“Something worth dreaming about”: an open letter to the Home Secretary

By 31/10/2022November 15th, 2022News

More than 120 charities and organisations sign an open letter to the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman appealing for an asylum system that is effective, compassionate and protects the most vulnerable members of society.

Tynemouth Together With Refugees

Credit: Tynemouth Together With Refugees

Dear Home Secretary,

In your role, you hold the lives of many people in your hands. Iranian women pursued by police because they dared to share an opinion. Afghan activists who risked everything to work with our government. Teenagers fleeing brutal military dictatorships because they do not want to fire on their fellow citizens. Girls who were forced into being used as sex slaves. Parents who escaped war zones with their children in their arms.

For many years, the Home Office’s bureaucratic backlog and failure to plan has let these people down. Now, you have the power to change things.

But, Home Secretary, when you talk of “safe and legal routes”, you must be aware that it is impossible to ask refugees to come exclusively through such a path when even Afghan interpreters who are eligible for one of our few existing schemes remain in hiding from the Taliban.

When you talk of “illegal migrants”, you must be aware that the top nationalities of people making dangerous journeys include Afghanistan, Eritrea and Syria, and that at least 97% of asylum claims made by people from these countries are successful.

When you question the existence of “modern slavery”, you must be aware that you are dismantling your own party’s proud and internationally-recognised achievement in protecting the survivors of trafficking.

And when you complain about the cost of housing asylum seekers, you must be aware that while people seeking safety did not choose to leave their homelands, they are willing to work and keen to contribute, if only the law permitted them.

You have referred to this country’s proud history of offering sanctuary. So, we ask you to make this happen with a fair, kind and effective system for refugees. Deal with the backlog in asylum cases, create safe routes, respect international law, and the UN Convention on Refugees, and give refugees a fair hearing, however they get here. Then you would have really done something worth dreaming about.

