Advocacy update – 28 February 2024

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


The Safety of Rwanda Bill has now completed its line by line scrutiny via Committee Stage in the House of Lords.  Amendments were proposed around compliance with domestic and international law,  jurisdiction of domestic courts, the consideration of religious beliefs when determining if Rwanda is a safe country, and safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Notable interventions were made by Baroness Hale, Lord Kerr, drawing a comparison between the Bill and a similar one passed by the Kremlin in 2016, and the Bishop of Leeds, who pointed out that he can’t be a banana merely by declaring himself so. Report stage, a further opportunity to scrutinise the Bill and propose changes before it is returned to the Commons, is scheduled to begin on Monday 4 March.

Since publishing its report finding that the Bill is fundamentally incompatible with the UK’s human rights obligations, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has announced it will visit Rwanda to inform its work to scrutinise the human rights implications of the UK’s asylum policy.

Impact of the anti-refugee laws: backlogs and criminalisation

The BBC has highlighted the impact of the Illegal Migration Act and the 22,400 people in legal limbo who arrived to seek asylum after 7 March 2023 and who the Government has banned itself from granting asylum to, while a blog from Free Movement analyses three new backlogs created by successive pieces of anti-refugee legislation. A new report from IPPR  also highlights that tens of thousands of people are stuck in what it refers to as a ‘perma-backlog’.  The leader of Oxfordshire County Council has become the latest local authority head to pledge to fight the Government’s anti-refugee laws.

Meanwhile, in a precedent-setting case drawing on measures in the 2022 Nationality and Borders Act, Ibrahima Bah has been found guilty of manslaughter for driving a boat across the Channel. Campaign Support UK, which was present for the trial, has shared concerning details about how it considers the verdict to have been prejudiced. On Friday 23 February, campaigners held a protest outside the Home Office to show their anger over the injustice of Ibrahima’s sentencing. SOAS Detainee Support has set up a ‘write to’ action where you can write to parliamentarians, parliamentary groups and others demanding they do all in their power to secure his freedom.

ICIBI dismissal

The former Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has told MPs ”I’ve been sacked for doing my job”. David Neal gave his views at a session of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, following his recent sacking by the Home Secretary for allegedly “breaching the terms” of his role by sharing information on reports with the media. A group of more than 40 organisations has jointly written to the Home Secretary to voice concern at the sacking and its impact on planned inspections.

Together with Refugees: Fair Begins Here

Together With Refugees’ #FairBeginsHere campaign launched on Valentine’s Day, with Global Link, Birmingham Schools of Sanctuary, the No To Hassockfield Campaign and Rochdale Refugee & Asylum Seeker Forum among those calling for a fairer system for refugees.

Day of Action against MIR increase and Pledge For Families

Also on Valentine’s Day, a coalition of organisations including Reunite Families UK, Praxis, Migrant Voice, IMIX, JCWI and British in Europe organised a Day of Action against the Minimum Income Requirement increase.

Reunite Families has also launched a Pledge For Families so that MPs, elected representatives and the public can pledge to support family-friendly migration policies that alleviate the mental health impacts and the unaffordable financial burden of the immigration system.

Women for Refugee Women End Detention Group: write to MP action

Women for Refugee Women’s End Detention group of women with experience of immigration detention, or who are at risk of detention, have launched their latest a new write to MP action. You can also share the action on socials here: X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, Facebook, LinkedIn.

  1. Government and parliamentary updates

Changes to Ukraine Schemes

The Home Office has made a number of significant changes to the Immigration Rules relating to the Ukraine schemes, including closing the Ukraine Family Scheme without notice. The Work Rights Centre shared a useful thread explaining the changes, while analysis by Free Movement is here.

  1. Reports and research

New report on the criminalisation of people arriving to the UK on ‘small boats’

A new report, published by the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford and Border Criminologies in collaboration with Humans for Rights Network, Captain Support UK and Refugee Legal Support, shows how people – including people seeking asylum, victims of trafficking and torture, and children with ongoing age disputes – have been imprisoned for their ‘illegal arrival’ on a ‘small boat’ since the Nationality and Borders Act (2022) came into force. “No Such Thing As Justice Here”- The Criminalisation of People Arriving to the UK on Small Boats details the process from sea to prison, and explains how this policy is experienced by those affected.

The report is being launched at an online and in-person event at Garden Court Chambers on Thursday 7 March 2024 6-7:30pm. Further info and booking details are here.

MSF report on the human costs of EU migration policies

Medecins Sans Frontieres has published a new report detailing findings from MSF medical humanitarian operations in 12 countries, including the UK, as well as in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Death, despair and destitution: The human costs of the EU’s migration policies evidences the shocking embrace of violent tactics, sanctioned by EU policies and member states.

Kalayaan Progress Report 2024 on the National Referral Mechanism

Kalayaan has published a new Progress Report 2024 on the National Referral Mechanism at Breaking Point. This follows a preceding report which flagged the pressures facing First Responder Organisations and the real-life implications this has for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery, including barring them from accessing help. This follow-up report shows the crisis is deepening but the Government has failed to act.

Call for participants: new research on childcare and NRPF

Praxis is seeking participants for a research project which aims to better understand the experiences of parents affected by No Recourse to Public Funds restrictions when it comes to accessing early education and care for their children. The evidence gathered will support the campaign to expand all families’ access to support with the costs of childcare, regardless of their immigration status. Participants will take part in in-depth interviews in February and March. Find more information here, and the flyer attached. Sign up to take part here.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training

New asylum welcome toolkit for local authorities

British Future and REAP have co-published a new Asylum Welcome Toolkit, commissioned by the Greater London Authority. The toolkit collates guidance and resources for local authorities to support the development of proactive, holistic strategies to welcome and integrate people seeking asylum.

Right to Remain Knowledge is Power workshop

The next Right to Remain Knowledge is Power workshop will take place online between 10am-12pm on Monday 4 March, focusing on using the Right to Remain Toolkit, the stages of the asylum system, and how to support people going through the asylum and immigration system without giving legal advice. You can sign up here.

Submissions open: The Other Side of Hope magazine

Submissions are currently open until the end of April 2024 for the other side of hope magazine, a UK-based literary magazine edited by immigrants and refugees. Full submission guidelines are here.

NEON OrgBuilders Programme

NEON’s OrgBuilders programme, a 12-month programme that enables leaders to build winning strategy, structure, and culture into their organisations, is now open for applications.  Apply here by Sun 17 March.

Human rights In asylum accommodation – new guide

Migrant Rights Network, in collaboration with The British Institute of Human Rights, have created this guide on human rights and how they relate to asylum accommodation to equip people in Home Office accommodation with vital knowledge and enable them to exercise their human rights.


5. What we’re reading, watching and listening to

Scroll to top