Signed statement: safe routes, compassion and fairness need to be at heart of Government’s approach

Following the tragic deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel – including children – it is time for serious action. We cannot stand by and let this Government’s harsh rhetoric and ill-thought-out approach go unchecked.  

 

This Government’s policy of grabbing cheap headlines and blaming the French authorities while paying them millions of pounds to build fences around the Channel ports has not worked. Now people fleeing conflict, persecution and war have paid the ultimate price. We know from the warehouses overflowing with donations for Afghan refugees that the public believes in the right to seek safety. That same public cannot stand for this.  

 

Instead of trying to blame people seeking safety for its own failures, this Government must step up to its responsibilities and focus on saving lives. 

 

For a start, parliamentarians must rethink the Nationality and Borders Bill. Not only will these new laws take a wrecking ball to the very principle of refugee protection, but we know they are unworkable. They will push desperate people further into the arms of smuggling gangs and will only inflame our international partners who we need to work with to ensure people seeking sanctuary can do so safely. 

 

We also need a cast-iron commitment from this Government that it will not pursue its policies on offshoring or pushbacks, which will cause even more harm and make deaths in the Channel even more likely.  

 

Above all, this tragedy shows how urgent it is for this Government to work with its international partners to create more routes to safety for refugees. This Government demands refugees take official routes, but for most people, these simply do not exist. Refugees are left with little option but to arrive here hidden in a plane or lorry or crammed onto a small boat.  

 

We are calling on this Government to make a long-term commitment to: 

  • create a compassionate asylum system that treats all people seeking asylum in the UK with kindness and dignity 
  • resettle at least 10,000 refugees each year from around the world 
  • reinstate the Dubs Agreement to protect child refugees from exploitation 
  • expand family reunion so that more people can be reunited with their loved ones 
  • introduce a humanitarian corridor 

 

We ask the Government to sit down with people who’ve gone through the asylum system, and their advocates, to create a new, more compassionate, and effective process which puts safety first. Now, if ever, is the time to do so. 

 

Signed by 

Barrow Cadbury Trust, Dame Sara Llewellin DBE  

Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton, CEO 

Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, CEO 

Freedom From Torture, Sonya Sceats, CEO 

Scottish Refugee Council, Sabir Zazai, CEO 

Asylum Matters, Andrea Vukovic & Paul Hook, Co-directors 

Abigail Housing, Amanda Church-Mcfarlane, Co-Chief Executive Officer  

Action for Refugees in Lewisham, Sophie Wickham, Director 

ACH, Fuad Mahamed, CEO 

Allies for Justice, Steven Shyaka, Lived experience campaigns coordinator  

Amber Film and Photography Collective Laura Laffler, Director 

Asylum Aid, Ian Kane, Legal Services Manager 

Asylum Link Merseyside, Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager 

Asylum Support Appeals Project  

Asylum Welcome, Mark Goldring, Director 

AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees), Ali McGinley, Director  

Baca, Jimmy Zachariah, CEO 

Bail for Immigration Detainees, Annie Viswanathan, Director 

Big Leaf Foundation, Evie Booton, Campaigns Coordinator  

Baobab Centre For Young Survivors in Exile, Jodie Bourke, Senior Manager 

Boaz Trust, Ros Holland, Chef Executive 

Body & Soul, Emma Colyer, Director  

Bradford City of Sanctuary, Will Sutcliffe, Chair 

Breaking Barriers, Matthew Powell, CEO  

Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers Campaign, Jo Benefield, Coordinator 

Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL), Mark Williams, Founder 

British Association of Social Workers, Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive 

Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees, Yvonne Rendell, Chair 

Calais Action, Libby Freeman & Caroline Gregory, Founder 

Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group, Catharine Walston, Chair of Executive Committee 

Campaign Bootcamp, Sarah Miguel, Co-Leader 

CARAS, Eleanor Brown, Director 

Care4Calais, Clare Moseley, Founder  

Caritas Diocese of Shrewsbury, Ben Gilchrist, CEO 

Carlisle Key, Diana Vlad & Iain McNee, Housing Support Officer and Operational Manager 

