muhammadu Buhari, and his party, the APC.

Earlier this year the IRC placed Nigeria in the top ten of those countries most at-risk of humanitarian disaster in 2019, just behind Syria and the Central African Republic.

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The impact of indefinite detention: an introduction

‘They treat us like animals, what do we have? …I don’t know when I am going to go out, its like hell over here’ (Asylum Seeker, Harmondsworth Detention Centre)

The UK has one of the largest immigration detention complexes in Europe: in 2017, more than 26,000 people entered detention, and some 2,500 – 3,000 people are held at any given time. Yet unlike any other country in Europe, the UK’s immigration system has no time limit for detention, leaving vulnerable people trapped in an uncertain limbo.

People can legally be held in immigration detention if their asylum applications are being processed or have been refused by the Home Office. Last year, more than a quarter of detainees were held for one to four months, and almost two thousand people were detained for more than four months. As of 30 June 2017, the longest detention time was 1,514 days – more than four years – a figure that massively surpasses other European detention standards, such as the 32-day detention limit in France and six-week detention limit in Germany.

Detention, abuse and mental health

The harm caused by such lengthy deprivations of liberty is compounded by the fact that those claiming asylum are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population.

An ‘adults at risk’ framework was created in 2016 to ensure that ‘genuine cases of vulnerability are consistently identified’ and ‘vulnerable people are not detained inappropriately’.

However, this framework has failed to protect victims of torture, sexual or gender-based violence, human trafficking and modern slavery, all of whom continue to be detained in unacceptable conditions, lacking the specialised support that they require, for prolonged amounts of time.

indefinite detention suicides

A truly shocking statistic: there were two suicide attempts by detainees every day last year.

Indefinite detention has a devastating impact on the mental health of detainees. Self-harm is common; last year, there were two suicide attempts by detainees each day, and eleven deaths. A BBC Panorama investigation included shocking footage of the abusive treatment faced by asylum seekers at Brook House Detention centre in September 2017. Recordings showed an officer appearing to throttle one man and threatening to put him to sleep. Additional footage showed serious verbal assaults and psychological abuse towards detainees.

Complaints of sexual mistreatment and violence by staff at Yarl’s Wood, a detention centre housing women and families, are ongoing. Recent reports include guards propositioning women for sex and humiliating them during strip-searches.

Unlawful detention

It has recently been revealed that the Home Office has unlawfully held individuals in detention, after Courts have ruled that they can be released. This is due to Home Office failures to provide accommodation for asylum seekers, despite having a legal duty to do so. Their defence? That emergency housing is ‘not dissimilar’ to detention, save for the deprivation of detainees’ liberty.

Taken with the fact that asylum accommodation has been reported as ‘damp, dirty [and] vermin infested’, and that detention centres have been ruled ‘prison-like’, we are presented with a damning picture of Britain’s attitudes towards vulnerable asylum seekers.

One asylum seeker, who was granted bail after spending 10 months in detention, was rejected for accommodation by the Home Office on the grounds that he ‘was not destitute by the fact he is being housed [in detention] and his dietary needs are catered to’.

The letter drew similarities between the facilities in detention and asylum accommodation, arguing the main difference to be the ‘lack of liberty’. This inhumane disregard for a person’s freedom has enormous costs, both mental (to the detainee) and financial (to the taxpayer): beyond the immediate costs of incarceration, the Home Office has paid £21m in compensation in the past five years alone for holding people in unlawful and prolonged detention.

If individuals are released, huge backlogs of work and severe staff shortages have resulted in multiple failures by the Home Office in providing accommodation. In January, the government repealed a law that had allowed homeless detainees to apply for accommodation whilst still in detention, leaving many on the streets, reliant on the good will of charities and individuals for food and housing.

The campaign to end detention

A tentative step forward has been identified in the government’s recent announcement that Campsfield detention centre will close by May 2019, an encouraging step by Home Secretary Sajid Javid to reduce the number of people detained at any given time.

The decision marks a move towards reducing the Home Office’s targets by almost 40% and has meant nearly 300 less bed spaces in the UK’s detention domain. However, civil society organisations have expressed concern that these beds may instead be replaced in plans for expanded detention centres at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Compassion and understanding should be at the heart of our immigration and asylum policies. Instead, the detention of refugees and migrants is a manifestation of systemic disregard for the wellbeing of vulnerable individuals.  Until an alternative is implemented, it will continue to produce heart-breaking and unnecessary consequences.

This article has been written by Maddie Grounds, political correspondent at the Immigration Advice Service, for Help Refugees.

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An offer for the Home Secretary

Over the last few weeks we have become increasingly concerned at the statements coming from the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. In response, our partners Good Chance Theatre have made him an offer he can’t refuse.

Good Chance have have sent a letter to the Home Secretary offering to organise a special performance of The Jungle Play so that he can learn about the histories of the people who are making these journeys, and meet people who have themselves come through Calais and are now working and succeeding in the UK.

We’ve offered to give a presentation on the deteriorating conditions and hostile environment in Northern France forcing people to risk their lives in search of safety in the UK.

The posts are gaining traction but we need your support. Together we want to #StartAConversation about why people seek asylum, worsening conditions in Calais causing people to risk their lives & help more people better understand the human beings behind the headlines.

Will you retweet the post, and urge the Home Secretary to accept our offer? 

 

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UN member states adopt global migration pact

In a historic turn of events, a global migration deal – the very first international deal pertaining to the recent migration crisis – aiming to “prevent suffering and chaos” for migrants was agreed upon on Monday at an intergovernmental conference in Morocco.  

Leaders from 164 UN countries signed the non-legally binding agreement, which looks to better coordinate migration issues at local, national, regional and global levels. This will include increased focus on tackling the dangers refugees and migrants are faced with while on the move.

According to IOM more than 3,300 people have died in the process of migrating towards an international destination in 2018. Since the year 2000, this number amounts to more than 60,000 people. It is hoped that if upheld the global migration compact will go a long way towards reducing these numbers by encouraging policies for safe, legal migration. It serves to reinforce the fundamental principle of the right to fair and dignified movement across borders for all people.

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, said at the conference that “migration has always been with us. But in a world where it is ever more inevitable and necessary, it should be well managed and safe, not irregular and dangerous. National policies are far more likely to succeed with international cooperation.”

The USA has refused to sign the deal, along with Australia, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Chile and the Dominican Republic. Switzerland, Israel and Italy have yet to decide whether or not they too will back out of the agreement. Despite Donald Trump’s lack of support, the UN General Assembly is expected to meet in New York on 19th December to formally adopt a resolution endorsing the deal.

You can read the final draft of the compact here, and the UN’s own coverage of the meeting here.

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