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Dear Home Secretary,

Congratulations on your appointment.

Your government has committed to leave the European Union while maintaining Britain’s position as a compassionate and outward facing country, meeting our global responsibilities. We are writing to urge you to maintain and increase the UK’s support for people who have fled violence, conflict and persecution, as part of the UK’s response to the global refugee emergency.

At this time of change in our country, your appointment is an important opportunity to reaffirm the UK’s position as a nation which remains ready and willing to welcome those in need of protection, and support them to rebuild their lives here in safety.

We urge you to make an early statement in support of the following five principles:

  • Reiterate the UK’s continued commitment as a place of welcome and sanctuary for refugees and their families, and specifically to the 1951 refugee convention and 1967 protocol.
  • Ensure all those seeking asylum in the UK are treated with dignity and respect and receive a fair hearing.
  •  Ensure refugees and asylum seekers are able to integrate and contribute to the UK, free from the threat of poverty and homelessness, and in particular able to quickly access English classes to fast track their integration.
  • Continuing commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in the UK by 2020, together with other new resettlement programmes for children and their families.
  • The clearest possible condemnation of hate crime and xenophobia towards all groups, including refugees and asylum seekers.

We look forward to working closely with you to realise these principles in the coming months, to ensure the UK renews its long-standing commitment to helping people rebuild their lives in safety.

We look forward to meeting you in due course to discuss these issues.

Best wishes,

Stephen Hale, Chief Executive, Refugee Action

Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future

Michael Adamson, Chief Executive, British Red Cross

Neil Jameson, Executive Director, Citizens UK

Tiffy Allen, National Coordinator, City of Sanctuary

Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, Chair, Churches Refugee Network

Susan Munroe, Chief Executive, Freedom From Torture

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Wayne Myslik, Chief Executive, Migrants Resource Centre

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council

Mia Hasenson-Gross , Director, René Cassin

John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council

Natasha Walter, Director, Women for Refugee Women