Advocacy Update – 18 April 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 been back in Parliament this week. With the Bill being debated twice in the Lords and the Commons. The Lords amendments have now been reduced to two; one exempting people that have served alongside UK Military from removal to Rwanda, and one requiring a scrutiny committee to explore the safety of Rwanda. The Bill is therefore passed back to the Commons with debates and votes likely on Monday as Parliamentary Ping Pong continues.

Last week saw the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, visit No.10 as speculation continues around a potential air carrier for people being deported to Rwanda

The Law Society President issued a very strong statement against the Rwanda scheme describing it as ‘It is one of the most damaging pieces of legislation to the rule of law in recent history. It corrodes the independence of the judiciary, removes basic human rights and could do great harm to the UK’s international standing’

Our friends at Freedom from Torture are leading a campaign to ask airlines to refuse to participate in the forced removal of people to Rwanda, you can support their action here  or  Twitter or  Instagram

Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws: new General Election resources

Asylum Matters has shared new General Election resources as part of the Fight the Anti-Refugee Laws campaign. The resources are designed to support local groups in engaging with their prospective parliamentary candidates and calling on them to repeal the #AntiRefugeeLaws and commit to building an asylum system that treats everyone with compassion and dignity. The resources include two documents:

We hope that these resources will support campaigners in reaching out to candidates and setting out the changes our communities urgently need. You can also share the resources on Twitter and Facebook.

Together with our friends at City of Sanctuary, we are also hosting a lunchtime briefing on our General Election Resources on 22 April 12:30-13:30, where we’ll talk through the new resources and discuss how to engage with prospective parliamentary candidates and call on them to defend the right to seek safety in the UK. Register your place now!

Evictions into homelessness

Our friends at NACCOM the No Accommodation Network published this excellent blog to update and summarise on the Refugee homelessness crisis.

Crisis organised a joint letter to James Cleverly to raise concerns about the proposed criminalisation of street homeless people. It was signed by some key sector partners, including NACCOM,  as it will likely disproportionately impact on refugees made homeless at the end of the asylum system.

Communities not camps

Campaigners in Portland are stepping up calls to shut down the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland. Stand Up To Racism Dorset is working with Portland Global Friendship Group and Care4Calais to launch a “people’s inquiry” at the Houses of Parliament. The campaign group is calling for people to contribute evidence to its inquiry which it plans to use to lobby Parliament. Serious safety concerns have been raised around RAF Wethersfield and RAF Scampton (see more in section 2), as these sites continue to prove unfit for human habitation.

Take action with our #CommunitiesNotCamps resources:
  1. Government and parliamentary updates

People moved out of RAF Wethersfield due to safety concerns

Up to 70 people seeking asylum have been moved out of RAF Wethersfield and into hotels, due to the identification of safety risks onsite including radiological contamination and unexploded ordinance. Serious questions remain about why relevant surveys to identify these hazards only appear to have taken place after sanctuary seekers were already warehoused onsite.

Similar safety concerns at RAF Scampton

Similar concerns are being raised in relation to RAF Scampton in Lincoln (intended to warehouse up to 2,000 people seeking asylum). A letter written by a government minister has highlighted “potential risks to human health arising from ground gases, UXO (unexploded ordnance) and ground contamination which could affect both workers on the site and asylum seekers”.

Cost of cruelty spiraling

Leaked Home Office documents suggest the Rwanda scheme could cost taxpayers nearly £5bn in five years. Meanwhile, the Home Office has admitted its estimated costs for the use of RAF Scampton fell “woefully short” of what was needed – £27m not £5m.

  1. Reports and research

Refugee Council report into refugee homelessness in London

Refugee Council have published a report, ‘Keys to the City 2024: Ending refugee homelessness in London’ which evidences the dramatic rise in homelessness for newly recognised refugees, and points out the systemic failures which should be addressed to solve the crisis of destitution and homelessness. You can read the full report here and share on social media here.

Migrant Voice Survey

Migrant Voice have launched its new survey on extortionate visa costs and settlement routes. This will help further develop Migrant Voice’s campaign and is an opportunity for people affected to share their experience.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training 

Illegal Migration Act briefing note for Local Authorities

NACCOM and Asylum Matters have produced a new briefing note to help local authorities understand some of the key aspects of the Illegal Migration Act around 4 key areas: the right to seek asylum and settle in the UK; destitution and homelessness; children and safeguarding; and protections for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery. It identifies some practical and political actions that local authorities can take to mitigate the impacts of the new measures.

FLEX workshop

Following a 2 year pilot project in partnership with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service , FLEX are holding a webinar on 29 April 11am-12pm to share the lessons learned from engaging workers in the design and implementation of a human rights due diligence framework for service sector supply chains, raising awareness of the importance of involving workers in the assessment of working conditions.  Sign up here.

IMIX free online media masterclasses

IMIX are holding a series of free online masterclasses including Intro to the Media on 7th May 2-3.30pm; Intro to Social Media on 8th May 2-2.30pm; Intro to Media (for people with lived experience) on 9th May 2-3.30pm.

  • Gloucestershire Actions for Refugees and Asylum Seekers is recruiting a Resettlement Officer.Deadline 9am 29th April
  • Hope Project in Birmingham is recruiting a Wellbeing Officer, deadline is 23 April at 12:00 noon.
  • Citizens UK are recruiting 2 Associate Organisers- Migration & Refugee Organising in Tyne & Wear and West Yorkshire, deadline 26 April 10am.
  • The Snowdrop Project is looking for a Casework Manager, deadline 26 April 5pm;
  • Counterpoints Arts are looking for a Treasurer, deadline 28 April.
  • Refugee Action is recruiting a Senior Digital Communications Officer, a role which has been ring-fenced for people with lived experience of forced displacement due to war, invasion, persecution or human rights abuses. Deadline is 28 April at 23:59.
  • City of Sanctuary UK is recruiting a Director of Operations, deadline is midday 6 May.
  • The Asylum Reform Initiative is recruiting a Chair, deadline is 12 May.
  • Asylum Support Appeals Project is recruiting a new Chair of trustees deadline is 21st April
  1. What we’re reading, watching and listening to

  • The Guardian has been working with a group of community reporters in Rochdale and Oldham who wanted to highlight the realities for women in the asylum system across Greater Manchester
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