Asylum Matters was created in early 2017 through the merger of two initiatives working to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK – the Regional Asylum Activism Project and the Still Human Still Here coalition.
The Regional Asylum Activism project facilitated advocacy initiatives at the local and regional level, informing and strengthening existing work, as well as building local campaigning capacity. The project also aimed to build the voice of people with direct experience of the asylum system and ensure that their experiences were reflected in national policy-making. In that way the project served to bridge the gap between asylum policy and practice and was a vital link between the work of smaller organisations and national agencies. The project ran for five years and its work was coordinated by Student Action for Refugees (STAR), before transferring to Asylum Matters.
The Still Human Still Here coalition was a campaigning coalition of over 80 groups, including national and local organisations campaigning to end the destitution of people seeking asylum in the UK. Through building a diverse coalition and mobilising a broad support base, Still Human aimed to demonstrate that progressive and practical asylum policies do have popular support, thereby creating more political space to secure change. The coalition was pivotal to achieving significant policy changes which have helped improve decision making and mitigate the impact of destitution on asylum seekers. Still Human ran for eight years and its work was coordinated by Amnesty International UK, before transferring to Asylum Matters.
The two projects shared advocacy goals and worked increasingly effectively together to link up local and national campaigning. It was recognised that a merger would further strengthen their joint work with Regional Asylum Activism’s local knowledge and relationships complementing Still Human Still Here’s national campaigning expertise and partner base.
Following the merger in 2017 Asylum Matters was hosted as a project within City of Sanctuary, a movement working towards the vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to those fleeing persecution and violence.
In March 2021, following agreement with City of Sanctuary, Asylum Matters became an independent charity.