Yours sincerely,

Josie Naughton, CEO and Co-Founder, Choose Love
Sian Summers-Rees, Chief officer, City of Sanctuary UK
Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council
Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council
Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
Tanja Pagnuco, Programme Manager, ENO
Simon Tyler, Executive Director, Doctors of The World UK
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children
Sonya Sceats, CEO, Freedom from Torture
Neal Heard, Co-CEO, Abigail Housing
Sophie Wickham, Director, Action for Refugees In Lewisham
Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family and Founder and Chair, Manchester Migrant Solidarity
Zarlasht Halaimzai, Founder and CEO, Amna Refugee Healing Network
Bobby Lloyd, CEO, Art Refuge
Ewan Roberts, Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside
Emma Birks, Campaigns Manager, Asylum Matters
Mark Goldring, Director, Asylum Welcome
Zita Holbourne, National Chair, BARAC UK
Barbara forbes, Coordinator, Birmingham Schools of Sanctuary
Will Sutcliffe, Chair, Bradford City of Sanctuary
Beth Wilson, CEO, Bristol Refugee Rights
Yvonne Rendell, Chair, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees
Mary Stretch, CEO, Calais Light
Marissa Green, Chair of Trustees, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group
Catharine Walston, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign
Chris Hutchings, Composer, Choirs Against Racism
Pete Moorey, Head of Campaigns and UK Advocacy, Christian Aid
Katherine Bolton, Co-Founder, Community Welcome CIC
Dorothy Read, Chair, Conversation Club Leeds
Ruth Long, Project Coordinator, Derby Refugee Forum
Steve Cooke, Chair, Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity
Rita Chadha, Co-Director, Do Good Better
Elaine Beard, Co-Director, Dodgy Clutch Staged Presentations
Simon Barrow, Director, Ekklesia
Stephanie Habib, Project Development Manager, English for Action London
Valerie Jeffries, Trustee, Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group
Lewis Garland, Chair and Founder, Fences and Frontiers
Steve Newman, Chair, FODI (Friends of The Drop In, Sunderland)
Aryan Sanghrajka, Founder and Managing Director, Forced to Flee
Amber Bauer, CEO, ForRefugees
Joanna Ewart-James, Executive Director, Freedom United
Anna Pincus, Director, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Gisela Renolds, Executive Director, Global Link
Naomi Webb, Executive Director, Good Chance Theatre
Traci Kirkland, Head of Charity, Govan Community Project
Caroline Burnett, Founder and CEO, Guildford Refugee Aid
Amreet Johal, Development Coordinator, Haringey Migrant Support Centre
Kerry Smith, Chief Executive, Helen Bamber Foundation
Angus Clark, CEO, Herts for Refugees
Mark Lewis, Support Worker, Hoops and Loops Wales
Roger Wilson, Trustee, Hope and Aid Direct
Phil Davis, Director, Hope Projects
Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX
Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service UK
Jill Kent, Chair, Justice and Peace Scotland
Aaron Barbour, CEO, Katherine Low Settlement
Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
Jenny Willison, Secretary, Leeds Destitute Asylum-Seekers Support
Pete Hobson, Chair, Leicester City of Sanctuary
Jamie Balfour-Paul, Founder and Performing Magician, Magic for Smiles
Nadia Abdo, Chair of Trustees, Malvern Green Space
Hilary Travis, Director, Mental Health Counts
Nazek Ramadan, Executive Director, Migrant Voice
Lis Murphy, Creative Director, Music Action International
Sarah Wilson, Chair, Penrith and Eden Refugee Network
Kirsty Fraser, Co-Founder and Trustee, People In Motion
Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Praxis
Dawn B Judd, Chairperson, Preston City of Sanctuary
Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, Rainbow Migration
Sophia Singer, Chair, Red Leicester Choir
Anna Jones, CEO and Co-Founder, RefuAid
Sarah Fenby Dixon, Trustee, Refugee Aid Network
Nathan Sperry, Operations Manager, Refugee and Migrant forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
Lorri Dawson, Chair of Trustees, Refugee and Migrant Network Sutton
Becky Snaith, Chair, Refugee Compassion
Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager, Refugee Legal Support (RLS)
Paul Hutchings, Chief Executive, Refugee Support Europe
Nick Harborne, CEO, Refugee Support Group, Berkshire
Alison Moore, CEO, Refugee Women Connect
Mandy Littlewood, Director, Refugees and Mentors CIC
Lauren Scott, Executive Director, Refugees at Home
Emma Naysmith, Founder and Volunteer Coordinator, RefYouMe
Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive-Director, René Cassin, The Jewish Voice for Human Rights
Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore – A Project of Birmingham Churches Together
Nicola David, Chair, Ripon City of Sanctuary
Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO, Safe Passage International
Indre Lechtimiakyte, Legal and Migrant Support Manager, Samphire
Aloysius Ssali, Founder and Director, Say it Loud Club
Laura Cooper, Ambassador for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Scarborough Friends of Refugees
Liz Morgan, Trustee/Treasurer, Side By Side Refugees
Charles Dobson, Chairman, Skipton Refugee Support Group
Mark Courtice, Chair, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group
Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees, St Albans for Refugees
Abigail Martin, Manager, St Chad’s Sanctuary CIO
Maja Moller, Coordinator, St Thomas Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Network
Sara Robinson, Centre Director, St. Augustine’s Centre
Rosie Macpherson, Artistic Director, Stand and Be Counted Theatre
Dr Helen Taylor, Director, Stories and Supper
Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees
Rebecca Didi, Trauma Informed Therapist, Survivors Manchester
Tom Cheesman, Trustee, Swansea Asylum Seekers Support
Kathryn Williams, Committee Secretary, Swansea City of Sanctuary
Suzanne Fletcher, Housing Stream Convenor, Tees Valley of Sanctuary
Ros Holland, Chief Executive, The Boaz Trust
Lucy Bracken, Co-Director, The Happy Baby Community
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
Bridget Young, Director, The No Accommodation Network (NACCOM)
Katie Hope, Head of Operations, Trauma Foundation South West
Penny Henry, Spokesperson, Tynemouth Together With Refugees
Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile
Maddy Crowther, Co-Executive Director, Waging Peace
Susie Ventris-Field, Chief Executive, Welsh Centre for International Affairs
Hannah Barnes, Director, West End Refugee Service
Joanne Macinnes, Director, West London Welcome
Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Chairperson, Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commission
Dr Michael Bowker, Chairman of Trustees, Wycombe Refugee Partnership
Jo Cobley, CEO, Young Roots
Eleanor Brown, CEO, CARAS
Anneke Elwes, Director, HostNation
Almir Koldzic, Director, Counterpoints Arts
Jem Stein, CEO, The Bike Project

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