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Call for a clear stand from political leaders after attack on Knowsley hotel

180 organisations have signed an open letter to leaders of all parties in response to the attack on Friday 10th February on a hotel in Knowsley where asylum seekers are housed. The letter calls on party leaders to ‘take a clear stand and condemn any further violence against those who come here to find safety’.  

Coordinated by Together With Refugees, you can read the letter and full list of signatories below:

Dear Party Leaders

The scenes of hatred and violence against people seeking asylum on Friday were horrifying.  We stand in solidarity with them and with all those who have come to the UK to find protection.  These awful acts do not represent the people of Knowsley. 

Those in the asylum system have already suffered terribly. Most have fled places like Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Iran and Eritrea due to war and persecution.  They have made terrifying journeys to reach safety.  And now, due to shocking delays and a failing system, they are forced to experience even more anxiety and fear, in a place they do not know, placed in accommodation not of their choosing, unable to work and with no control on where they live or what their future holds.  

Their lives are in limbo as they wait, sometimes for years, for a decision on their asylum claim.  And it is clear that these massive delays are directly leading to the use of hotels for people seeking asylum – a completely inappropriate form of accommodation and a glaring confirmation that the system is broken.  

Having already experienced great hardship, these men, women and children who come here for protection are now faced with violence, fuelled by inflammatory language of ‘invasion’ and policies that demonise them. The responsibility to create a system that is fair and compassionate, and brings cohesion instead of division, lies with our decision makers.  

With the high risk of more premeditated extremist attacks around the country, leaders of all parties must now take a clear stand and condemn any further violence against those who come here to find safety, and set out the action they will take to prevent it. Those who incite this anger and violence bring shame on this country, on the vast majority who are proud of our history of helping those in danger around the world. This does not reflect the people of Britain. This is not who we are.

Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family

Bobby Lloyd, CEO, Art Refuge

Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside (ALM)

Mabli Jones, Deputy Director, Asylum Matters

Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project

Mark Goldring, Director, Asylum Welcome

Jimmy Zachariah, CEO, Baca

Sarah Byrne, Manager, Bayswater College

Lilian Geijsen, Director, Europe, Ben & Jerry’s

Joseph Goulding, Head Of Governance, Big Help Project

Emma Hawthorne, Chair, BIRCH (Birmingham Community Hosting Network)

David Brown, Chair, Birmingham City of Sanctuary

Barbara Forbes, Coordinator, Birmingham Schools of Sanctuary

Will Sutcliffe, Chair, Bradford City of Sanctuary

Maggie Pearse, Chair, Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network (BIASAN)

Matt Powell, CEO, Breaking Barriers

Dan Green, Managing Director, Bridges for Communities

Jo Benefield, Campaign Coordinator, Bristol Defend the Asylum Seekers Campaign

Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future

Yvonne Rendell, Chair, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees

Catharine Walston, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign

Eleanor Brown, CEO, CARAS

Clare Moseley, Founder, Care4Calais

Gavin Smart, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Housing

Thomas Martin, Director, City of Sanctuary Sheffield

Siân Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK

Mauricio Silva, IRD Coordinator, Columbans in Britain

Ako Zada, Chairperson of Community InfoSource, Community InfoSource

Jayne Mercer, Chief Executive Office/Immigration Lawyer, Community Integration and Advocacy Centre (CIAC)

 Anthony Conway, Secretary, Coventry Against Racism

Toni Soni, Centre Director, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre

Sharron McGuinness, Director Crisis Skylight Merseyside, Crisis Uk

Kooj Chuhan, Director, Crossing Footprints CIC

Liz Ferrie, Community representative, Daughters of Charity, Province of Rosalie Rendu

Steve Cooke and Julie James, Managers, Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity

Jonathan Ellis, Project Director, Detention Forum

David Packwood, Director, DPC

Patricia Durr, Chief Executive Officer, ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking)

Jeannie Tweedie, Co-Director, Elmbridge CAN

Stephanie Habib, Executive Team, English for Action London

Tanja Pagnuco, Programme Manager, English National Opera

Lucila Granada, CEO, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) 

