The upcoming general election on December 12 gives us a key opportunity to raise our voice for the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. We are encouraging supporters to raise questions with Prospective Parliamentary Candidates linked to our key asks in the Birmingham Declaration* groups.
Thanks to our partners in the migration and asylum sector for producing the following resources:
- Refugee Action have produced a range of campaign tools for you to use. You can email your candidates and download a local campaigning guide with suggestions on ways to raise issues affecting refugees and people seeking asylum on the doorstep and at hustings. This includes a new version of their election door hanger, which gives you key questions to raise with canvassers and candidates on the doorstep! Share the campaign video to spread the word.
- Refugee Council have released an election pack, which covers the key policy issues affecting refugees and people seeking asylum and how you can raise them during the election campaign. They are also gathering feedback on any responses supporters have received from candidates and political parties on these issues, which you can share via email at [email protected].
- The Scottish Refugee Council have released a manifesto of their key policy asks for the next UK Government. This includes an end to immigration detention, increasing asylum support rates and voting rights for all migrants. The policies are relevant to the whole of the UK so you can talk to your candidates about them whether you live in Scotland or not.
- The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) have produced a series of resources to put migrants’ rights on the agenda. You can read their People Move manifesto, download an ‘I Stand with Migrants’ poster to display in your window, use their tool to contact your local candidates and get tips on how to organise an event or talk to your friends about migrants’ rights.
Thank you to Asylum Matters for this summary of Election Manifesto Commitments on Asylum & Refugee Issues:
The Conservatives will continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution “with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so.” They will boost English language teaching to empower migrants and help them to integrate.
Labour has committed to establishing a humane immigration system and ending the hostile environment that caused the Windrush scandal. There is a commitment to end indefinite detention, review the alternatives to the inhumane conditions of detention centres, and close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House. The rights of refugees will be upheld, safe and legal routes for asylum seekers will be established, and “refugees will have the right to work” and “will be treated humanely by Government at all levels.”
The Liberal Democrats have committed to implement a fair system for seekers of sanctuary, including by granting asylum seekers the right to work after three months; committing resettlement places to 10,000 refugees each year; providing free English lessons to refugees and asylum seekers; and moving asylum policymaking from the Home Office to the Department for International Development. They have also committed to scrapping the hostile environment, introducing a 28-day time limit on detention and closing seven of the UK’s nine detention centres.
The Green Party has committed to end the hostile environment, ending indefinite detention, closing the immigration detention centres, allowing “refugees to live freely, with a right to work, whilst their applications are considered.”
The SNP will seek the devolution of immigration powers so that Scotland can have a migration system that “works for our economy and society”. The party commits to opposing the ‘hostile environment’, introducing a fair asylum system where decisions are made by an independent body in place of the Home Office, granting asylum-seekers the right to work, and introducing a new scheme to ensure families can remain together.
Plaid Cymru want Wales to be a real Nation of Sanctuary for refugees fleeign war and oppression and will help refugeesand asylum seekers integrate into Welsh society.
* The Birmingham Declaration was launched at the first Sanctuary Summit in 2014 and has since been endorsed by more than 320 organisations. The core principles in the Declaration are:
1. All asylum seekers, refugees and migrants should be treated with dignity and respect.
2. A fair and effective process to decide whether people need protection should be in place.
3. No one should be locked up indefinitely.
4. No one should be left sick or destitute in our society.
5. We should welcome the stranger and help them to integrate.