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Advocacy work to protect refugees and migrants from COVID-19

COVID-19 poses a great threat to the lives of most vulnerable within our society and among them are people seeking sanctuary from war, violence and persecution. Below are some of the advocacy works by leading UK charities calling Government to take practical steps to protect people seeking sanctuary from COVID-19.  Some of the people experience destitution, detention, face deportation or are subject to Home Office reporting requirements.

 Joint Letter on protecting people who are experiencing homelessness and insecure migration status

Over 60 charities concerned by the threat of COVID-19 have signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister calling on the Government to take urgent action to support people who are destitute and homeless because of their migration status.

The joint letter, coordinated by NACCOM made some key policy recommendations that would help support the effort to minimise risks around the spread of the virus, whilst ensuring that vulnerable migrants experiencing homelessness and destitution are able to access vital support, healthcare and appropriate accommodation.

This also include enabling social distancing and self-isolation, block-booking hotel spaces and stopping evictions; ensuring access to healthcare with the abolishment of charging and clear public communications around this; providing financial support including by removing NRPF conditions and enabling everyone to access Universal Credit. The letter is available here.

Other charities including Asylum Matters have signed another separate  joint letter to the Home Secretary calls for specific measures to protect migrants and the general population from COVID-19. This included calls for the suspension of all NHS charging and data-sharing for the purposes of immigration enforcement and the suspension of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ conditions to ensure everyone can access support. You can read the letter and add your name here, and read coverage in the Independent here.

Detention Action Emergency petition – PLEASE SIGN!

Detention Action have put a petition calling for the Governemnt to  immediately release  all people held in UK immigration detention centres to prevent serious harm and loss of life.

COVID-19 poses a grave threat to life in immigration detention centres, where the charity says “thousands are warehoused in unsanitary conditions and many have serious health conditions”. You can sign the petition here.