Open Letter to Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, from refugee charities

More than 110 organisations have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, calling on her to ‘do something worth dreaming about’ by creating safe routes and dealing with the backlog in claims. The letter was coordinated by IMIX and Together With Refugees. You can read the letter below.

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

Eleanor Brown, CEO, CARAS

Neal Heard, Co-CEO, Abigail Housing

Sophie Wickham, Director, Action for Refugees In Lewisham

Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Familyand 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

Josie Naughton, CEO and Co-Founder, Choose Love

Pete Moorey, Head of Campaigns and UK Advocacy, Christian Aid

Sian Summers-Rees, Chief officer, City of Sanctuary UK

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

Simon Tyler, Executive Director, Doctors of The World UK

Elaine Beard, Co-Director, Dodgy Clutch Staged Presentations

Simon Barrow, Director, Ekklesia

Stephanie Habib, Project Development Manager, English for Action London

Tanja Pagnuco, Programme Manager, ENO

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

Sonya Sceats, CEO, Freedom from Torture

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

Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action

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

Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council

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

Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children

Aloysius Ssali, Founder and Director, Say it Loud Club

Laura Cooper, Ambassador for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Scarborough Friends of Refugees

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council

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