Together with Refugees – show your support

QARN is a signatory to Together With Refugees: please get involved in their campaigns.

30 January 2024: Fair Begins Here Valentine’s Day action – campaign toolkit

With the government pushing its inhumane Rwanda scheme back through Parliament, our new campaign Fair Begins Here couldn’t be more urgent or important. Fair Begins Here puts the theme of fairness at its heart – because now is the moment for a fairer and more compassionate approach towards refugees in the UK. To learn more about the context and aims of the campaign, you can watch back our online briefing session here. 

This Valentine’s Day on February 14th we invite you to stand up for fairness for refugees by launching Fair Begins Here in your community and joining thousands of people sending messages of kindness to refugees across the country. The Valentine’s Day action will kickstart the biggest ever call for political leaders of all parties to introduce a fair new plan for refugees in the UK. 

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Court, Parliament and Rwanda

29 January 2024: Joint statement on Rwanda Bill for Lords 2nd reading 

Joint civil society statement on the Rwanda Bill for Second Reading in the House of Lords

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is a constitutionally extraordinary and deeply harmful piece of legislation.

It threatens the universality of human rights and is likely in breach of international law, striking a serious blow to the UK’s commitment to the rule of law.

It was not a Government manifesto commitment – on the contrary, it will hinder the UK’s ability to “continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution”.

As a coalition of more than 260 organisations working in and across the UK, we call on Peers to reject the Bill at Second Reading.

The Rwanda Bill undermines the principle that human rights are universal – that they apply to all of us, regardless of where we are from.

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Age assessments of children

23 January 2024: Written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network ‘Forced Adulthood -The Home Office’s incorrect determination of age and how this leaves child refugees at risk.

It was written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network. It found that at least 1,300 refugee children were placed in unsupervised adult accommodation and detention in an 18-month period (January 2022 to June 2023), after being wrongly age-assessed on arrival in the UK. We think that real numbers are likely to be much higher as data was not received from all local authorities. 

This data paints a bleak picture of separated children‘s experiences on arrival in the UK. Behind each case there is a child who has been failed by the system, experienced abuse, exploitation, distress, or harm. All of these traumas are entirely preventable, children are subjected to these harms as a direct result of being wrongly placed in adult accommodation due to the Home Office age assessment policy at the point of entry.

This is a safeguarding crisis on an unprecedented scale which we like to bring to your attention in the hope it will be possible for us to work together to address system failures and ensure that all children are protected from the moment they arrive in the UK.

Additional findings reveal that:

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Ending Immigration Detention

Updated 19 January 2024: Detention Forum: The changes we want to see

We want to end immigration detention because it is unjust and inhumane, and as the steps on that journey, here are the key changes that we want to see happen.

All of these issues are supported by our policy papers that have been endorsed by our membership – they reflect the changes that we want to see.

And this is the over-arching narrative of the changes that we want to see on immigration detention.

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X-rays for children

Updated 19 January 2024: Thank you Freemovement: Scientific Age Testing of Children Becomes Law

The Immigration (Age Assessments) Regulations 2024 providing for the use of scientific age testing of children have come into force on 10 January 2024. A reminder of the response from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to these proposals:

Evidence shows that using x-rays to determine age can be widely inaccurate and the practice is ultimately unethical. It is appalling to see that the Government is persisting with these plans, which hinge life-changing decisions for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society on unspecific scientific outcomes and includes exposing them to radiation.

We have covered these regulations extensively, from when the drafts were first published, to when the relevant section of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was brought into force, when the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee raised concerns and when the regulations were voted on by Parliament.

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Migrant Help financial report March 2023

Migrant Help: Migrant Helpline (operating as Migrant Help) Annual Report and Financial Statements 31 March 2023, p. 34

In 2022-23, £29,950,000 of Migrant Help’s income came from the AIRE contract in ‘unrestricted funds’.

‘The charity’s main source of income from charitable activities is government grants and  contracts. The total income from the Home Office was £30,028,027 (2022: £24,055,358)’

Migrant Helpline (operating as Migrant Help) Annual Report and Financial Statements 31 March 2023, p. 34     https://www.migranthelpuk.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=a8b328b3-0d41-4815-858c-e9d1290ef9be

Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

10 January 2024: iNews: Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

Those who refuse to have X-rays to determine their age may be penalised, according to the Home Office

The Home Office will begin using teeth and bone X-rays to determine the age of asylum seekers arriving in the UK.

New legislation, that came into force on Wednesday, means the Home Office will now be able to use “scientific methods” to assess age, including radiographs of molars, hands and wrists, and MRI scans of the thigh bone and collarbone.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has described the X-rays as “pseudoscience” which fail “basic tests on ethics and accuracy”.

Read more: https://inews.co.uk/news/home-office-x-raying-migrants-age-2846156

Now I Sing

3 January 2024: ‘Now I Sing: 50 poems to celebrate 50 years’ by Loraine Masiya Mponela

In the next of our serious of posts about how we can open hearts through the arts, we join Loraine Masiya Mponela in celebrating the publication of her second book of poems: ‘Now I Sing: 50 poems to celebrate 50 years’

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CRDW5SJZ

Painful pitfalls and pinnacle triumphs.Now I Sing by Loraine Masiya Mponela is both a lamentation and a celebration, offering 50 poems for the 50 years she has lived. This collection honours her people’s ancient wisdom while imagining her future. Reflecting on individual and collective journeys, it is a book about courage, fear, desperation and excellence.

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Faith leaders call on Home Office to re-examine seven-day evictions practice

11 December 2023: Diocese of London: Faith leaders call on Home Office to re-examine seven-day evictions practice

Leaders from faith and belief institutions across London have come together to jointly call on the Home Office to re-examine a recent change in practice which has meant that, since August, refugees are having much less notice that their asylum support will end than the stated policy of 28 days. Some are given seven days or less to leave their accommodation.

Many have been in asylum accommodation for months or even years, with no opportunity to work or build networks. They are now being given only days to navigate the various systems and authorities necessary to plan their next steps.

Many faith and belief organisations work together with those of all faiths, beliefs and none to support refugees and asylum seekers in a number of ways.  Across London, churches, mosques, gurdwaras, synagogues and temples open their doors to receive asylum seekers and refugees. They are seeing demand for this support grow, overwhelmingly with the need to help those with new refugee status find accommodation.

The letter to the Immigration Minister, coordinated by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, calls on the Home Office to:

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