The Sanctuary Pledge

quaker_home_themeBritain has a proud history of providing sanctuary to people fleeing from persecution and tyranny.

Our nation provided sanctuary to Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in 17th century France, Jews fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930s, Ugandan Asians forced out by Idi Amin in the 1970s, Bosnians escaping ethnic cleansing in the 1990s and Zimbabweans seeking a safe haven today. Our tradition of providing sanctuary is part of what makes Britain great.

That tradition is under threat.

In recent years the rise of extremist politics, media scare stories, and high profile failings by the Home Office have led to this issue becoming a political football.

Yet over two-thirds of the public still think it is important that the UK provides sanctuary to people fleeing persecution. We agree. We believe that sanctuary should not just be part of the UK’s history. It should be part of our future too.

The Sanctuary Pledge is our response. We need ordinary citizens – like you – to convince your political representatives to sign the Sanctuary Pledge at the 2010 General Election.

Please help us to rebuild support for sanctuary.

Attend a Sanctuary Pledge training session to learn how to negotiate effectively and commit to becoming a Sanctuary Champion

There are 14 training sessions across the UK. Places are free but you must register. Click here for details of when and where to train.

STEP 2. Build a delegation of people to meet with your Parliamentary Candidates

Build a small but strong and diverse negotiation team of community leaders.

STEP 3. Arrange for your delegation to meet your Parliamentary Candidates

We can provide you with the contact details of your local Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and a briefing pack. Contact for more information.

STEP 4. Negotiate with your Parliamentary Candidates

Meet individually with your Parliamentary Candidates and ask them to sign up to the Sanctuary Pledge.

Explain the number of people you represent and how important this issue is to you and them. Tell them they will be asked publicly whether they have signed the Pledge.

STEP 5. Take action to publicise the Sanctuary Pledge

Ask a question about the Pledge at hustings events. Plan a media event to highlight the Pledge and engage the Candidates

Encourage your local churches, mosques, synagogues, schools or other institutions to learn about sanctuary and take action to support the Pledge. You can find lots of ideas here.

STEP 6. Meet with the elected MP six months later to review progress

Ask the candidates to commit to meet you six months after the election if they get elected.

Hold them to account for the commitments they made.

More ideas about what you can do about children in immigration detention


End Child Detention Now is a citizens’ initiative which sprang from a successful campaign to release a Barnsley born toddler and his parents from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre where he had been held for more than three weeks in July 2009.
Ibrahim is one of the more than 2,000 asylum seeking children that are held in immigration detention centres in the United Kingdom each year.

With our votes, our voices and our determination we have the power to end child detention now.

Please join us by signing the No.10 petition, by contacting your local MP (if you are not sure who he or she is you can find out by visiting and urging them to sign the early day motion in the name of Chris Mullin, writing to your local newspaper, writing to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Gordon Brown, the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Alan Johnson, and the Immigration Minister, Rt Hon Phil Woolas.  More on the website:

Doctors’ petition : “Stop the Administrative Detention of Children and Families” – ask your doctor to sign it

mj1Doctors’ petition : “Stop the Administrative Detention of Children and Families”

This doctors’ petition is being publicly launched today. The last doctors’ petition of that Medical Justice co-ordinated attracted over 700 doctors’ signatures.  This petition is expected to get more signatures.  Please circulate and ask doctors to sign.  Signature so far include ;
* Lord Alderdice
* Iona Heath, President, Royal College of General Practitioners
* Sir Iain Chalmers
* Professor Cornelius Katona Consultant Psychiatrist
* Dr Jonathan Fluxman, GP
* Dr Nick Lessof, Consultant Paediatrician
* Dr Frank Arnold, Clinical Director, Medical Justice

