MORE THAN 4O CHARITIES, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and aid agencies working with refugees have backed a joint letter, published in the Guardian, to do more for the men, women and children of Ukraine who are right this minute being forced to leave their homes as tensions and violence in their country escalate rapidly.
The full letter and list of signatories is below.
Two million people have now fled the bloodshed in Ukraine and with many expected to do so, this could be the worst refugee crisis since the second world war. Seven decades ago in 1951, after the horrors of the world wars, the UK and other nations came together to sign the UN Convention on Refugees. It sets out that how a person arrives seeking protection does not matter. What matters is why – escaping war, conflict and oppression.
Yet today we have a government that appears to show a callous disregard for the Convention. It isn’t giving all Ukrainians fleeing violence the opportunity to come to our country as a refugee (Priti Patel under fire over chaotic Ukrainian refugee policy, March 7). Instead, by setting up a limited and restricted family scheme and making a vague promise to establish some kind of humanitarian sponsorship programme, its response looks chaotic, heartless and unkind.
At the same time, it is pushing ahead with its cruel Nationality and Borders Bill that will undermine the right to refugee protection and criminalise Ukrainians, Afghans and others who, through no fault of their own, are forced to make their own way to safety and arrive without all the necessary documentation.
It seems the government has chosen to send a clear message to refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere that they are not welcome.
Now, more than ever, is the time to strengthen, not weaken, our commitment to the UN Convention on Refugees, and ensure we provide protection to those who have lost everything.
- Enver Solomon, CEO Refugee Council
- Ben Jackson, Director, Asylum Reform Initiative
- Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX
- Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive Oxfam GB
- Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
- Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO, Safe Passage
- Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
- Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council
- Nicole Francis, Chief Executive, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)
- Sian Summer Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK
- Naomi Webb, Executive Director, Good Chance
- Kerry Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Helen Bamber Foundation and Asylum Aid
- Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
- Nick Harborne, CEO Reading Refugee Support Group and Deputy Chair Reading City of Sanctuary
- Simon Taylor, Trustee of Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers
- Elli Free, Director, Room to Heal
- Jonny Willis, CEO Refugee Youth Service
- Matthew Powell, CEO and Founder, Breaking Barriers
- Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service UK
- Lisa Matthews, Coordinator, Right to Remain
- Toni Soni, Centre Director, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
- Vicki Felgate and Kayte Cable; Co-Founders, BIg Leaf Foundation
- Nick Lowles, CEO, HOPE not hate
- Nazek Ramadan, Director, Migrant Voice
- Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Praxis
- Sophie Wickham, Director, Action for Refugees in Lewisham
- Clymene Christoforou, Director, D6: Culture in Transit
- Fuad Mahamed, CEO of ACH
- William Gomes, Director, William Gomes Podcast
- Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM
- Shari Brown, Vice Chair, Birmingham City of Sanctuary
- Denise McDowell, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)
- Ellen Waters, Director of Development, Doctors of the World UK
- Fizza Qureshi, Chief Executive, Migrants’ Rights Network
- Ros Holland, Chief Executive, Boaz Trust
- Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile
- Lilian Geijsen, Director Ben & Jerry’s Europe
- Dr Razia Shariff, CEO, KRAN
- Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director, Women for Refugee Women
- Arten Llazari, CEO, Refugee and Migrant Centre
- Anna Pincus, Director, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
- Nicolas Hatton, CEO, the3million
- Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief
- Dr Rosie Riley, CEO of VITA
* Source:Refugee Council