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Anti-Refugee Bill (Nationality & Borders Bill) July 2021

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Call to Action – Anti-Refugee Bill

We are standing with our partners in calling the Nationality and Borders Bill the Anti-Refugee Bill as this is sending the clear message of its content.

We are standing up #TogetherWithRefugees in opposition to a bill which ignores the realities of why people have to flee and seek sanctuary and does not address any of the problems it purports to resolve. In fact the impact of the bill is likely to be so severe that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has taken the unusual step of strongly and publicly opposing the plans, stating in its response to the consultation on them 

“UNHCR is concerned that the plan, if implemented as it stands, will undermine the 1951 Convention and international protection system, not just in the UK, but globally.”

We know this is a difficult time for all of us who support and work with people seeking sanctuary. We hope that you will be able to find comfort, support, reassurance, and power in the Together With Refugees Coalition, City of Sanctuary networks and the wider movement, who firmly believe in standing Together With Refugees. 

The first thing everyone can do:

if you haven’t done so already, please sign up your group or organisation to the 300+ strong coalition campaign Together with Refugees, which is seeking an effective, fair and humane system to support people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Any organisation can join – from your voluntary group or charity to your workplace, or Trade Union /Professional Association branch.  Please also encourage Sanctuary awarded organisations in your town/city to join too. We believe that we can only affect change in collaboration and partnership with others across the refugee sector and civic society.

City of Sanctuary Groups are uniquely placed to mobilise not just their volunteers but also pledged supporters, awarded organisations and wider civic and voluntary organisations to give a clear message to MPs that an anti-refugee Bill is morally reprehensible and does not reflect who we are. Mobilising individuals, groups and organisations who have already pledged support to the vision of welcome and awarded organisations can extend the reach and impact of our actions.

We can do this by promoting the message that welcome, inclusion and cohesive communities is what everybody wants for our society. MPs need to know that their constituents want to live in a society which protects (not demonises) people fleeing violence and persecution and that we remain proud to do so.

This website aims to support the City of Sanctuary Networks of groups, local authorities and streams initiatives, awarded organisations and wider networks with resources and tools provided by partners from across the refugee sector. These resources will help you to engage with MPs and build support for a kinder, fairer approach to asylum.  We will keep this resource updated throughout the campaign. Please follow the links in the menu to find out more and start mobilising. We will be regularly updating all pages as new resources and actions develop in the coming months.

City of Sanctuary UK Theory of Change

Our theory of change recognises that change happens over time, and it is based on relationship building and mobilising people together. Contact between people seeking sanctuary and receiving communities breaks down barriers, fears, and prejudices. It builds understanding and empathy. Empathy in the context of the hostile environment can galvanise a passionate desire for change and the building of welcoming and cohesive communities leading to an active response to calls to action.

If Parliament defeats this bill (or the worst elements of it) it will be the result of the influence on MPs by their constituents.