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Refugee Week Wales 2013 Volunteers Needed
Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourage a better understanding across communities. It aims to deliver positive, educational messages to counter some of the fears, ignorance and negative stereotypes about the reasons why people seek sanctuary.
This year Refugee Week Wales will be celebrated from June 17th – 23rd, 2013 and the theme is ‘Our History & Heritage’
The Welsh Refugee Council is looking for volunteers to help take part in this year’s varied and exciting events. We are looking for anybody: from documentary makers, to those who simply have a passion for helping others.
If you want to get involved, please contact Jake.Westlake@welshrefugeecouncil.org.uk
Press Release: UK Border Agency abolition
Welsh Refugee Council Press release:
We welcome Theresa May’s announcement that the UK Border Agency will be abolished because it is failing to fulfil its duties. The Government statement acknowledges that the agency‘s performance is ‘still not good enough’. Henceforth the agency will be disbanded and ‘split into a 2 smaller entities’: an ‘immigration and visa service’ and an ‘immigration law enforcement organisation’.
While we are pleased to see the Government acknowledge systematic failings which have pervaded the agency for years on all levels; including ‘historical backlogs of hundreds and thousands of cases’ which were hidden by a ‘closed, secretive and defensive culture’. We urge the Government to clarify its thinking on forced migration and the lives of people who in fear of their lives have been forced to seek asylum in the UK. A right enshrined in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
Mike Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of the Welsh Refugee Council said:
“We are proud to play a role in saving the lives of people who have come to the UK seeking sanctuary from persecution. The UK Border Agency has for some time been failing to meet even the most basic obligations to treat people humanely and ensure their asylum claim is judged with respect fairness and efficiency. Rather than an assumption that people’s stories must be incredible from the start.”
“I hope that the Government will use this opportunity to re-examine how it could improve the asylum process to ensure that people are not subject to assumptions grounded in a ‘culture of denial.’”
“In the words of Aldous Huxley ‘the facts do not cease to exist because they are denied.’ A fair, effective and impartial decision making authority is urgently needed to ensure we give protection to people in fear of their lives.”
The Welsh Refugee Council is therefore calling for an independent body, separate from Government, to evaluate individuals’ asylum claims. A body that has the expertise to make fair and effective decisions about the life circumstances of asylum seekers which are often complex and demand significant consideration and inquiry.
This is essential for the UK Government to avoid the tragic mistakes which haunted the UK Border Agency and to continue to hold its international position as a rights upholder and champion.
For further enquiries please contact:
Daisy Cole Director of Influencing
Mobile: 07817 333 511