Advocacy update – 5 July 2023

Our fortnightly summary of advocacy and campaigning initiatives, new research, government developments and useful resources from across the asylum, refugee and migration sector. Contact us if you’d like to get this update directly into your inbox.

  1. Advocacy and campaigning initiatives

 Refugee Ban Bill 

The Refugee Ban Bill has continued to face fierce opposition in the House of Lords during Report Stage, which has seen the Government suffer a series of defeats on key amendments. These have included an amendment that would oblige the UK to comply with international law, supported by over 50 charities, NGOs and human rights organisations in this joint briefing; protections from removals for victims of modern slaveryLGBT people and unaccompanied children; protections from detention for children and pregnant womena time limit on inadmissibility; and protections against the retrospective application of the Bill’s powers.

Report stage in the House of Lords continues, with a final sitting due on 5 July, after which the Bill will return to the House of Commons where MPs will vote on the Lords’ amendments.

Meanwhile, campaigners continue to speak out against this harmful bill, with current actions including:

  • Liberty’s petition calling on the Prime Minister to scrap the Bill.

  • Freedom from Torture’s online write to your MP action.

  • STAR, SolidariTee, Universities of Sanctuary and the VOICES Network’s new petition for university students and staff opposing the Bill. You can share on social media with these graphics.

  • Women for Refugee Women’s 72 hours of action to ask MPs to keep the Lords’ amendment to maintain the 72 hour limit on detention of pregnant women. Write to your MP here and share the message here.


We have updated our #FightTheAntiRefugeeLaws resources, including a new leaflet outlining the measures in the #RefugeeBanBill and the Nationality and Borders Act; a ‘write to your MP’ postcard; posters; placards; and copies of the Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws Pledge. You can download print-ready versions of the resources here or get in touch with us to request resources.

Communities Not Camps

As local campaigners in Portland and Falmouth, where the Bibby Stockholm is currently moored, continue to organise against the use of the barge, survivors of torture have penned an open letter to Portland Port’s CEO asking him to say no to the mooring. More than 40 organisations and campaigners have also signed an open letter to Bibby Marine, the barge’s owners, requesting they withdraw from chartering vessels to contain people seeking safety, and acknowledge historical connections of the company with the slave trade. You can see coverage here.

Meanwhile, in Tyneside, local refugee supporting organisations, councillors and residents have sent  an open letter to the Port of Tyne in response to reports that this may be under consideration as a separate site for a vessel.

Safe Housing, Strong Communities: asylum accommodation safety and security

Join Asylum Matters, HOPE not Hate and Safer Foundations for an event on 12 July 1.30-4.30pm on safety and security around asylum accommodation sites, including hotels, camps and barges, with a particular focus on the impact of the far right and what community campaigners can do to combat hostility. Register here.

Take action

  • Falmouth based Reclaim the Sea are asking campaigners to join them to party and protest against the barge outside the Home Office in London this Thursday 6 July at 5pm.

  • Add your voice to torture survivors open letter to Portland Port’s CEO here.

  • Write to your MP asking them to join the opposition to the use of barges and camps and sign the petition calling on the Government to drop the plans.

  • Get in touch with us if you’d like Communities Not Camps posters and placards.

Risk of homelessness for Afghan refugees 

The Local Government Association has called on the Government to work with councils on a jointly managed, locally driven process for asylum and resettlement. Their statement warns of a risk of Afghan families becoming homeless as a Home Office deadline for the end of hotel use approaches.

Human rights crisis in detention centres

Following reports of human rights abuses inside Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, Action Against Detention and Deportations (AADD) have convened an open letter to the Home Secretary calling for these issues to be addressed urgently, which can be signed here.

  1. Government and parliamentary updates

Rwanda plan ruled unlawful

Campaigners have been celebrating after the Court of Appeal found the Government’s Rwanda plan unlawful as Rwanda is not a safe third country. The judgement pointed to the fact that 100% of asylum claims made by people from Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen had been refused by the Rwandan Government, and to evidence of widespread refoulement of refugees from the country. The Government intends to seek permission to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, with the Home Secretary stating her belief that most people in the UK are disappointed with the ruling. However, a BBC Question Time audience refused to give their support for the plan on the day of the ruling. Full judgement and summary of the ruling can be found here, with analysis on the Free Movement blog here.

  1. Reports and research

GMIAU briefing: Housing injustice in asylum hotels

A new briefing by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), ‘Housing injustice in asylum hotels’, looks at the experiences of people seeking asylum living in hotels. It highlights the similarity of hotels to detention sites, reports of abuse and intimidation and issues with hypervisibility and scaremongering.

Refugee Council briefing on the asylum backlog and accommodation

Refugee Council has published a new report on the asylum backlog and accommodation. A series of recommendations for reducing the backlog and expediting claims is included in the report, including granting asylum to applicants from five countries with high grant rates who make up 89% of people housed in hotels.

‘We lost our lives when we arrived here’: Children in the UK’s asylum system

New research by GMIAU, ‘“We lost our lives when we arrived here”: Children in the UK’s asylum system’, lays bare the many ways that children are being failed by the UK asylum system, including the long waiting times, lack of updates, lack of legal advice, and the failure to prioritise wellbeing over hostile policies aimed to deter and punish migration.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training 

Introduction to Judicial Review and Strategic Litigation for NGOs

The Strategic Legal Advice Committee and Justice Together Initiative are providing a two day online/in-person training on 7th and 10th July, ‘Introduction to Judicial Review and Strategic Litigation for NGOs’, delivered by the Public Law Project. Attendance fee is £20. For more information and to register, complete the booking form using the password: JRBasics23.

Solidarity in Action: Inspiring Community Responses HOPE not Hate event

HOPE not hate are hosting a webinar on 13 July, 6-7pm, Solidarity in Action: Inspiring Community Responses, to understand how local people in communities across the country can effectively organise and resist the far right sowing seeds of division in their area. This builds on the new resource, Acts of Solidarity in the community. The event is aimed at people in communities who are dealing with this locally themselves and may be new to refugee issues and organising.

Migration Exchange report launch on the refugee and migration sector and funding landscape

Join Migration Exchange on Wednesday 12 July, from 11am-12pm, for a briefing and Q&A session to launch their latest report on the refugee and migration sector and funding landscape for 2022-23.

Three years on from the previous report, this new publication offers a view of key developments in NGO infrastructure and activities, alongside recent trends in funding and grant-making. Six key priorities for future action are highlighted, making this a key resource for anyone looking to work strategically and collaboratively towards lasting change. Register to join the Zoom meeting.

NRPF Network Adults guidance launch

NRPF Network and Migrants Organise are holding an online launch 1-2.30pm on 17th July for their new guide to assessing and supporting adults with no recourse to public funds in England, which will introduce the guidance and give attendees an opportunity to hear from and ask questions to experts in the NRPF sector. You can find more information and register here.


  1. What we’ve been reading, watching and listening to

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