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Campaigning

Campaigns we’re supporting (and you can too):

Patients Not Passports/Docs Not Cops:

Since the Human Rights day, we have been continuing to spread the message about changes to healthcare charges. BRR contributed to a formal review by Department of Health looking at the impact of the charges on vulnerable groups. You can read Doctors of the World’s thorough contribution here

One of our volunteers Peggy Woodward attended a focus group with Department of Health in London to share stories from her experience as a midwife of the charges and the deterrent effect. Alice Cutler has attended meetings the Bristol Care Workers Network, Protect our NHS Bristol and Defend the Asylum Seekers Campaign. It seems that the implementation of the regulations has so far been patchy but it is certainly already have terrible impacts on individuals, including a disabled member who has had her knee operation cancelled for the second time just as the Home Office refused her case.

The Home Affairs Select Committee called for data sharing between the Home Office and the NHS to be stopped and some individual cases, e.g. Albert Thomson are getting attention.

One concrete action is to sign the petition on data sharing.

We hope to be involved in more campaigning activities over the spring and to host a workshop from JCWI on 18th April about the implementation of health charges.

There are lots of good resources on The Docs not Cops website. The message for any health professionals that are considering not complying with the Regulations is that there are various ongoing reviews, legal challenges and people refusing to implement these charges as they pose a risk to people’s lives, are dangerous to public health, encourage racial profiling and discrimination.

City of Sanctuary Bristol campaign – Dignity not destitution:

A Report from Refugee Action: ‘Slipping Through the Cracks’ highlights the delays faced accessing asylum support for people who have claimed asylum.   You can read the report here.

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” (Article 25 Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Bristol City of Sanctuary has issued a call for equality, dignity and an adequate standard of living for all.  We support them –
Everyone in Bristol, including people who are seeking sanctuary, should have:
1. Appropriate shelter;
2. Access to education and skills training;
3. The right to earn a living through their own labour.

You can find out more about the campaign and pledge your support here.

Refugee Action “Stand Up for Asylum” campaign:

Refugee Action has launched a new campaign, Stand Up For Asylum, to reform the current asylum system which too often fails those it is meant to protect. To mark the launch of the campaign, Refugee Action has published a vision for what a fair and effective asylum system would look like. It is a vision of a society that provides all those seeking sanctuary with compassion, a fair decision, essential support and help to rebuild their lives. They have also worked with Huffington Post to publish a series of blogs from people (Ana, Sardasht, Rose) who have been through the system and will be promoting a new video that highlights the true meaning of asylum – safety, security, shelter.

Bristol Refugee Rights are supporting the campaign.  Add your voice to the campaign here

Other issues that concern us:

We campaign alongside other partner organisations for a fair and just asylum system where asylum seekers can no longer be detained without due process and get adequate support to avoid destitution.

Brexit and the rise in Hate Crime:

Since the UK voted to leave the EU, there has been a steep rise in reported racist hate crime.  The Leave campaign has been widely criticised for overstating the negative impact of immigration and scapegoating migrants. Many EU and non-EU nationals, including our members, feel insecure. While the majority of Bristol residents voted to remain, we urge refugee and migrant supporters to be vigilant and immediately report hate crime to 0800 171 2272.  You can read some practical tips on recognising and tackling hate crime here – Responding to Hate Crime.

Destitution:

A quarter of the members who come to our drop in are destitute.  Bristol is a City of Sanctuary and because of this the Mayor signed a number of pledges at a conference last year.  These pledges need to be implemented to support people with no means of supporting themselves.  Measures in the Immigration Act will increase destitution, particularly among families, so our Council needs to be prepared for this.

Immigration Act 2016:

Improvements:

Detention: review on detaining pregnant women; 4 month judicial oversight.

Resettlement of child refugees – a watered down version of Lord Dubs’ amendment means an unspecified number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children will be resettled.  This will be reliant on cash-strapped local authority willingness to volunteer to resettle them.

Harsher measures:

Most of the Act.  Support for asylum seekers particularly troubling as government removed right of appeal for those refused support – including families.