West Midlands Pledge opposing the #AntiRefugeeBill

To mark six months since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, over 65 organisations across the West Midlands have signed a pledge calling on all local leaders to oppose the Nationality and Borders, which will punish refugees, including Afghans fleeing the Taliban. With formal routes like resettlement practically non-existent, Afghans will have no choice but to make their own way to safety in any way they can. The anti-refugee Bill will close the door on desperate people seeking safety – criminalising those who travel via so-called ‘irregular’ routes.

Full pledge statement below:

As local community representatives in the West Midlands, we look after our neighbours, we care about each other, and are proud to be a place of welcome.  

We know that our towns and cities are strengthened by people seeking safety because we see this every day. As members and representatives of voluntary, community, arts, and faith groups/organisations across the West Midlands, we spend our days inspired by those we work with. The outpouring of support across our region for people fleeing Afghanistan is testament to this. Our spirit of care and solidarity with people seeking safety is stronger than ever, regardless of how they arrived in the UK. 

That is why we have to speak out against the Government’s proposals to rewrite the asylum system, and the consequences they will have for refugees and for our communities. This year, people seeking sanctuary who are fleeing countries suffering terror and conflict, including Afghanistan, will reach the UK. Under the proposed Nationality and Borders Bill, they will be criminalised, threatened with removal, separated from their families, warehoused in unsuitable accommodation, have their asylum claims deemed ‘inadmissible’ and be prevented from feeling secure or safe. 

This ‘anti-refugee’ Bill will punish people, not protect them. It will increase destitution, homelessness and exploitation. It will lead to ever more dangerous routes for those seeking safety and will stop people who have fled violence and persecution from rebuilding their lives. 

We are united in opposing the policies this Bill will implement and ask all of our leaders in the West Midlands to stand with us, and call on the UK Government to scrap these harmful and divisive proposals.

Signed by:

Abbey Catholic Primary, Principal, Joseph McTernan

Afghan Community and Welfare Centre, Manager, Fahim Zazai

Asha North Staffordshire, Service Manager, Godefroid Seminega

ASIRT, Manager, Fiona Cameron / Senior Caseworker, Dave Stamp

Asylum Matters, West Midlands Campaigns Manager, Emma Birks

Baobab Women’s Project CIC, Director / Policy and Advocacy, Sarah Taal

Bearwood Community Hub CIC, Director, Sally Taylor

Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, CEO, Maureen Connolly

Birmingham Artivistas, Founder, Jane Thakoordin 

Birmingham City of Sanctuary, Chair, Dr David Brown

Birmingham Community Hosting Network, Chair of Trustees, Andy Jolly

Birmingham Refugee and Asylum Seeker Solidarity, Trustee, Alys Duggan

Birmingham Settlement, Chief Executive, Martin Holcombe

Birmingham STAR, Secretary, Molly O’Neill

Bournville Amnesty, Secretary, Astrid Laich

Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees, Chair, Yvonne Rendell

Bromsgrove Justice and Peace Group, Secretary, Steve Blakemore

Brushstrokes Community Project, Project Manager, David Newall 

Burslem Jubilee, Project leader, Sheila Podmore

Carriers of Hope Coventry CIO, CEO, Sue Sampson

Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham, Programme Manager, Rachael Cox

Central England Law Centre, CEO, Sue Bent

Chandos Primary, Head Teacher, James Allan

Columban Missionaries, IRD Coordinator, Mauricio Silva / Volunteer, Tobi

Cotteridge Quakers, Co-Clerk, Heather Rowlands

Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG), Chair, Loraine Masiya Mponela

Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre, Core Services Manager, Jackie Capitani

Craftspace (which also represents Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective), Exhibitions and Project Development Manager, Emma Daker

DOR – Romanian Diaspora, Director, Sorina Stallard

Father Hudson’s Care, CEO, Andrew Quinn

Fatima House, Deputy Project Coordinator, Nathalie Marytsch

Harborne Baptist Church, Minister, Revd Peter Maycock

Hereford Amnesty group, Activist, Mandy Lawrence

Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Head of School, Katrina Crowley

Hope Projects, Director, Phil Davis

Humans of Wolverhampton, Founder, Mary Solomon

Kairos Women Working Together (Kairos WWT), Chief Executive Officer, Kellie Kellie Ziemba

Khai Tzedek CIC, Director, Carmen Clarke

Lifeline Options CIC, Project Manager, David Forbes

Living Hope Church, Lead Pastor, Lisa Parkes 

Migration Policy and Practice, Project Manager, Andy Hoole

Near Neighbours, Birmingham coordinator, Rabiyah K Latif

North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (NorSCARF), Assistant Secretary, Chris / Vice Chair, Gillian Pardesi

Oasis Academy Woodview and Oasis Academy Foundry, Executive Principal, Emma Johnson

Oasis Church, Pastor, Rob Hooper

Positive Youth Foundation, Programmes Lead, Tayyibah Muhammed Kasim Mota

Psychologists for Social Change, West Midlands branch, Clinical Psychologist, Dr Catherine Bayley

Refugee Action, West Midlands Regional Resettlement Manager, Faye Downs / Project Manager, Berna Djinaj

Refugee Council, Senior Children’s Advisor, Edin Hromadzic 

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

Sanctus, Managing Director, Reverend Sally Smith

Shropshire Supports Refugees, CEO, Amanda Jones 

Six Ways Erdington Baptist Church, Minister, Rev Gerard Goshawk

Spectra, Creative Director, Kate DeRight

St Chad’s Sanctuary, Manager, Abigail Martin

St Dunstan’s Catholic Primary School, Assistant Headteacher, Vanessa Baker

St Francis Employability, Projects Manager, Selina Read

St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, Church Warden, Catherine Myerscough 

St Thomas Aquinas Scool, Birmingham, Teacher and Lay Chaplain, Anna O’Driscoll

STAR Warwick, Campaigns Officer, Syed Ashar Javed

Stories of Hope and Home, Project Manager, Stephanie Neville

The Church at Carrs Lane, Methodist Presbyter, Neil Johnson

The Night Shelter, Co-ordinator, Beth Ash

The Refugee and Migrant Centre, Head of Services, Abbas Baig / Partnership and Development Manager, Shari Brown

Walsall Quaker Meeting, Member, Mary Mather

Welcome Group Halesowen, Chair, Andrew Harwood

Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary, Volunteer supporter, Amanda Bevan

Wythall Branch of Amnesty International, Chairperson, Ian McGarr

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