Alan Strang, Partner, For refugees Birmingham

Aryan Sanghrajka, Founder & Managing Director, Forced To Flee

Amber Bauer, CEO, forRefugees

Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture

Traci Kirkland, Head of Charity, Govan Community Project

Denise McDowell, CEO, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit

Mrs M Smith, Trustee, Harrogate District of Sanctuary

Polly Gifford, Co Chair, Hastings Community of Sanctuary

Jane Grimshaw, Convener, Hastings Supports Refugees

Ailsa Dunn, Secretary, Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees

Martin McDonagh, Chair – Healthwatch Knowsley, Healthwatch Knowsley

Kat Hacker, Director of Legal Protection, Helen Bamber Foundation

Roger Wilson, Trustee, Hope and Aid Direct

Helen Hodgson, Operations Director, Hope at Home

Jonny Brennan, Pastor, Hope Church Wirral

Rosie Carter, Director of Policy, Hope not Hate

Philip Davis, Director, Hope Projects

Anneke Elwes, Director, HostNation

Maddie Harris, Director, Humans for Rights Network

Mary Solomon, Founder, Humans of Wolverhampton

Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX

Jabbar Hasan, Director, Iraqi Association

Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service UK

Jill Kent, Chair, Justice And Peace Scotland

Emma Hutton, CEO, JustRight Scotland

Dr Razia Shariff, CEO, Kent Refugee Action Network

Sarah Thwaites, Chief Officer, Laridae CIC

Patricia Donald, Volunteer, Larne House Visitor Group

Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Jenny Willison, Secretary, Leeds Destitute Asylum-seekers Support (LEDAS)

David Forbes, Manager, Lifeline Options CIC

Anne Thwaite, Director, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

Seana Roberts, Administrator, Liverpool City of Sanctuary Group 

Suba Das, Creative Director, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres

Margaret McAdam, Secretary, Liverpool Trades Union Council

Liz Hibberd, Strategic and Partnership Lead, Manchester City of Sanctuary

Aderonke Apata, Founder and Chairperson, Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Sarah Jones, Chief Executive,  Mencap Liverpool & Sefton

Hilary Travis, Company Director/Social Worker, Mental Health Counts Ltd

Janet Coe, Director/Solicitor, Merseyside Law Centre

Seana Roberts, Manager,  Merseyside Refugee Support Network

Helen Dickson, One of the founder members, Merseyside Solidarity Knows No Borders

Jenny Porter, Interim Director, Metal Culture  

Revd Graham Thompson, President of the Methodist Conference, Methodist Church of Britain

Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO, Micro Rainbow CIC

Nazek Ramadan, Executive Director, Migrant Voice

Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM

Owen Temple, Chair, No To Hassockfield

Debbie Royle, Deputy Director, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum

Salma Ravat, CEO, One Roof Leicester

Angela Mcleary, Spokesperson, One Strong Voice 

Pauline David, Head Teacher, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School

Amos Schonfield, Founder & CEO, Our Second Home

Heather Lafferty, UK Government Relations Adviser, Oxfam GB

Paul Gauntlett, Board Member, Treasurer, Pendle New Neighbours

Elaine Fraser, Charity Co Founder, People in Motion

Marzena Zukowska, Co-director, Polish Migrants Organise for Change (POMOC)

Robina Qureshi, Chief Executive Officer, Positive Action In Housing

Sally Daghlian OBE, CEO, Praxis

Catherine Margham, Member of QARN Steering Group, QARN (Quaker Asylum & Refugee Network)

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, Rainbow Migration

Nick Beales, Head of Campaigning, RAMFEL

Ana Asatiani, Expert by Experience Co-ordinator, RAS Voice

Tim Naor Hilton, CEO, Refugee Action

Shari Brown, Partnership and Development Manager, Refugee and Migrant Centre (West Midlands)

Mrs Lorri Dawson, Chair of Trustees, Refugee and Migrant Network Sutton

Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council

Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager, Refugee Legal Support (RLS)

Jacqueline Adusei, CEO, Refugee Resources

Paul Hutchings, Chief Executive, Refugee Support Europe

Nick Harborne, CEO, Refugee Support Group Berkshire

Comfort Etim, Director, Refugee Women Connect

Mandy Littlewood, Director, Refugees & Mentors CIC

Lauren Scott, Executive Director, Refugees at Home

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive-Director, René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights

