Woodbrooke/QARN event: ‘Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK’ held by zoom on 16 June 2022
Below you will find a video of presentations: the speakers agreed to be recorded and you can see the video of presentations by Mariam Yusuf, Rogelio Braga, and Moses Mbano
Loraine Masiya Mponela’s poem and the transcript, which was written for this event.
and a toolkit which can be downloaded
This evening event, coming just before Refugee Week, offers a chance to hear from those in the asylum system working to change the conversation on asylum through art, poetry and activism.
Loraine Masiya Mponela pre-recorded her poem ‘There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing’ for this event, because she was speaking elsewhere.
You can watch her recording here
There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing
Continue reading “Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK”
Start with Hope, change will follow …
Updated 5 June 2022: Amal is back on the road in UK 19 – 27 June 2022
She will be visiting Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Stonehenge, London, Canterbury, and ending on the beach at Folkestone where she arrived last year: https://www.walkwithamal.org/events/
Continue reading “Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.”
10 October 2021: Please write to your MP: This report is from a member of the QARN steering group who works pro bono on asylum claims.
In September 2019 the charity “Migrant Help” took over from G4S and SERCO the contract to provide help and assistance to asylum seekers housed around England in no-choice accommodation. They also took over from the Refugee Council the contract to provide “initial accommodation” at numerous centres around the country. They took on the additional responsibility of processing support claims, formerly an in-house function of the Home Office. This was indeed a massive task for what had hitherto been a local organisation providing assistance in Dover and Kent. Yet the new contract was supposed to remedy the often glaring failures of Migrant Help’s multi-national predecessors.
Within little over a month 120 charities from throughout England were lending their names to a joint letter to Victoria Adkins, the Minister then responsible for the workings of the contract. As the single contact point for all problems with housing, including furnishing and hygiene, Migrant Help was mostly unobtainable on the phone number provided in anything less than several hours. Service delivery was minimal in quantity and quality. The individuals on the other end of the line were well-meaning but under-resourced and under-informed and probably horrendously overstretched.Continue reading “The Migrant Help Contract – an Orwellian creation”
If you have not already signed one of the many template letters opposing the Bill, which are being circulated by the Refugee Council, Detention Action and others, you might like to crib from this letter which I have sent to my MP.
It identifies our Quaker position and refers to the New Plan for Immigration which took up so much of our time earlier this year. It does not cover everything of concern.Continue reading “Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration”
18 June 2021: UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.
The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.
“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”
“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
Girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.
“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.
The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures – such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.
While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.
Reports coming in from around the country about serious delays in the changeover of ‘Aspen’ card provider on 21 May 2021, leaving people destitute; see the Home Office ‘fix’ as an attachment below … but people are still without money for food two weeks later.
Updated 14 June 2021: Faith is still waiting … see the post below of 7 June 2021.
11 June 2021: Independent: Fifty Charities Urge Home Office to Act on ‘Crisis’ in Asylum Support PaymentsContinue reading “Aspen cards and surveillance of people in the asylum system”
27 May 2021: Amnesty International: UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims
Quarterly immigration statistics published by Home Office today: Long outstanding asylum claims 50% higher than a year ago
‘The Home Office’s new asylum rules are reckless and impractical’ – Steve Valdez-Symonds
New statistics published today by the Home Office show that immigration rules introduced by the Home Secretary last December have led to more than 1,500 people who have sought asylum in the UK being warned the Home Office is looking to send them to other countries. Although there are no agreements in place for those countries to accept responsibility for their asylum claims. To date, none of these people have been removed from the UK.Continue reading “UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims”
What are the priorities?
19 May 2021: Guardian: Britain’s borders: wide open to Covid, slammed shut for people in need
“During the first three months of the pandemic – from 1 January until lockdown on 23 March last year, 18 million people arrived in the UK from abroad. But only 273 of them were obliged to quarantine. By contrast, across the 12 months to March 2020, 23,075 people were thrown into immigration detention centres: prisons for people who have not been convicted of any crime but are suspected of entering – or remaining in – the country without the correct paperwork.”
10 May 2021: Rethinking Security: Article by David Forbes
As the UK Government prepares to announce its new Sovereign Borders Bill in parliament, David Forbes argues that the very idea of ‘sovereign borders’ is false and ignores both the reality of international legal commitments and the disastrous precedent of Australia’s flirtation with the concept.
The British people were invited to respond to a Consultation about Home Secretary Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration over the six weeks to 06 May. This has proved to be a highly contentious process, with almost 200 refugee, human rights, legal and faith groups publicly condemning the process, not least for excluding the perspective of refugees.
None of us were invited to challenge the title ‘Sovereign Borders’ attached to the post-Consultation Bill which will be announced in this week’s Queen’s Speech. Nor were we invited to question whether “sovereign borders” is an appropriate concept to apply to complex issues of migration and asylum which are defined in customary international law.Continue reading “The Immigration Plan and the ‘Sovereign Borders’ Bill”