QARN Leaflets: Download them here

8 February 2024: Please note that in our leaflet: ‘QARN – What do Quakers hope for, after the 2024 General Election‘, we mention a model letter for MPs. We have instead produced a crib sheet to highlight the concerns raised in the leaflet, in the hope that people can use this to write to/ speak with prospective MPs or wherever it is useful.

QARN What do Quakers hope for, after the 2024 General Election – leaflets you can download and print off:

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Migration and Peace in Europe

Migration and Peace in Europe: Woodbrooke, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network and Quaker Council for European Affairs working in partnership: This course runs 11 June – 2 July 2024 on Zoom

What are the links between migration and peace? This course, led by the Quaker Asylum Refugee Network and Saskia Basa, Migration and Peace Coordinator at the Quaker Council of European Affairs, will seek to answer this question.

The live Zoom sessions are every Tuesday at 18:30-20:00 (UK time)

The course is co-ordinated by Saskia Basa – QCEA, and Catherine Henderson – QARN

For more information and to book a place, please find more information here: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/courses/migration-and-peace-in-europe/

Refugees, Migrants and Friends

On Saturday 22 June 2024 10am to 4pm: Join the Quaker Asylum Refugee Network (QARN) at Friends House in London for ‘Refugees, Migrants and Friends’. 

The event will enable attendees to hear from people working to transform asylum and migration policies in the UK; listen to recommendations from people with lived experience of the asylum system; and share information on local practical solidarity actions.

The event takes place at Friends House, NW1 2BJ

All are welcome and tickets are available here.

QARN next meetings

QARN meetings: next planned meeting dates: on Zoom on Saturdays: July 6th 2024 to include the AGM which will be a blended meeting held face-to-face between 11am and 4pm at Bradford-on-Avon Meeting as well as on Zoom,   and thereafter on Zoom on October 12th, and January 11th 2025.

We usually meet quarterly using Zoom and all Quakers are welcome. We plan to start at 10.30am to manage the technical aspects of a Zoom meeting, falling quiet at around 10.45am, and beginning business at 11am; and we aim to end around 12.30pm. The meeting link will  be available to those who receive our emails, but for other people, please contact us via info@qarn.org.uk giving your name, and the Quaker Meeting to which you are attached. Thank you.

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Refugees at Home

May 2024: Refugees at Home: Deportations to Rwanda may be on hold and new detentions of asylum-seekers likewise – at least until July 5th – but there are still many refugees and asylum-seekers destitute, homeless and in need of help.

There is a fine Quaker tradition, going back generations, of assisting this community and of hosting people too.

And there is a huge demand, right now, for welcoming hosts, who might have a spare room in a town or city. (guests tend to get nervous in the country, with little transport, away from their communities and with no access to, for instance, Halal meat or Eritrean churches)

We have had many Quaker hosts at Refugees at Home and hope to welcome more.

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JCWI: We Move A manifesto for migrant justice

JCWI: We Move A manifesto for migrant justice:

Right now, migrants in our communities are under attack. But we know that things don’t have to be this way.

We can and must fight for justice for people who move. This manifesto lays out a roadmap towards achieving the fairer society we all deserve.

This manifesto calls for:
1. Rights – Everyone should be able to thrive, no matter where we’re from
2. Safety – We must welcome people who seek sanctuary on our shores
3. Dignity – We all deserve to live with dignity and feel safe in our homes and workplaces
4. Justice – We should all be able to defend our rights and hold the government accountable
5. Community – We all deserve to find care and belonging

Read more here: https://jcwi.org.uk/manifesto/

Leaders should finally tell us the truth about migration: it’s here for good

7 June 2024: Guardian: Leaders should finally tell us the truth about migration: it’s here for good

It’s time to resist the right’s narrative of immigration as aberration. Nations thrive on it – and they always have done

The state is an invention. It’s a bureaucratic tool of governance for an arbitrarily defined landmass; an artifice made convincing through emotive storytelling. Although many countries have their “long, long ago” symbolic foundation story, in truth the vast majority of them have only existed as independent constitutions for a matter of decades. We, the nationals, are the result of millennia of migrations of ancestral hunter-gatherers, herders, farmers, merchants, students, industrialists; of colonists and colonisers; of people invading, fleeing, crusading, exploring, roaming, slave-trading; uprooted for war, work, fortune and love. The dense interconnectedness of the human family, our genetic similarity, means that in terms of our biology, there are no different races. We can all claim ancestry from across the world.

