Lancaster residents to hold city centre rally against government plans for anti-refugee bill

People of the Lancaster district will gather at Lancaster Town Hall on Wednesday to ‘show they’re all heart’ in support of refugees and to oppose the Government’s anti-refugee bill.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:30 pm
The new rules would mean that all those who claim asylum after arriving in the UK through an irregular route would face removal to a third country, with their asylum claim only progressing if removal is not possible - including those left behind in Afghanistan. Photo: Getty Images

The week comes as MPs return to Parliament to consider the Nationality and Borders Bill currently making its way through the House of Commons.

The new legislation would mean that most people who would be accepted as refugees under the current rules – meaning those confirmed to have fled war or persecution following rigorous official checks would no longer have their rights recognised in the UK due to their method of arrival.

Half of these would be women and children and includes those left behind in Afghanistan.

The rally - at 4.30pm this Wednesday, October 20 - is organised by Global Link and Lancaster & Morecambe City of Sanctuary, as part of the Together With Refugees week of action from October 18 to 24.

Rallies around the country are being held on this day, with people bringing orange hearts as a symbol of welcome to refugees.

The orange heart is a symbol of welcome to refugees. It uses the colours of the refugee nation flag created by refugee Yara Said, for the first ever refugee team in the Olympics in 2016.

The colours were inspired by a lifebelt representing hope, and the heart was developed in 2021 in consultation with refugee organisations and people with lived experience.

Speakers on Wednesday will include Gisela Renolds from Global Link, who will outline the cruelties and illegalities of the Bill; a local refugee who will describe the impact this Bill would have had on her family; Lancaster City Council leader Caroline Jackson; a representative from St. Thomas’ Church, and Audrey Glover from Stand Up to Racism.

Gisela said: "We will be specifically appealing to our MP David Morris to listen to his constituents and vote against this Bill. The Bill is cruel, and illegal under international law, and must be scrapped."

To confirm attendance or for more information contact Gisela Renolds on 07765 456645 or by email at [email protected]

If given the go-ahead, the new rules would mean that all those who claim asylum after arriving in the UK through an irregular route would face removal to a third country, with their asylum claim only progressing if removal is not possible.

People who arrive irregularly who go on to be granted refugee status would only receive temporary protection with reduced rights and entitlements.

The vast majority of people who claim asylum are unable to access ‘regular’ routes (entering the UK with a valid visa and/or passport) with their only option being to enter irregularly (by boat or in the back of a lorry).

The Refugee Convention makes it clear that people should not be penalised for entering a country irregularly for the purposes of claiming asylum.

Analysis of Home Office data by the Refugee Council found that in total, 59,941 people received an initial decision grant of protection (refugee status or humanitarian protection) between 2015-2020. The total number of women and children granted status is 29,882, which equates to 50 per cent of the total.