We were interested to meet with other Quakers who share our concern at Yearly Meeting Gathering – August 2014 http://www.quaker.org.uk/yearly-meeting-gathering-ymg-2014
We have had a number of well attended sessions at Yearly Meeting, and have been very impressed and encouraged by the number of Friends active throughout the country.
After the sessions on destitution and detention we sent a minute to the YM summing up group.
Here is the minute below together with the encouraging response from one of the Friends charged with the difficult task of summing up.
We have heard of how the present asylum and immigration system forces many asylum seekers into destitution and holds thousands in detention for indefinite periods. We have been very encouraged to learn of the work of Friends throughout the country, and of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network in supporting the destitute and vulnerable and campaigning for change.
We believe that an informed and principled critique of current asylum policy should be part of our corporate Quaker witness, in keeping with our testimony to equality. We invite Friends to work for justice and compassion in the asylum system and to challenge the prevailing culture of dIsbelief. This is particularly important in the run up to the election. The QARN website offers resources for information,reflection and action.
Signed. Bridget Walker, Oxford and Swindon AM
Colin Billett, Worcestershire and Shropshire. AM
Sunday 13:00 Brigflatts 3 Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) and QUNO
Refugees: national and international developments and challenges: Hear about the work of Quaker United Nations Office and Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
Thursday 19:30 Firbank Fell 2 Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN)
Asylum: what are Quakers doing? Hear from people involved in providing food and shelter to asylum seekers, helping with legal advice, campaigning for a fairer system. Bring your own ideas and experiences to share, and learn from each other. This will include time in small groups and workshop-type activities. This will be a relaxed session with time to chat, and tea and cake.
Duration: 90 minutes
This open Journey consists of two sessions in which we shall look at the impacts of the asylum and
immigration system, how Friends are responding and what actions we can take.
Tuesday 14:15–15:15 Asylum destitution
Many who come to the UK seeking sanctuary find themselves made destitute through deliberate government policy. It is illegal for them to support themselves through work, and they receive no housing or benefits from
the state. Learn about destitution, and how Quakers and others are helping those suffering and are campaigning against this cruel policy.
Discuss and get ideas of how to help and how to campaign effectively.
Tuesday 15:45–16:45 Indefinite immigration detention
The most incredible element of the UK’s policy of indefinite detention is how routine it is. What a sad reflection of our country – Ellie Mae O’Hagan, guardian.co.uk, quoted on QARN website.
Many who come to the UK seeking sanctuary are detained in detention centres, with no known end date. This causes huge distress to people who may already have suffered torture and persecution. Learn more about indefinite detention, its effects on those detained, and what we as Quakers can do about it, including working with others through the Detention Forum.
We will also be at the Tuesday and Wednesday evening Groups fairs.