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”
10 February 2021 Rethinking Security: What has oil extraction got to do with migration to the UK? Birmingham volunteer worker (and member of QARN Steering Group) Rosemary Crawley tells the story of one woman driven to leave her home in the Niger Delta, and her experience as she came to seek security in Britain.
Sanctuary and hope
Women with Hope, a small Birmingham charity for women caught up in the UK immigration system, includes within its purposes the provision of a safe space in which women can relax, learn and reflect. A wealth of evidence testifies to the particular harms and disadvantages faced by women migrants, both in terms of their experiences in their various countries of origin and in the countries in which they subsequently seek sanctuary. Immigration detention and not being believed are just two of the additional traumas that so many women face once they arrive in the UK. Their need for a safe space to talk about these and other experiences and be heard is extremely important. It was in just such a space that Gloria’s story of life in the Niger Delta emerged.
Continue reading “Hostile Environments: The Oil Industry, Ecological Crisis and Migration”
21 January 2021: Someone new to Qarn has written to ask: I am new to Qarn and find the wealth of info quite daunting . Please can you tell me more about the new asylum seekers accomodation centre. Where can I find a summary of some of the initiatives etc and current state/numbers of asylum seekers in uk , many thanks.
The following long read may be helpful. I know that others in the QARN group also have information. This is just one aspect of the concerns shared by QARN members – there is a lot to be concerned about and we can’t all do everything, but if we each do what we can maybe we can find a way to change the system.
To answer, it is maybe worth saying that there is a lot of traffic on QARN, but feel free to only pick up the emails that interest you. I don’t keep up with everything myself, and I have been involved since 2007.
I suggest that QARN is the same as other Quaker situations, where you should feel able to let some things pass if they don’t speak to you. There is a lot of history – some of us have been around for a long time, and others are fairly new to it, so feel free to ask questions, and please try not to feel daunted.
To begin to unpick the questions: first I’ll run through how the system works, then explain why this is all suddenly of great concern.
Continue reading “Summary of the camp_hotels situation”
Yesterday Steve talked of speaking truth to power , drew on the image that Jesus used of binding the strong man, and asked us how ready we are to take on the Strong One.
Today I would like to start by asking how do we recognise that Strong One.
In 1919 William Charles Braithwaite wrote: ‘ Evils which have struck their roots deep in the fabric of human society are often accepted, even by the best minds, as part of the providential ordering of life. They lurk unsuspected in the system of things…..’ QfP 23.05
Identifying the evils in our society Continue reading “Yearly Meeting Gathering – Tuesday 1 August: Session 4 – Bridget Walker:”
Written evidence submitted by the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network 19.1.2017:
The Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network links Quakers from all over the UK. This submission concerns Forced Migrants – refugee and asylum seekers. The Select Committee will also receive submissions from individual Quakers and other groups of Quakers, many of whom are deeply engaged in work with and for forced migrants.
Quakers long standing track record of humanitarian support and concern for the homeless and displaced is best known for the KinderTransport which brought children to safety from Hitler’s Germany. Those children have enriched the cultural and intellectual life of this country immensely. The refugees and asylum seekers currently seeking a new life in the UK have already introduced enriching variety to our culture. Continue reading “Response: Home Affairs Committee on an effective immigration policy”
“Religion Spirituality and the Refugee Experience…” published 2016 by Palgrave McMillan UK (an academic at Oxford Refugee Study Centre linked me to Palgrave).
The book is at http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137563774#aboutBook
The book was launched by the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Prof Gillian Triggs in Nov 2016. This book is an out-growth of my PhD which is a long held Quaker Concern (see free access to PhD below)
Description of PhD
The research question: What role does spirituality and religion play in refugees’ flights from their home country and during their resettlement in host countries? Continue reading “Religion Spirituality and the Refugee Experience”
Before they became refugees, their lives too were normal.
Imagine it is your home, town, country that is being destroyed and you have had to flee. You do not know what has become of your family, friends and colleagues. You hear of the destruction of your culture and history. You are ‘one of the lucky ones’. You have been resettled and are safe, in a country where everything is different: the language, food, customs, climate, landscape. Discuss those aspects of your life you have lost. Continue reading “Using role play”
Before they became refugees, their lives too were normal.
Imagine it is your home, town, country that is being destroyed and you have had to flee. You do not know what has become of your family, friends and colleagues. You hear of the destruction of your culture and history. You are ‘one of the lucky ones’. You have been resettled and are safe, in a country where everything is different: the language, food, customs, climate, landscape. Discuss those aspects of your life you have lost. Continue reading “Role Play guidelines”
You or I would probably get on a plane if we had to flee our country. But airlines are held liable if they carry people without papers. Airline staff can’t decide whether or not someone is a refugee. Visas are hard to come by and cost money. Some people have to destroy their own papers in order to stay safe.
By insisting on papers to cross borders we criminalise refugees. Perhaps this is partly how we justify the use of detention – indefinite detention in Britain – and a punitive asylum system leading to poverty such as the nineteenth-century author Charles Dickens would have recognised. Continue reading “If we try to imagine – even just a little – what people have experienced”