Channel Rescue, Kim Bryan, Co-founder  

Choose Love, Cherno Jagne, COO  

Citizens of the World Choir, Becky Dell and Matilda James, Musical Director and Exec Producer 

City of Sanctuary Sheffield, Tom Martin, Director 

City of Sanctuary UK, Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer  

Civic Leicester, Ambrose Musiyiwa, Facilitator 

Common Space Common Humanity, Dave Plumb, Coordinator 

Compass Collective, Leah Gayer, Co-director  

Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, Toni Soni, Centre Director 

Curious Monkey, Zoe Connel, Project Coordinator for Arriving 

Detention Action, Bella Sankey, Director 

Doctors of the World, Ellen Waters, Director of Development 

Donate4Refugees, Amber Bauer, Founder 

ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking), Patricia Durr, CEO 

Equanicity, Cryton Chikoko, Co-founder 

FAST (First Aid Support Team), Nynke van Dijck, Founder  

Fences & Frontiers, Lewis Garland, Founder / Chair 

FODI (Sunderland), Steve Newman, Chair 

Good Chance Theatre, Naomi Webb, Executive Director 

Govan Community Project, Traci Kirkland, Head of Charity  

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, Denise McDowell, Chief Executive 

Haringey Migrant Support Centre  

Hastings Community of Sanctuary, Jane Grimshaw & Polly Gifford, Co-Chairs 

Hay Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees , Ailsa Dunn, Secretary 

Helen Bamber Foundation, Kerry Smith, CEO 

Herne Hill Welcomes Refugees, Terry Morin, Chair 

Herts for Refugees, Angus Clark, CEO 

Homeless Network Scotland, Maggie Brunjes, Chief Executive 

Hope for the Young, Matt Blacker, CEO 

HOPE not hate, Nick Lowles, CEO 

Hope Projects, Phil Davis, Director 

Host Nottingham, Rebecca Kogan, Project Coordinator 

Humans for Rights Network, Maddie Harris, Director/Founder 

IMIX, Emma Harrison, CEO 

Immigration Law Practioners’ Association, Nicole Francis , Chief Executive 

Interfaith Scotland, Maureen Sier, Director 

JRS UK, Sarah Teather, Director 

Justice and Peace Scotland (Catholic) Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Jill Kent  

Justice First, Jason Hussein, Project Manager 

Kids in Need of Defense UK (KIND UK), Katie Fennell, National Coordinator 

KRAN, Dr Razia Shariff, CEO 

Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Elizabeth Jiménez-Yáñez & Dolores Modern, Policy co-coordinators 

Leeds Destitute Asylum-seekers Support, Jenny Willison, Trustee 

Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, Rosario Guimba-Stewart, Chief Executive 

Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary, John Skipworth, Chair of Council 

