Advocacy Update – 20 June 2024

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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

It’s Refugee Week, and it’s been so lovely to see so many of our friends at events up and down the UK this week. Here’s a run down of some of the events on this year’s calendar 

General Election
Invitation to sign joint pubic letter to incoming Prime Minister

In anticipation of the upcoming General Election, Asylum Matters has drafted a joint public letter to the incoming Prime Minister outlining what steps the new UK Government should take to repair the broken asylum system. We hope this letter will be signed by organisations and individuals who are providing support to people navigating the asylum system. The deadline for signatures is 5pm on 1st July 2024. You can sign the letter using this form.

We will be looking to have this published in the media just after the election, so we ask you not to share this publicly on social media, websites, or with journalists. However, we would be grateful if you could share this letter with your networks (for example via email/message) as we hope to get as many signatures as possible.

General Election resources

Asylum Matters has created General Election resources designed to support local groups in engaging with their prospective parliamentary candidates and calling on them to repeal the #AntiRefugeeLaws. The resources include two documents:

JCWI Six Steps to Migrant Justice

These are six core principles drafted by organisations working with people who move that, if implemented, would bring about justice for migrants and a fairer society for all.

These six steps are unbranded – they’re keen for them to be shared as widely as possible within and outside of the migration sector, in the hope that we can show a united front in the run-up to the General Election and beyond. Below you can find suggested copy for social media posts, graphics to use on social media and suggested copy for your website if you would also like to post there. 

Safe Passage Rally with Refugees Pledge

Safe Passage International have launched RallyWithRefugees pledge campaign for the election.  With the future of refugees being welcomed in the UK on the ballot this election, they’re asking everyone across the UK to contact their parliamentary candidates and ask them to pledge support for safe routes and refugee rights if they’re elected. You can join in the action here If you’d like to find out more about what they are asking political parties, please read their manifesto. You can share the #RallyWithRefugees campaign on social media on X/ Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Rainbow Migration email your candidate action: ending LGBTQI+ detention

Rainbow Migration has launched a campaign action asking supporters to email their candidates and ask them to commit to ending LGBTQI+ detention. People can do so easily in less than 2 minutes with a pre-written email. You can promote this action ahead of the election by reposting it on social media on Instagram or X/Twitter.

NACCOM/Homeless Link Joint Open Letter to Party Leaders on Migrant Homelessness

NACCOM and Homeless Link are inviting organisations to sign this open letter to the Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party leaders, calling on the next Government to address migrant homelessness if they are to prevent and end homelessness for all. If your organisation would like to sign, please send directly to Kateya Mbita ([email protected]) the name and role of the person you’d like to sign by 5pm on Friday 21 June. The letter will then be published with all signatures. Please do not share the letter publicly on social media, websites, or with journalists until it is published, but feel free to share with others you feel may be interested in signing (for example via email/message).

GMIAU expectations for Greater Manchester politicians in 2024

The Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) has shared their expectations for politicians in Greater Manchester in 2024. Using the Greater Manchester Strategy as their starting point, they are calling on our politicians to uphold Greater Manchester’s commitments by:

  • listening to people with lived experience of immigration control;
  • speaking out about the importance of welcome, safety, justice, home and support for all Greater Manchester’s residents, regardless of immigration status;
  • being accountable in achieving this reality for our city-region, before and after the General Election.

You can find the document online or on X/Twitter.

Lift the Ban

The Lift the Ban Coalition has called on the next Government to commit to restoring the right to work for people seeking asylum. You can find the full public statement here, and share on social media here

Reunite Families UK legal action against the Minimum Income Requirement

Reunite Families UK launched legal proceedings in the High Court against the government’s decision to increase the MIR to £38,700 which was announced back in December 2023. 

See here The Guardian’s article on the case and watch the video on the impacts of the rules for people affected. You can promote on social media using their  Twitter Thread & Instagram Post

2. Government and Parliamentary Updates

Report on review of weekly allowances paid to asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers: 2023

The Government published the report outlining its methodology for the 2023 review of asylum

support rates on 24th May in a PDF form, as we stated in the last update, however they then changed the format and republished it, therefore the previous link does not now work. Nothing has changed other than the format. It can be found here.

3. Reports and research

New Refugee Action briefing: ‘Asylum in the UK: A Front Line for Racial Justice’. 

Refugee Action have shared a comprehensive briefing delving into the intersection of asylum policies and racial justice, highlighting the need to tackle racism at the heart of the hostile environment and grow collaboration across the refugee rights and racial justice movements. 

They also shared an accompanying messaging guide and social media posts on Twitter and Instagram that you can use to help share the message.

Guide to the Illegal Migration Act for Young People

Young Roots, ECPAT UK, Barnardo’s, SLRA, and KIND UK have collaborated to produce a short guide to the Illegal Migration Act for young people, available here: The Illegal Migration Act and children and young people seeking asylum

Opportunity to influence African Rainbow Family’s ‘Access to Justice’ Report

African Rainbow Family is currently working to establish a report on Access to Justice for people seeking asylum in the UK, with a particular focus on the difficulties that many people are facing in accessing legal aid and solicitors while in the process of claiming asylum. If you work with people seeking asylum in any capacity, not only where related to legal support, they would greatly appreciate your contributions by filling in this short form.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report

UNHCR released its annual Global Trends report which provides key statistical trends on forced displacement. You can find the report here

12 years on Modern Slavery report

Kalayaan has published their new report 12 years of modern slavery: the smokescreen used to deflect state accountability for migrant domestic workers. Link is available here. The report seeks to debunk the myths used by the outgoing Government over the past 12 years when denying calls made by workers and their supporters to have rights that would keep them safe at work. It also includes evidence demonstrating how reported abuse has risen significantly following drastic changes made to the domestic worker visa regime 12 years ago.

New RAMFEL report: ‘Safe Routes to Nowhere: The UK’s Broken Promises on Family Reunion’

RAMFEL have published a new report based on their casework experience and government data, exploring how the UK’s family reunion systematically fails to provide safe routes for refugees to bring their family members to the UK. The report makes 5 recommendations to improve the family reunion system, ensuring people can safely and swiftly make applications, greatly reducing the need for them to take dangerous journeys. Press release here, Observer coverage here, and social media posts here and here.

4. Resources, events, jobs and training

Media training session for councillors

The Migrant Champions Network is organising a bespoke media training session for councillors, on Saturday 3 August, 15:00-18:00. This free session will take place online, led by communications experts from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. Councillors will be led through how to craft compelling messages, how to prepare for media interviews and how to build their confidence as spokespeople. The sign-up form is here


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

  • Accounts of residents at ex RAF Wethersfield who continue to speak out about the mental health crisis at the camp (Warning: references to self harm/suicide);
  • A powerful guest blog on our website by Dr. Martha Ako on what the theme of this year’s Refugee Week, ‘Our Home’, means to her;
  • Writing in The Lead, Zoe Gardner calls on the next government to end the hostile environment for refugees;
  • ‘Someday’, a beautiful song by Bushee, a talented singer-songwriter and IMIX Refugee Week Ambassador.
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