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General Election 2024

You or your Meeting may be reaching out to election candidates, raising concerns about the need for fair and compassionate policies for refugees and asylum seekers. QARN has a couple of leaflets that might be useful:

  • A one-page set of recommendations for a more supportive environment: See here.
  •  A further 4-page briefing giving more detail and background on these recommendations: Longer briefing

There is also a webpage on the Quakers in Britain site with suggestions on how to reach out to candidates with regard to Quaker concerns, including a template email for individuals or Meetings to contact their candidates.

There are many other resources on our website on migration and asylum rights, and you can also contact us at info@qarn.org.uk.


People may find this useful: https://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/commentaries/uk-election-2024-immigration-policy-tracker/

Remembering Crystal Dickinson who died 10 May 2024

Crystal Dickinson was engaged with QARN in its early days, from 2009. As a founder member of Yarls Wood Befrienders, and their first Chair 2001-2004  she had a great concern for the women held in detention in the centre, and demonstrated her concern in very practical ways. One reminisced on how she had brought her much needed and appreciated toiletries every week. 

Crystal  also supported QARNs advocacy work and  gave evidence from her own experience for QARNs submissions to parliamentary committees.  She had a wide ranging interest in asylum and migration issues.  She sometimes wrote think pieces for discussion.

She was a stalwart activist, participating in protests and demonstrations, wearing a hoodie with QARN insignia and carrying a board she had designed herself. When COVID arrived and in-person meetings were no longer possible  Crystal wrote that she would set aside a particular day and time and invited Friends to join her in holding one another in the light in those dark days.

Crystal will be remembered with affection for her thought-provoking, quirky and direct input, and she will be missed by so many for her warmth and humanity, and  her steadfast commitment over many years. 

We can smile when we follow her example – as she signed off an email – cfhiL  (cross fingers and hold in Light). We now hold Crystal and her family in the Light

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Quakers say: Starmer must keep promise to block ‘cruel’ Rwanda plan

Religion Media Centre: Quakers say: Starmer must keep promise to block ‘cruel’ Rwanda plan By Lianne Kolirin

Immigration has long been a hot political issue and now, with only weeks to go until the general election, it remains at the top of the agenda.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to plough on with his Rwanda deportation plan, though he has been forced to admit that no planes will take off for the east African country before the nation decides on his political future on 4 July.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has promised to scrap the deal if he comes to power.

Should he emerge victorious — which the polls widely predict — there’s one group who will be particularly driven to hold him to his word: Britain’s Quakers.

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From Arrival to Integration

March 2024: Commission on the Integration of Refugees: From Arrival to Integration: Building Communities for Refugees and for Britain

You may have been aware of this Commission on the Integration of Refugees set up by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. The Commissioners had a very wide range of views and backgrounds, but found common ground on 16 recommendations for practical, evidence-based and costed alternatives – shifting from a model of migration enforcement to supported integration. The London School of Economics provided the costings.  One of the key recommendations is for localisation of delivery with appropriate funding. The report was published in March 2024.

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Crazy world: Destitution and Clearsprings owner is richest man

19 May 2024: Boaz Trust and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit: People in Greater Manchester are spending years, even decades, in destitution – New report on destitution in Greater Manchester

A new joint report by the Boaz Trust and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) has found that people in the city-region are forced into destitution for years, sometimes decades, as a result of their immigration status. One woman interviewed spent 16 years in immigration limbo.

The report, based on in-depth interviews with Greater Manchester residents, finds destitution is being used as a form of racialised violence, embedded within immigration law, which damages people’s physical and mental health, pushing some people towards self-harm and thoughts of suicide.

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‘Safety of Rwanda’ Bill

Following the passing of the ‘safety of Rwanda’ Bill … and no ICIBI to oversee what is happening!

13 May 2024: Irish Times: UK Rwanda deportation law provisions should not apply in Northern Ireland, judge rules

High Court finds measures in UK government’s legislation undermine human rights protections guaranteed under post-Brexit arrangements

Mr Justice Humphreys delivered judgment at Belfast High Court on Monday in two challenges against the Act that focused on the peace process human rights protections guaranteed by the Windsor Framework.

The judge found that several elements of the Act do cause a “significant” diminution of the rights enjoyed by asylum seekers residing in Northern Ireland under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

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