Liberty, Martha Spurrier, Director 

LOSRAS (Lewes Supports Refugees), Gill Tipping, Co-Chair 

Love Welcomes, Abi Hewitt, CEO / Founder 

Love 146, Philip Ishola, CEO 

Malvern Green Space  

Methodist Church, Geoff Charlton, Local Preacher 

Micro Rainbow, Sebastian Rocca, CEO

Migrant Destitution Fund, Sian Mullen, Action Group Member 

Migration Mobilities Bristol, Bridget Anderson, Director 

Migrants’ Rights Network, Fizza Qureshi, CEO 

Migrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan, Executive Director 

NACCOM, Bridget Young, Director  

NATECLA, Rachel Öner, Co-Chair 

Norfolk Schools of Sanctuary, Jake Rose-Brown, Founder 

North East Law Centre, Rachel McPeake, Project Administrator 

Nurses United UK, Anthony Johnson, Registered Nurse and Lead Organiser 

O’s Refugee Aid Team, Onjali Rauf, Founder and Author 

Open Aye, Becky Duncan, Director

Our Second Home, Amos Schonfield, Director 

Pathways Trust, Tara Pollitt, Operations Manager 

Pollination, Yasmine Balfour-Lynn, Co-Founder 

Praxis, Sally Daghlian OBE, CEO 

Race Equality Foundation, Jabeer Butt OBE, CEO 

Rainbow Home (North East England), Alessandra Mondin, Project worker 

Rainbow Migration, Leila Zadeh, Executive Director 

RAMFEL, James Tullett, CEO 

Reading City of Sanctuary, Maggie Filipova Rivers, Manager 

Reading Refugee Support Group, Nick  Harborne, CEO 

RefuAid, Anna Jones, Co Founder 

Refugee Action, Lizzie Hobbs, GPP Team Administrator 

Refugee Education UK, Catherine Gladwell, Chief Executive 

Refugee Legal Support (RLS), Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager 

Refugee ReSETTLEment, Paul  Kelly, Project leader 

Refugee support East London and Essex, Pam Derwin, Admin   

Refugee Survival Trust, Elaine Cameron, CEO 

Refugee Trauma Initiative, Zarlasht Halaimzai, CEO and Co-Founder 

Restore (a project of Birmingham Churches Together), Jeremy Thompson, Manager 

Right to Remain, Lisa Matthews  

Room to Heal, Elli Free, Director 

Routes, Daisy Jacobs & Leyla McLennan, Co-directors 

Royal College of Nursing, Geoff Earl, Council Member (personal capacity) 

Runnymede Trust, Alba Kapoor, Senior Policy Officer 

Rural Refugee Network, Nadia Potts, CEO 

Safe Passage, Beth Gardiner Smith, CEO 

Samphire, Indre Lechtimiakyte, Legal and Migrant Support Manager 

Say It Loud Club, Aloysius Salle, Executive Director 

Screen Share UK, Moses Seitler, Director 

Scotswood Garden, Karen Dobson, CEO 

Seeking Sanctuary, Phil Kerton, Co-Director 

Settle Area Refugee Support, Angie Pedley, Treasurer 

Social Workers Without Borders, Naomi Jackson 

Solidarity With Refugees, Ros Ereira , Director 

Sophie Hayes Foundation, Red Godfrey-Sagoo, CEO 

Southampton & Winchester Visitors Group, Chris Stephens, Chair of Trustees 

Southampton Action, Nikki Walters, Chair 

Stand for All, Daniel Sohege, Director 

Stories of Hope and Home, Stephanie Neville, Project Manager 

Student Action for Refugees, Emily Crowley, Chief Executive  

Swindon City of Sanctuary, Nicola Wood, Charity Manager 

Tees Valley of Sanctuary, Suzanne Fletcher, Housing Co-ordinator 

The Cotton Tree Trust, Janet Gilbert, General Manager 

The Iona Community, Robert Swinfen, Convenor of Migration & Asylum Network 

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director 

The Mercy Hub, Jeremy Cain, Coordinator 

The Pickwell Foundation, Susannah Baker, Founder 

The Refugee Rights Project, Izzy Hughes, Founder 

The William Gomes Podcast, William Gomes, Director 

the3million, Nicolas Hatton, CEO 

Together with Migrant Children, Nick Watts & Jane Goldsmid, Co-Directors 

Trauma Foundation South West, Judy Ryde, Founder/Clinical Director 

UKCEN, Claudia Holmes, Founder  

Vauxhall Community Law and Information Centre, Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Solicitor 

Voices in Exile, Mel Steel, Director 

Voices Without Borders, Joss Duncan & Ewa Lelontko, Co-founders 

Waging Peace, Maddy Crowther & Sonja Miley, Co-Executive Directors 

West Cumbria Refugee Support Network, Kelly Davis, Chair 

West End Refugee Service, Hannah Barnes, Director  

Women for Refugee Women, Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director 

Young Roots, Jo Cobley, CEO