Kate Brown, CEO, Reset

Philomene Uwamaliya, Project Lead, Resource Hub for Professionals who support Asylum Seekers, Refugees & Migrant Populations, Liverpool John Moores University

Jeremy Thompson, Restore Manager, Restore – a project of Birmingham Churches Together

Nicola David, Chair, Ripon City of Sanctuary

Emily Mott Duncannon, Trustee, Rural Refugee Network

Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO, Safe Passage

Pervin Ahmad, Strategic Development Manager, Saheliya

Kate Madia, Principal, Saint Thomas More

Indre Lechtimiakyte, Legal and Migrant Support Manager, Samphire

Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children

Afrah Qassim, CEO & Founder, Savera UK

Sabir Zazai, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council

Margaret Roche, Manager, SHARe Knowsley

Amanda Jones, CEO, Shropshire Supports Refugees

Liz Morgan, Trustee/Treasurer, Side by Side Refugees

Adele Spiers, MD & Senior Art Psychotherapist, SOLA Arts

Alexa Netty, CEO, SolidariTee

Nikki Walters, Chair, Southampton Action

Mark Courtice, Chair, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group

Pauline Nandoo, Director, Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers

Tyler Fox, Acting Director, Springboard Youth Academy

Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees, St Albans for Refugees

Tara Roughneen, Religious Education and Catholic Life, St Anne’s Catholic Primary School 

Sara Robinson, Director, St Augustine’s Centre, Halifax

Abigail Martin, Manager, St Chad’s Sanctuary

Anna O’Driscoll, Teacher and lay chaplain, St Thomas Aquinas School

Daniel Sohege, Director, Stand For All

Chris Jones, Director, Statewatch

Bernadette McAliskey, CEO, STEP (South Tyrone Empowerment Programme)

Stephanie Neville, Project Manager, Stories of Hope and Home

Rebecca Didi, Trauma informed Therapist, Survivors Manchester

Revd Dr Louis Johnson, Assistant Curate, Team Parish of St Luke in the City

Samsoudini Abdou Moussa, Co-Chair of Tees Valley of Sanctuary, Tees Valley of Sanctuary

Miranda Reilly, Director, The Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees

Charlotte Hu, Digital Marketing Manager, The Bike Project

Ros Holland, Chief Executive, The Boaz Trust

Lycy Bracken, Co-Director, The Happy Baby Community

Elaine Ortiz, Founder and Director, The Hummingbird Refugee Project

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)

Marc Wadsworth, Co-Founder, The Liberation Movement

Monique Hawkins, Interim Co-CEO, the3million

Amy Lythgoe, Trustee, Together Now

Alex Fisher, Community Development Worker, Together Wirral Churches Forum

Felicity Dobrushi, Toxteth Women’s Centre Manager, Toxteth Women’s Centre

Katie Hope, Head of Operations, Trauma Foundation South West

Pauline Mary Ruth, Chair of Trustees, Trinity Safe Space Charity

Rev Fiona Bennett, United Reformed Church General Assembly Moderator, United Reformed Church

Revd Geoff Felton, Moderator of Mersey Synod of the URC, United Reformed Church Mersey Synod

Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive, Upbeat Communities

Jane Way, Founding Member, Upper Wharfedale Refugee Support Group

Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Solicitor, Vauxhall Community Law and Information Centre, Liverpool

Aidan Jolly, Collective Member, Virtual Migrants

Jonathan Senker, Chief Executive, VoiceAbility

Jamal Chouhaib, EAL Teacher, Washwood Heath Academy

Andrew Harwood, Project Manager, Welcome Group Halesowen

Andrea Cleaver, CEO, Welsh Refugee Council

Alan Alexander, Chair, West Cumbria Refugee Support Network

Rev Dominic Robinson sj, Chairperson, Westminster Justice and Peace Commission

George Reiss, Vice Chair, Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary

Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director, Women for Refugee Women

Hannah West, Project Lead, Women’s Health Matters

Claire Cooke, Project Worker, Women’s Support Project (Rights & Choices)

Jo Cobley, Chief Executive, Young Roots