Bristol has now become an official City of Sanctuary- a recognition of the value the city places on asylum seekers and refugees. A delegation of six Bristolians from diverse groups and walks of life presented a powerful and convicing overview of life in their city to the national network meeting in Nottingham. Their presentation was backed up by a film which will shortly be available on this website and strong cross-party endorsement from thee City Council.
For years Bristol-once known as a city of slavery- has been an outward-looking city and has always welcomed people from across the world to settle, especially those fleeing persecution in their own countries. This has undoubtedly made the city stronger. It is one of the many things about Bristol that Bristolians are proud of and sets the City apart from countless other places. The Bristol City of Sanctuary Group is spearheading efforts to see this culture of welcome and hospitality extended to include people seeking sanctuary in our city. Sanctuary will be a declaration of a long tradition.
Bristol City Council on November 2010 voted to give their support to the City of Sanctuary movement and adopted the following statement:
“This Council recognises the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to the City of Bristol and is committed to welcoming and including them in our activities. The council also recognises that a comprehensive, co-ordinated and forward-looking approach is needed if City of Sanctuary, the welfare of people moving in to the city, and community cohesion between new and existing communities are to be supported effectively. The Council endorses Bristol’s status as a City of Sanctuary and will work to implement the City of Sanctuary pledges through its Community Cohesion Strategy 2010-13.”
Bristol’s achievements include getting cross party support, making city of a key part in the Council’s community cohesion strategy, expand our network and influence. Also with our supporters eg Bristol Refugee Rights we put together events such as Human Rights Day commemoration on the 10th of December every year, speak in schools etc. Key focus was to raise the profile of the movement in the city to a wide section which resulted in us getting about 110 organisations pledging support.
While celebrating their remarkable achievements, the Bristol delegation was quick to emphasise that this milestone is not a cause to sit back on their laurels, and underlined the importance of continuing to work together to ensure that new and vulnerable sanctuary seekers arriving in their city will recive fairness and welcome wherever they go or live in Bristol.