This ground-breaking national conference, drawing together a wide range of organisations across the country, in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees, is to be held on 15 November in Birmingham.
This event is supported by many national organisations including the Refugee Council, Refugee Action, Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council, British Red Cross, City of Sanctuary, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum, NACCOM, Boaz Trust, Refugee Survival Trust, Still Human Still Here, STAR, Detention Action, UNHCR, Migrants’ Rights Network, the Detention Forum, Right to Remain, Freedom from Torture, Refugee Week, Migrant Voice and many other organisations across the country.
It will bring together diverse groups to unite around 8 key principles which are
1. All asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to be treated with dignity and respect.
2. Asylum seekers to be welcomed & befriended on arrival, and offered free language tuition so they can fully participate and contribute to the local community.
3. Free access to healthcare for all asylum seekers while they are in the UK.
4. Access to good quality legal advice and representation.
5. Improved decision making, so protection is granted to all who need it.
6. An end to destitution, by providing sufficient support to all asylum seekers to ensure they can meet their essential living needs while in the UK.
7. Permission to work for asylum seekers whose case has taken more than six months, or who have been refused and are temporarily unable to return home.
8. An end to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants.
There will be workshops on each of these policy themes.
There will also be practical action workshops on awareness raising and effective campaigning around the media, MPs, city councils, the arts and local communities. In addition there will be a fringe meeting on Syrian refugees and regional meetings. The day will finish and end with inspirational speeches from key people such as Sarah Teather, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Maurice Wren Chief Executive of The Refugee Council and refugee activists who have survived persecution, long journeys, the UK asylum process and other unmentionable traumas who will want to be part of the birth of the new sanctuary movement.
It is hoped that the Summit will offer people across the country both space and structure to energise our campaigning in the run-up to the General Election and beyond, building unity and coherence around the 8 principles, providing the momentum for a new movement that embraces mutual support and stimulates stronger campaigning actions.