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Introduction to the Refugee Campaign

“You’ll never find the solution if you don’t see the problem” Gilbert Chesterton

It’s highly likely that if you’re reading this, you’ll already identify as being socially conscious, and be aware of means of supporting refugees and asylum seekers. But how much does your awarenesss currently manifest into positive action?

Unlike more relatable policy areas such as health and education, the majority of people never have to engage with the immigration system. This lack of exposure often creates a sense of separation, and inaction. As a result, some of the most vulnerable people on the planet are left unaided and desperate, with nowhere to live. To put it bluntly, the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers are a neglected local and global problem.

This begs the question: have you (yes, you!) ever engaged with the immigration system? If your answer is ‘no,’ ask yourself whether you have gradually become detached from these people in need. What appears in your mind when you hear the words ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker?’ How do you imagine their day-to-day life?

It’s all too easy to hear the word “persecution” without considering the meaning: the systematic mistreatment of a human being, often due to race or political beliefs. A refugee has fled their home out of fear of suffering persecution. Coronavirus has exacerbated this fear, with many refugees and asylum seekers in dire living conditions without adequate food, hygiene supplies or proper shelter. The death count is both real and preventable.

In search of a better life

Rita Ora has spoken about how her family were forced to leave Kosovo when she was a baby to escape persecution.

Actress Mila Kunis, whose family escaped Ukraine for religious reasons, has been openly critical of U.S President Donald Trump’s public narrative of refugees.

Writer Viet Than Nguyen’s family fled Vietnam because of war when he was four years old, which inspired his short story collection of 2017.

At age six, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his family left the Soviet Union amidst a dangerous current of anti-Semitism.

Madeleine Albright, Albert Einstein, Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury… There is no shortage of inspiration to draw from those who have overcome persecution. These people have all changed the world for the better, producing groundbreaking art, music, and science. We share a common humanity, and this needs to be fought for.

Vulnerable groups

Out of 25.9 million refugees globally, over half are under 18 (Amnesty International, 2020). No child should have to flee their home to protect their freedom. Many refugees and asylum seekers are held in detention centres, compromising the basic levels of humanity most people take for granted, and this treatment is particularly harmful to children.

LGBT refugees apply for asylum on the basis of sexual orientation, that is, on the basis of who they are. Forced to leave their leave their country of birth because they are not heterosexual. Escaping the threat of violence for loving the wrong person. The reality is heart-breaking.

The UK could be doing much more to help refugees, and our campaign aims to encourage positive actions towards a more refugee-friendly policy.

How you can help

It is difficult to fully grasp the pain and suffering of refugees, having never experienced it. However, just because you can’t relate, does not mean you can’t advocate.

There are countless ways to get involved and support refugees and asylum seekers through co-ordinated action. Explore what you can offer through now-u. Whether it’s raising awareness on social media, signing a petition, writing to your local MP, making a donation to local/international charities or volunteering your time. Creating lasting and sustainable change is within us.

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Community Interest Company (12709184) and Charitable Incorporated Organisation (1196568)