The TV-famed “Glasgow Girls” will join people from more than 100 organisations in Birmingham next week (15th November) to reaffirm their support for Britain’s historic role in welcoming people fleeing persecution. This unprecedented national gathering has been organised by a coalition of asylum supporting organisations, faith and community groups and concerned individuals from every part of the UK, in a bid to balance the increasingly negative debate around immigration.
“Sanctuary Summit” has the support of national figures such as Archbishop Sentamu of York, Sarah Teather MP, and the former Chief Inspector of Prisons Lord Ramsbotham CBE. It will be opened by the Refugee Council’s Chief Executive Maurice Wrenn, and experts from around the country will lead workshops on a range of contentious issues such as detention, destitution and decision-making.
“Asylum seekers are among the most marginalised people in society,” says co-organiser Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy at the British Red Cross. “It’s a testimony to the strength of feeling among so many ordinary citizens that hundreds are devoting a Saturday in November to speak up for their cause.”
Amongst those attending the Summit are four of the so-called “Glasgow Girls”, who made headlines – and later featured in a TV film – when they stood up for destitute asylum seekers in their city. They will share their experiences, hear personal testimonies from individuals who have sought sanctuary in the UK, and join discussions about some of the issues they face.
At the end of the summit, participants will be invited to unite around eight Key Principles, before returning to continue the work in their own areas.
Sanctuary Summit will take place at Birmingham Christian Centre, Birmingham B1 3QQ, on Saturday 15th November, 10am-4.30pm.
The 8 Key Principles are:
• All asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to be treated with dignity and respect
• Improved decision making, so protection is granted to all who need it
• Access to good quality legal advice and representation
• An end to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants
• 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
• 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
• Free access to healthcare for all asylum seekers while they are in the UK
• Asylum seekers to be welcomed & befriended on arrival, and offered free language tuition so they can fully participate and contribute to the local community
Further information and to register for a place check out the Sanctuary Summit website.