Citizens UK’s members have consistently chosen to make justice for refugees a focus of our work.
"Refugee Welcome Schools" Accreditation
Our scheme recognises schools that commit to welcoming refugee parents and children into their community, to educating students and staff on the importance of refugee protection and to participating in campaigns to improve the lives of refugees. Learn more here.
In 2015, following pressure from civil society, the Government pledged to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees by 2020. In June 2019, the Home Office announced that resettlement schemes would be renewed for 1 further year post 2020. We urge the Home Office to extend the scheme indefinitely. If we don't, this means that in just over a year the UK could start taking many fewer refugee families in and Local Authorities risk having the funds that enable them to integrate families slashed.
But if civil society, MPs and local councils all speak out in favour of extending refugee resettlement, we can persuade the Home Office to continue Britain’s proud tradition of welcoming refugees for many more years to come. Click here to receive our campaign briefing pack and find out how you can write to your MP and local Council.
Our previous campaigns in support of refugees and asylum seekers
In 2004 migrant and refugee communities in South London campaigned to improve Lunar House, the headquarter of the UK Border Agency, and change the way in which it treated asylum seekers. Next, we established the Independent Asylum Commission, which conducted a nationwide listening campaign into the asylum system, before a number of recommendations for reform, including around reporting requirements, the voucher system and poor housing. In the run-up to the 2010 General Election we won a campaign to end the detention of children in prison-like conditions for immigration purposes.
In 2014, Citizens UK members decided to take up the issue of the Syrian families stuck in refugee camps in the Middle East who needed to be resettled in safe countries. At that time, the UK had only resettled 50 Syrian refugees – so we built local Refugee Welcome Groups who worked with their local councils to demonstrate to the government that our communities could resettle refugees. Finally, in September 2015, the government made a commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK up to 2020.
Since then, Citizens UK members and other Refugee Welcome Teams have been actively involved in supporting their local councils to resettle Syrian refugees in their area. Other Citizens members have pioneered Community Sponsorship of Refugees and the Sponsor Refugees Foundation has been set up to support other groups wanting to follow their example.
Our member schools have also placed themselves at the forefront of this work by establishing the Refugee Welcome Schools initiative. Moved by the plight of young refugees trapped in the ‘Jungle’ in Calais, the Safe Passage campaign was set up to help them find safe and legal routes to the UK. Safe Passage is now on track to becoming an independent charity that has helped over a thousand young refugees reach safety in the UK.
If you or your institution would like to be involved in this campaign, please email James.Asfa@citizensuk.org