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City of Sanctuary UK statement on Gaza

We stand for humanity and compassion – everywhere and for everyone. The appalling violence in Palestine and Israel has shaken our little team to the core. We grieve for the utterly horrendous loss of civilian life; for the families torn apart; and for all the men, women and children who have been injured, traumatised or bereaved. As a refugee support organisation, we stand firmly in solidarity with everyone impacted, in particular those experiencing displacement, both current and historical. As a UK-based organisation, we stand with others in the sector to call on this government to open routes for people to reach family and safety in the UK. We also stand with the global humanitarian community in recognising that our urgent calls for safe passage can only be possible if the violence stops – ensuring the safety of civilian life above all else.

Right now in the UK, as a result of divisive policies and hateful rhetoric, our communities are at risk of fracturing. We stand against antisemitism, islamophobia, and hate and discrimination in all its forms. Now more than ever before it is important for our networks to come together in unity, to listen, to show compassion and to work to heal rifts.

We may not be international peace builders, but each of us are architects of welcome in our communities.

Here’s what you can do to stand in support with those affected:

1) Make a donation to a trusted organisation. Some suggestions:

2) Understand the context. This major escalation did not happen in a vacuum. Do your own research to help you understand the context and the events that led to this point. 

3) Call on your MP to support the call for safe routes for those affected. Read our joint letter here.

4) Stand up for compassion. Call out hateful and oppressive speech when you encounter it and, where you can, extend care and support for your Muslim and Jewish neighbours.

5) Take sanctuary for yourself. The news can be scary and overwhelming. Breath deeply, take breaks from reading updates, and spend more time doing the things that make you feel safe.

6) Show solidarity to all refugees. We must all remind each other that being anti-war today includes supporting refugees tomorrow. If you feel for the plight of those affected, you will also understand the plight of families forced to flee their homes in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan and so many other countries.

7) Pledge support and take action. Providing true help isn’t a one-off, commit to being in it for the long term even when the media loses interest.

Support a local City of Sanctuary group in your area – many groups will have their own pledges of support. Or if there isn’t a local group please contact a Regional/Nation Coordinator who will be able to support you to either set up a new group, or connect you with existing local organisations.