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© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

A message from Sabir Zazai, following House of Commons vote

Yesterday MP’s voted on the Nationality and Borders Bill in the House of Commons. Sabir Zazai, CEO of Scottish Refugee Council and spokesperson for Together With Refugees, gave the following response:

“The government faced strong criticism and a series of rebellions led by a set of former conservative ministers on its proposed hardline approach to refugees in the Nationality and Borders Bill. The debate revealed a growing well of unease across the political spectrum, in the face of a huge upsurge of campaign pressure from the public. Ministers ignore this at their peril.  They now need to listen to the vast majority of voters who want a kinder, more effective approach towards refugees – especially in the light of the Ukraine crisis. Refugees must not be criminalised just because of how they arrive here. 

But there’s still time for the government to change course. We urge ministers to honour their promises to provide safe routes for refugees and agree to the proposal made by the House of Lords that the UK pledges to resettle 10,000 refugees a year from around the world so it doesn’t have to respond on-the-hoof every time an international crisis like Ukraine strikes. Today must serve as a wake-up call to the government that it needs to take this reform seriously, show that it is listening to its own MPs and propose an alternative way forward.”  

St Augustine’s orange heart by Ellis Robinson