Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network held its inaugural meeting on 9 December 2006
Aims of QARN
1) To work to change the way that Refugees and Asylum Seekers (whether recognized under UN Convention on the Status of Refugees or not) are treated, to ensure that justice and compassion are the guiding principles.
2) To support each other as Friends acting under concern.
3) To keep Friends in our Meetings up to date with developments.
4) To work to convince British Quakers that a principled critique of current Asylum Policy should be part of our Corporate Quaker witness, in keeping with our Testimony to Equality.
5) To Guide Britain Yearly Meeting, now that Sufferings have accepted that Asylum is a concern, to help them to work effectively for justice and compassion in our asylum and immigration system.
For information about Quakers, see the Britain Yearly Meeting Quaker website: http://www.quaker.org.uk/.
On 2 December 2017 Meeting for Sufferings formally minuted that QARN (Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network) is a Quaker recognised body (QRB).
Meeting for Sufferings (MfS) is the standing representative body entrusted with the care of the business of the Britain Yearly Meeting through the year. This first met in 1675. Its original purposes included obtaining redress from both Parliament in cases of individual suffering and seeking to liberalise the laws relating to religious toleration.
Meeting for Sufferings minute – 3 November 2007:
We are encouraged and challenged by the work of QARN, and support their call to all Quakers to work to convince the public and our government of the need to change the way that asylum seekers are treated, to ensure that justice and compassion are the guiding principles.
We are outraged at the way our society treats most asylum seekers and refugees.
Let us add a strong voice to those of churches, charity organisations such as Amnesty International, MPs and others who are working for change. .
We hope that Friends everywhere will take to heart the urgent need of refugees and asylum seekers for friendship and neighbourliness, and remember the words of George Fox to “be patterns and examples “ in expressing in practical ways our care for those newly arrived in this country.
Sufferings Dec 2009:
S/09/12/7: Minutes & Correspondence
i Area Meeting Minutes
a) Bristol AM: Colnbrook Detention Centre
Further to our minute S/09/04/8c), we return to minute 27/09 of Bristol Area Meeting held 19 February 2009 concerning Colnbrook Detention Centre (paper S/09/04/mc i b).
b) Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
Sheila Mosley of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network, has introduced the minutes from the QARN meeting held 17 October 2009 (paper S/09/12/ mc i b), and has summarised QARN’s views on the priorities for action especially on the detention of children and indefinite detention.
We would like to support greater awareness-raising among Friends about the issues facing asylum-seekers. QARN membership is open to all and they are willing to provide speakers for meetings. We are encouraged to take action individually and as meetings to give practical help to asylum-seekers and to support campaigns such as Outcry on their behalf. We would also like to make some kind of public statement on detention and ask the Recording Clerk to report on this to us early in 2010.
Sufferings March 2010
S/10/03/ 9: Detention: proposal for BYM campaign on detention of children in immigration removal centres
Further to our minutes S/09/12/7 i a) and b) of 5 December 2009, and S/10/01/4 i a) of 15-17 January 2010, Marigold Bentley of Quaker Peace & Social Witness, has introduced a paper on detention of children within the asylum system (paper S/10/03/A).
We agree to the letter being sent and made public for a wide dissemination of a Quaker voice on this matter. We welcome the strategy suggested in the paper, particularly seeking alternatives to detaining children, who need to be protected and kept with their families. We ask Friends to use this letter in canvassing Parliamentary candidates at this time.
QUAKER ASYLUM AND REFUGEE NETWORK
RULES AND CONSTITUTION
Adopted 30 June 2007, and amended on 13 April 2013
Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network is a national network of Quakers with a concern about people seeking asylum, refugees and others in need of international protection. We are a Listed Informal Group within Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers.)
Aims: To support each other as Friends acting under concern; to keep Friends in our meetings up to date with developments and to work to convince British Quakers that a principled critique of current asylum policy and practice grounded in experience and action should be part of our corporate Quaker witness in keeping with our testimony to equality. To guide Britain Yearly Meeting now that Sufferings have acepted that Asylum is a concern, to help them to work for justice and compassion in our asylum and immigration system.
Activities: As required to meet the above aims.
Membership: Any Friend or attender is eligible to attend our meetings. Others may be invited to attend, normally as observers.