Write letters: The Guardian/ The Independent/ BBC / The Times coverage of today’s Medical Justice report

guardian_logo1Guardian : “Move children out of migrant centres, say medical experts”
“Detaining children in immigration centres puts them at risk of mental health problems, self-harm and even suicide, a coalition of royal medical colleges warns the government today. The full article.
Email a Letter to the Guardian :
Guardian Comment is Free : “Free the Yarl’s Wood child detainees” by Jon Burnett of Medical Justice
“A select group of dignitaries was invited to “celebrate the achievements” of a new school inside Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire on 20 November. According to the invitation, those in attendance would be given the opportunity to “enjoy a taste of some of the creativity and vibrancy which is very much part of our community”. Like most other educational environments in the UK, the Yarl’s Wood school had begun a new term in September. One big difference, however, is that the children in this school are all held against their will, for the purposes of immigration and asylum policy, having committed no crime. The full article. Continue reading “Write letters: The Guardian/ The Independent/ BBC / The Times coverage of today’s Medical Justice report”

QARN supports the Outcry! campaign

quaker_home_themeEvery year around 2,000 children in the UK are locked up in immigration detention.

QARN is supporting OutCry!, the campaign to end detention of children and their families for immigration purposes. We have some suggestions about how Quakers can support this campaign as individuals and through their meetings – page coming soon.

OutCry!: The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) launched this campaign in November 2008 at the House of Commons, and over the next three years will be raising awareness of the fact that children in UK are detained here in the UK Borders Agency detention estate, in our name. Full report here


quaker_home_themeWe support the OutCry! campaign against detention of children.

You could:

Make a donation to OutCry!
Write to your MP about children in detention, and about indefinite detention – there are ideas about what you could concentrate on here:
Write to The Friend to open other Quaker hearts to children in detention
Would your family, or your Meeting be interested in linking to a family in detention? Contact us
Make a link to OutCry! from your Meeting’s website
Sign up to the campaign yourself

Organise an activity for Refugee Week on the theme of detention

Join QARN:

Membership of QARN is open to all Quakers with an interest. It is an email group, and everyone is welcome to our meetings that are held approximately every 3 months in Manchester, London or the Midlands (we are always open to offers of new venues).

Decisions will be made through a process of discernment. We will often circulate ideas through the email group, and significant decisions will usually be made at the meetings.

If you are interested to join the email group, please email Miranda Girdlestone at BYM with details of your name and the Meeting you attend. For historic reasons the email group title is QRAG (Quaker Refugees and Asylum Group)

Survey of Friends’ asylum and refugee work in Britain Yearly Meeting 2007

quaker_home_themeIn June 2007, the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network decided to conduct a survey of Quaker Meetings to try to build a picture of the work done by Friends in support of asylum-seekers and refugees. All PMs were sent a copy of a questionnaire and, as well as this, many meetings were sent e-mails. The letter pages of The Friend were also used to encourage responses.

A total of 116 meetings replied, of which 32 reported no activity. Of those 32 meetings, several gave as a reason that there were no asylum-seekers or refugees in their area, or that their meetings were small and elderly (e.g. “We have five members between 85-104 years”). Several expressed their support for the work being done on asylum issues. Several meetings also hoped that there could be a more coordinated Quaker response. Continue reading “Survey of Friends’ asylum and refugee work in Britain Yearly Meeting 2007”

One More Card

one-cardTake action to end the detention of children this Christmas

I saw bad things happening in prison and there was too much crying.

It gave me terrible headaches and I felt sad.

Dominic Mwafulirwa Junior, detained in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in 2009

Each family sends an average of 76 Christmas cards each year. We want you to send One More Card to help stop the detention of children in the UK. Send an extra Christmas card to Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas MP, and let him know that your Christmas wish is for him to stop the practice of detaining the children of people seeking sanctuary in Britain. Continue reading “One More Card”

Early Day Motion 1982 Detention of Children 12.10.2009

parliament_logoMullin, Chris

That this House notes with concern that around 2,000 children are detained each year in immigration detention centres, some for periods of several months; notes the opinion of Save the Children and the Children’s Commissioner that this is unjustified and damaging; notes that families with children are among the least likely to abscond; further notes that some EU and Commonwealth countries have successfully introduced solutions other than secure detention for families who have exhausted their asylum claims; and urgently calls on the Goverment to end the practice of holding children in immigration detention centres.”

94 signatures as of 17/11/09