Child refugees in the UK are alone in being denied the right to family reunion, something which provides a safe and legal route allowing those fleeing persecution to avoid dangerous journeys and people smugglers. How can it be that this is denied to unaccompanied refugee children who have already legally been through the asylum process and have suffered so much?
We wrote to ask the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families and the Minister of State for Immigration to continue to work together on this, and to look again at this crucial issue.
We wrote too to President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission asking for his intervention in the desperate plight of refugees stuck in freezing conditions on the Greek islands. You can also take action here.
We held our AGM this month, reviewing what has been achieved in the past year: Ben Grant organised a schools debate, held at Taunton School, on the Human Rights Act, and in December organised a donation of books on human rights to Taunton Public Library. Lorna Brown and Pat Jefferson organised a stall on Castle Green on the issue of FGM and early forced marriage; this provoked much interest. Our last event was our Write for Rights morning, hosted at the Coffee Morning at St Mary’s Church, Hammet Street.
Our next event will be a collection in aid of Amnesty International UK at the Tesco Superstore, Castle Street, Taunton on Sunday 19th March between 10am and 4pm. See you there!
We also heard reports on our various country campaigns and on the death penalty and other issues. Worrying reports are still reaching us about the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma). A group of Nobel Prize winners have written in protest about this to their fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the leaders in the Myanmar Government.
We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. Do join us!