Meetings: These are held as and when required, normally quarterly, and at least once a year. (Annual General Meeting). These are publicised through the E-mail group at least a month in advance, and must be attended by at least 6 Friends or attenders to be quorate.
Officers: The meeting appoints a Steering Group of 3 people, and a Treasurer. Each officer normally serves for 3 years. However, the meeting may end any appointment at an earlier date, or reappoint at the end of a 3 year period. No-one may serve in the same post for more than 6 years.
The meeting may appoint any sub-committee as and when required, and may also lay down any sub-committee.
Accounts: The financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Accounts are presented to a meeting in the following year, and are sent to Britain Yearly Meeting for information. Information on our finances is also given to Britain Yearly Meeting on request.
Bank accounts: We have an account with Nationwide. We have two signatories. 2 signatures are required on all cheques. Those present at the Annual General Meeting should be reminded of the names of cheque signatories, and changes can be agreed at the AGM, or by officers and confirmed at a quarterly meeting if changes are needed at other times.
Winding up: If the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network ceases to exist (ie does not have at least one meeting a year) or it is decided at a meeting of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network to cease to exist, then any funds go to Britain Yearly Meeting. BYM are asked if practical to use the money for work on asylum.
Contact details: Website – www.qarn.org.uk
Contact details that may be subject to change:
Postal address – c/o Sheila Mosley, Leicester Quakers, 16, Queens Road, Leicester LE2 1WP
E-mail address – email@example.com
Phone: 07751 888391 (Sheila Mosley)
We keep in contact through an E-mail group – Anyone wishing to join the group should email Sheila Mosley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions:
What can I do to help?
- There is a list of suggestions here: http://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/category/what-can-you-do/
I want to offer a room to a refugee. Who can I contact?
Spare Room for Destitute Forced Migrants http://www.spare-room.org/ [mostly London];
NACCCOM– a national informal network http://naccom.org.uk/ which has a map of all the locations of hosting schemes.
- There are a number of organisations collecting offers of help however the situation is changing quickly, and there is no centrally co-ordinated list.
- Local Councils are going to be co-ordinating the response and so at this time, we suggest you contact your own Council to make an offer.
- There are many asylum seekers (not refugees with status) who are destitute and therefore in need of this kind of support, coming from various parts of the world.
This is a useful list from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/11/how-do-i-offer-a-room-to-a-refugee
We want to take some clothes etc to Calais. How do we go about it?
- Problems have arisen when people have turned up with supplies, and so we recommend that people go through organisations that have people in Calais who can distribute supplies
- The Cal Aid group urges Britons not to drive to Calais after convoy situation Cal Aid
- · On Calais some local organisations have reached saturation point on goods – storage space is limited – and are asking for cash and for volunteers who can stay and help.
If I make a donation to QARN how might it be used?
- We are all volunteers but we have core expenses mostly for travelling to meetings of QARN, and when we attend meetings with other organisations. The core funding also pays for the website.
- We hope to organise a trip to Calais later in 2015 so that we can witness from personal experience. This will incur expense.
- QARN is beginning to plan a Conference in 2017.
How can I make a donation to QARN?
- You can send a cheque, made payable to ‘Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network’, to:
c/o Central England Area Meeting,
Quaker Meeting House
40 Bull Street,
We want advice about which organisation to donate to. Can you help?
- QARN members live around the UK and are involved in a wide variety of work. We would usually be able to give you some ideas.
Can you help us find an asylum seeker to speak at an event?
- QARN members may be able to help with this, or contact RAPAR: http://www.rapar.org.uk/
I have an idea about what QARN could do, Who do I contact?
- We welcome ideas. Please bear in mind that the work we undertake is done in our personal time. QARN has a list of Aims here: http://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/about/. Discussion takes place through our email group, but decisions about new strands of activity are usually made during our quarterly meetings. Feel free to join us on the email group or at our meetings. You can contact us through email@example.com
- The Network is useful for those who want to contact other Quakers so that they can organise as individuals working together independently of QARN.
- QARN’s activities are broader than responding to the current crisis, often involved detailed paperwork. Taking on any new work is subject to discernment in a gathered meeting and an expansion of this depends on the number of people available to take on the work. An increase in our work would only be possible if more people become actively involved in the long term and would be prepared to support this broader work long-term.