Dorset refugee news- with thanks to Judith

Donations in support of local refugees and asylum seekers.
First of all thank you to all who donated backgammon sets, phones, bikes, trainers, a kindle and a laptop.
Homes For Ukraine.
I have been contacted by a delightful Ukrainian young lady who was originally hosted in Corfe Mullen under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. (She now has two jobs and is living independently in Poole.) She is desperate to find a home for her mother and her younger sister. Do you know anyone who could help? Please pass this around and ask your friends if they know of anyone who might be able to help. She has already posted on the various Facebook pages etc. If anyone is interested, please just give me call. (And please don’t be put off by what you may have heard/seen on the media. We love our guests and feel that hosting under the H4U scheme is one of the best things we’ve done. Most of the other hosts we know feel much the same way.)

Refugee Week (19th to 25th June) this year has the theme of compassion. I think there is so much ignorance surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. Now even a former Conservative Party chair, Lady Warsi,  is worried that the Government’s policy towards them is a sign of a slide towards extremism!

Can we in our small way attempt to address this?
Illegal Migration bill.
This is a terrible piece of  legislation.
“The Bill is unfair, unlawful and excludes access to protection for many escaping persecution and conflict,” according to the Public Law Project.

Consider writing to your MP re the Bill if you have not already done so. It will soon be law but I still think MPs need to know that this cruel Bill is not acceptable. I’m hoping that the drubbing they have received in the local elections will give some of them pause for thought!

If in your MP happens to respond I would be grateful if you could let me know what they say. The goverment talks about “safe routes”. At our Afghan Stories evening at St Mary’s, Poole, in March we learned from ICN that there are now extremely few to no ‘safe routes’, even for Afghans. A route that is inacessible to the people who need it is not a route let alone a safe one!
ICN campaign for mental health of refugees and asylum seeekers.
As you know, ICN (International Care Network) is our local Bournemouth- based Christian charity which  looks after asylum seekers and refugees in the conurbation.
ICN has been selected to participate in The Big Give’s Kind2Mind Campaign 2023! They have been awarded £5000 match funding. This means that any donations will be DOUBLED during the week of the 15th-22nd May. All donations will go straight to their Mental Health project, and if they hit their £5k target for the week, they’d receive £10,000 at the end, due to the match funding. This would enable them to immediately begin recruitment for a mental health professional to join their team.
As always, they are also looking for compassionate landlords willing to let property to refugees. (It is worth noting that while there would probably be a shortfall between a commercial let and the Housing Benefit refugees are entitled to, it is not likely to be huge.)

Write to your MP about the Illegal Migration Bill

Dear [MP’s name]

I am deeply concerned by the Home Secretary and Prime Minister’s plan to further dismantle the right to asylum in the UK with their ‘Illegal Migration Bill’.


According to the Archbishop of Canterbury, if this bill becomes law, Britain’s proud tradition of welcoming those fleeing persecution will be destroyed. This law will also mean that any refugee who cannot access one of the few safe routes will be denied the chance to reunite with their family and live safely in the UK. Instead, they would be detained by the Home Secretary before being banished forever with no chance to reach their family in the UK or establish a new life here.


Include your full name and address. It’s best if you can adapt the letter slightly, as MPs tend to ignore lots of template letters that are all exactly the same.


Justin Welby leads Lords’ condemnation of Illegal Migration Bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has argued that the Illegal Migration Bill risks “great damage” to the UK’s reputation, and that it is “morally indefensible” to leave poorer neighbouring countries to deal with refugees.

He told the House of Lords that existing global agreements on refugees were not “inconvenient obstructions to get round by any legislative means necessary.”

He added that the bill risked “great danger to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection…Our interests as a nation are closely linked to our reputation

for justice and the rule of law and to our measured language, calm decision and careful legislation.”

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, attacked the Government’s lack of compassion for refugee women and children:

“The state will view a child or a pregnant woman first and foremost as individuals subject to immigration control, not as an innocent child or a vulnerable mother due to give birth.

We need to ask: what about the government’s duty to protect?

I am reminded of Jesus’s words: it would be better to have a millstone around the neck and be cast into the sea than to cause a little one to stumble. This responsibility needs to bear upon us heavily,” he said.

Lord Dubs, who was brought to the UK as a child refugee on the Kindertransport in 1939, insisted that it was up to the UK to set standards on human rights for other countries to follow:

“[If the UK does not uphold refugee law] notorious abusers of human rights will simply say: ‘Well, if the United Kingdom doesn’t do it, why should we?’”

Meanwhile Lord Dannatt, the former army chief, has also attacked the bill as morally offensive:

“The viciousness, and I use that word quite advisedly, of this bill offends many people’s moral position. It runs the risk of offending Britain’s standing in the world, as a country that upholds international law.”

Responding to Justin Welby’s comments, the immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, denied that the bill was morally indefensible and politically impractical .He said:

“He’s wrong on both counts.

Firstly there’s nothing moral about allowing the pernicious trade of people smugglers to continue … I disagree with him respectfully.

By bringing forward this proposal we make it clear that if you come across illegally on a small boat you will not find a route to life in the UK. That will have a serious deterrent effect.”



Government failing to help lone child refugees stranded in Sudan

Charities are saying that the Government is not doing enough to reunite Sudanese child refugees with family members in the UK.


Asylum seekers granted refuge in the UK are entitled to apply to bring their spouse, children or younger siblings to the UK. But the Home Office is insisting that family members submit biometrics at a visa application centre in a neighbouring country to Sudan, necessitating a potentially hazardous journey to leave the country. Khartoum’s visa application centre has been closed.


The refugee charity Ramfel has described this approach as “disgraceful”, as these children are exposed to the risk of kidnapping, trafficking and exploitation. Many of the refugees stranded in Khartoum have fled from Eritrea and were waiting for visas so that they could join family in the UK.


A  21 year-old Eritrean refugee living in the UK has been trying to bring over his two brothers aged 14 and 17 to the UK.


“They are too young. I’m worried for their live. I’m praying all the time that they will be safe.”


Emily Graham , the head of campaigns at Safe Passage International, said that the Government should be doing everything it could to help young refugees reach safety and family in the UK.