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!
Amnesty’s new global campaign ‘I Welcome Refugees’ has been launched. Susan Mew of the Minehead Group presented an introduction to its aims, and to the complexities of understanding the issues involved.
Worldwide there are estimated to be 21 million refugees, and it is mostly the poorest countries who receive them – countries such as Turkey and Pakistan. These, and other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East host about three quarters of all refugees. Europe is home to some 22%. Britain hosts less than 1%. For more detailed information, look at www.amnesty.org.uk/truth-about-refugees.
Relating to this campaign, our Monthly Action was to write to our local MPs asking for their support for migrants, particularly children. ‘We are working with people across the UK to welcome refugees. We would like to see all countries fairly share responsibility for hosting and assisting them.’
We heard from Group member Michael Benison who was at the well-attended Refugees Welcome march in London on 17th September, a prelude to the UN meeting on refugees in New York two days later.
We discussed our Write for Rights campaign for the Christmas period, and our concerns over the Government’s continuing plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th November at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting house, Bath Place, Taunton, when our guest speaker will be Refugee Aid From Taunton (RAFT) co-ordinator Federica Smith. We hope you’ll come and join us.
Our next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 11th October at the earlier time of 7.30pm at Taunton Quaker Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots).
Susan Mew of the Minehead Amnesty Group will be giving an introduction to Amnesty’s new global campaign, ‘I Welcome Refugees’.
Join us to hear about our campaigns, human rights and the work of Amnesty International. New members are always welcome.
We hope to see you there!
If you had family members trying to escape war and persecution, wouldn’t you do everything you could to help them reach you safely?
Unfortunately, for many, current immigration laws make that almost impossible.
Left with no choice, people are forced to embark on life-threatening journeys or seek out a life in miserable and inhumane conditions.
The UK government must open up safe and legal routes to safety.
Demand they amend immigration rules so refugees can be reunited with family members in the UK.
Please take a moment to read more and email your MP by clicking here.
Four families, including a one-year-old baby, fled to China to escape the tyranny of North Korea. Now China might send them home where they could face torture, labour camps and possibly death.
They have already been taken to a detention centre on the border with North Korea.
North Korea is in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations. It is a totalitarian state where tens of thousands of people are enslaved and tortured. All forms of freedom of expression are repressed and anyone attempting to assert their rights is crushed. No one is safe from arrest and imprisonment
Call on Chinese authorities to let them seek asylum in China or another country, or travel onwards to South Korea.