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Your Monthly Update - 

Dear <<First Name>>, 

It has been a while since Sanctuary on Sea last produced a newsletter, and we are excited to catch you up on everything we’ve been doing. Sanctuary on Sea and the ‘Sanctuary’ movement is devoted to fostering a culture which welcomes all types of people, especially those seeking sanctuary. An atmosphere of inclusion and compassion is something we can all benefit from. You will no doubt have watched with alarm the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which led the government to evacuate 15,000 people and commit to resettling up to 20,000 refugees under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme. But who will be eligible and where they will be resettled is still not clear and the government seems unable to provide those already here with adequate support. Thousands remain in "bridging hotels" to which they were moved from their quarantine hostels. Nor has the government committed to a target for the global “UK Resettlement Scheme”, which risks being forgotten while all eyes are on the Afghan scheme. This crisis has underlined the need for refugees to be provided with decent accommodation, and provided safe entry routes to the UK.

 

We supported City of Sanctuary UK's statement on the solidarity and compassion which we must show to Afghans as part of our humanitarian duty, and the need to establish more safe routes for Afghans to reach the UK:


Here in Brighton and Hove, we have a proud history of welcoming refugees into our community. Sussex University has lived up to its name as a University of Sanctuary by helping to force Boris Johnson to agree to evacuate Chevening scholars and nine are about to start the new term, four accompanied by their families. 
 
It's not right that so many of the Afghan evacuees are stuck in hotels.  We all want to welcome them to our city, but the only way the Council can offer to take them, is if we can find affordable housing.  Can you help? 

 

It has been a busy month for Sanctuary on Sea, and the wider City of Sanctuary movement. Alongside Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim MacCafferty, we called on Priti Patel to provide urgent information about young asylum seekers who were placed in a hotel in Brighton and Hove at only a few hours notice. We tried to coordinate the local refugee support sector’s response to the arrival of these young people, but the Home Office blocked most offers of help. Happily, the Refugee Council now has a member of staff in the hotel, who is keen to work worth us.

We were shocked to hear from our friend Alex Ntung, who helped start our Schools of Sanctuary programme, that his sister had been murdered by the army in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of her ethnicity. We wrote to Brighton MP Caroline Lucas, who has tabled a parliamentary question about the situation in the DRC.


Nationally, the City of Sanctuary movement are mobilising across the country in opposition to the ‘Anti-Refugee Bill, joining the Together With Refugees campaign.  Find out more by joining us on Thursday, the second day of City of Sanctuary UK's Annual conference and AGM. 
 

Nationally, the Sanctuary movement is celebrating the first ‘Cinema of Sanctuary’ in Hebden Bridge, and a new ‘Theatre of Sanctuary’ in Nottingham. Angie Lynn, our schools lead, and Sarah Berliner from EMAS spoke at City of Sanctuary's thematic conversation on how local authorities can ensure warm welcomes in schools.  Another of the conversations was about how to overcome barriers to accessing maternity care.


We try to promote any refugee or migration-related event going on in the city by sharing on our Facebook page. If you would like us to promote your event or flag a campaign in this newsletter or on social media, drop us a line at info@brightonandhove.cityofsanctuary.org

Don't forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
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Local Updates 

In response to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Sanctuary on Sea and the Council have coordinated Brighton residents and organisations' strong outpouring of support for Afghan refugees, and informed local people on how to help.
 

We and the Council have been overwhelmed by offers of help for Afghans, but, no evacuees have arrived in the yet.  This City of Sanctuary could be doing much more. We have written to the Leader of the Council, Phelim MacCafferty, calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to set an ambitious target for the number of Afghans we will welcome, and call a high level meeting with all stakeholders to coordinate the City’s response, starting with finding affordable accommodation. 
 

The Home Office has restricted the local refugee sector’s ability to meet with the unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people placed in a hotel in Hove. Doing this is essential to assess the young people’s needs and provide resources. We held a series of meetings with our partners to jointly communicate to the Home Office how we can, and should be allowed to, help. The Hummingbird Project were interviewed in an Observer article discussing the situation of these young people.

