We want a much kinder, fairer and more effective approach to supporting refugees in the UK. Unfortunately, the Nationality and Borders Bill introduced to Parliament in July 2021 is an Anti-Refugee Bill that has been designed to divide us.
We are part of a national coalition of over 300 organisations standing #TogetherWithRefugees in opposition to the Bill because there is so much wrong with it. Here are just a few things:
- People who arrive by irregular routes (ie in lorries or boats) would get their claim for asylum deemed inadmissible (regardless of their need for protection) and made to return to a “safe third country”. Those who can’t be removed – and no EU country has yet agreed to take people back – will have severely restricted rights and be left in limbo.
- People seeking sanctuary will be placed in institutional reception centres which have historically meant people living in appalling and dangerous conditions. If they are allowed to live in the community, they can receive more support and start to rebuild their lives
- Powers to send people seeking asylum for ‘off-shore processing’ – an inhumane policy that is unlikely to be workable
- A lack of safe routes with no firm commitments in the Bill on refugees coming to the UK through organised international resettlement programmes or family reunion.
- Criminalising people helping people seeking sanctuary reach the UK via irregular routes, including refugees themselves, or others providing help by saving people from drowning, such a the RNLI.
Even the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has taken the unusual step of strongly and publicly opposing the plans:
“UNHCR is concerned that the plan, if implemented as it stands, will undermine the 1951 Convention and international protection system, not just in the UK, but globally.”
A week of action 18-24 October
City of Sanctuary is joining with #TogetherWithRefugees for a week of action from 18-24 October. That is when MPs return to Parliament after the party conferences, and the Bill moves to its next stage.
Together with University of Sussex and other local groups we formed a huge, orange, human heart on Brighton Beach on 17 October to show the world that Brighton & Hove is Together with Refugees.
If this Bill goes through, it will break so many international treaties that our reputation around the world will be as ruined as the West Pier!
Please watch this great short video of the event.
What else can you do?
- Find out why this is an Anti-Refugee Bill and why it won’t fix the UK’s broken asylum system. It’s complicated, so Asylum Welcome have done a nice 90 second explainer
- Sign up your group or organisation to the 300+ strong coalition campaign Together with Refugees. Any organisation can join – from your voluntary group or charity to your workplace, or Trade Union /Professional Association branch.
- Make your voice heard by signing a petition
- Send a letter to your MP and – even better – ask for a meeting to raise your concerns. This guide can help.
- Display the Orange Heart which represents compassion for people fleeing war and persecution.
- Join the Welcome Refugees 2021 rally outside Parliament 4.30 to 6.30pm, 20 October! Together With Refugees is organising a rally for everyone ‘to show the Government that we oppose this Bill, and that we want to live in a humane and welcoming society’. You can find more details here.
We are determined to defeat this anti-refugee Bill!