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Young Syrian singers star at Sanctuary in Parliament 2017

A song recital (VIDEO) by eight young members of the Sussex Syrian Community Group was the highlight of this year’s Sanctuary in Parliament.

The young people formed part of a delegation from Sanctuary on Sea, joining City of Sanctuary groups from across the country in the Palace of Westminster to call for a more humane asylum system.

Organised by City of Sanctuary, Asylum Matters and other partners, the day-long “Dignity Not Destitution” event aimed to  build support for an end to government asylum policies that are causing poverty and homelessness.

Luqman and Mamadou, who have both experienced destitution

The Sanctuary on Sea group met Caroline Lucas, MP, and Peter Kyle, MP and told them about their experience of enforced destitution and poverty, as well as the contribution they are making to UK society.

Caroline Lucas, MP, said, “It was great to attend the annual Sanctuary in Parliament event this week – and to meet refugees and their supporters from across the country and the world. The first-hand accounts from refugees were incredibly powerful, and made me really proud of Brighton and Hove for being a city of sanctuary and welcoming people fleeing war and persecution. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with those involved in the City of Sanctuary in the year to come, and taking to Parliament their arguments for better treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.”

Richard Williams, Chair of Sanctuary on Sea, said, “We are incredibly proud of the Syrian children from Sussex who sang in Parliament and showed how young refugees can thrive, when offered sanctuary. We also believe it is vital that MPs are made aware of the misery that our asylum system inflicts on people who come here seeking safety.”

Rossel, 15, said, “We sang three songs about our country, Syria, and they all described our love and how much we appreciate how we are Syrians, even though we are refugees. It showed people that even if we are refugees, we can still be powerful, not by killing people or doing something bad, but by singing.”

This Destitution Briefing and shorter Destitution Policy Guide describe how UK asylum policy inflicts terrible hardship on people who have come to the UK seeking sanctuary and set out  the actions that City of Sanctuary is calling on MPs to take.