The 'Anti-Refugee Bill'

The government is trying to pass a ‘Nationality and Borders Bill’, which the Asylum Matters campaign calls the ‘anti-refugee bill’ for the detrimental effect it will have on asylum seekers and refugees. The Bill will criminalise asylum seekers entering the UK through irregular routes, despite this being a legal means to seek asylum under the international law. 
 

The wider City of Sanctuary network has joined the TogetherWithRefugees campaign to fight the Anti-Refugee Bill. Please see what you can do locally.
 

In partnership with Together with Refugees, Asylum Matters has produced a folder of briefings on the Bill. This includes resources on how the Bill will harm diverse groups such as LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. 
Actions you can take to help refugees and asylum seekers locally

We can’t support refugees and asylum seekers, including Afghans, unless they have somewhere to stay. We are launching a campaign for landlords to help by offering decent and affordable accommodation. There are also many other ways that you can help with providing somewhere for people to live whilst they rebuild their lives.
 

Our friends at Thousand 4 £1000, a local group which provides homes for refugees across Brighton, have shared the increasing importance of making sure that the Afghan refugees within our city have what they need to rebuild their lives and thrive. We wholeheartedly echo this sentiment, and invite you to donate to this group if you can.  

Since the Afghan evacuation, nine Afghan students have been offered Chevening Scholarships to study at the University of Sussex, a University of Sanctuary. Whilst five are thankfully settling in on campus, four are still in bridging hotels across the UK. MA Student Naimat Zafary, a UN project co-ordinator, fled Afghanistan with his family and expressed his gratitude for the welcome he has received from our community. He has written a
moving piece about his experiences  You can support these students in rebuilding their lives and studies by donating to The Sussex Fund Afghan Appeal.
 

You can contact your MP to express your opposition to the ‘Anti-Refugee Bill’. This is the biggest attack on the refugee protection system we have seen. Vulnerable asylum seekers such as women who have fled persecution and perilously crossed the channel by boat will automatically have their claims dismissed due to the bill's crackdown on 'unofficial routes', and likely face deportation. Asylum Matters have produced a template letter which you can use.
 

South Downs Refugee Project, who are based in Hassocks, hosted a launch event on the 15th of September to discuss community sponsorship of refugees- a government scheme where local community groups come together to enable a refugee family to resettle in their area. This integrates refugees into the community, and is an enriching experience for all involved. The event included moving speeches by Ahmad Jabroudi, Chair of the Sussex Syrian Community Group and musician Jamal AlSakka. They are looking for volunteers, donations and potential landlords.

Coming Up

City of Sanctuary UK is holding its annual conference and AGM online on September 22nd and 23rd.  Find out how to join fight against the Anti-Refugee Bill, take part in networking sessions, attend talks from speakers such as Amani Yahya, co-chair, and attend workshops on the Local Authority Network, and Schools of Sanctuary. 
 

Brighton Jubilee Library, one of the Libraries of Sanctuary, is inviting you to attend an afternoon of global music from 1:30-4pm on Saturday the 9th of October, including Sudanese and Syrian artists. You can find out more on their Twitter page.
 

Stories of Resilience UK is holding a launch event on 29th of September from 1-2pm celebrating how refugees and asylum seekers and the groups supporting them have worked together during COVID-19, which will include videos, blogs and photostories.
 

Women for Refugee Women are organising a rally to defend the right to asylum and fight the 'Anti-Refugee' Bill. This will be held in Parliament Square, London on Wednesday the 20th of October from 4:30-6:30pm.


Resources to Read

Campaign group Asylum Matters has collaborated with Sustain farming alliance to produce a briefing on how COVID-19 has affected asylum seekers’ access to food. You can read this to learn more about how access to this fundamental right has been limited. 
 

IMIX have produced a handy resource discussing how to use the power of narratives to build support for refugee protection across the population, thereby challenging assumptions and motivating action. 
Directory of Services

Finally, we'd like to remind everyone that the Directory of Services for refugees and migrants in Brighton and Hove is available online.

This directory lists organisations which offer support to, or are advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. It also lists organisations which offer specific services of interest to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as a small number of refugee- and migrant-led organisations. Please read and share as widely as you can. Please let us know if you would like your service to be included in the directory, or if your existing entry needs updating.


Best wishes,

Evangeline Knapman
Volunteer
Sanctuary on Sea 
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