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Asylum Matters: Advocacy Update 4th July 2024

  1. Advocacy and campaigning Initiatives

General Election

In the run up to the election, advocates and campaigners have continued to set out their visions of a fair asylum and immigration system.

Right to Remain have produced an open letter, not to the winner of the General Election, but to communities in the UK on actions we can all take going forwards. Read it here

The Refugee Council have published a briefing paper: Asylum: Day One challenges for the next government setting out urgent steps to take for whoever wins power.

Safe Passage Young Leaders, a group of young people from refugee backgrounds, have developed a video asking for a fair and humane system and highlighting the need for safe routes. Watch on x instagram or facebook

Welsh Refugee Coalition Manifesto – Five Steps to Sanctuary

The Welsh Refugee Coalition released a manifesto ahead of the election, setting out five key asks to all political parties:

  1. Commit to the right to seek asylum in the UK;
  2. Build an effective asylum system that treats people with dignity and compassion;
  3. Review the impact of policies on No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) on those facing homelessness;
  4. Stand up for migrant justice;
  5. Commit to the Nation of Sanctuary vision of welcome

You can read the manifesto here.

Lift the Ban

The Lift the Ban Coalition has called on the next Government to commit to restoring the right to work for people seeking asylum. You can find the full public statement here. Download the Lift the Ban local activism pack to find out how you can help win the right to work for people seeking asylum.

Communities Not Camps (content warning: suicide / self harm)

The I and Liberty Investigates have uncovered a spike in suicides amongst people seeking asylum, making 2023the worst year on record for deaths within Home Office accommodation.

Humans For Rights Network (HFRN) and Helen Bamber Foundation (HBF) have published a new report (as reported in The Guardian) showing that increasing numbers of men placed in ex RAF Wethersfield are self-harming and attempting suicide. According to Home Office data, in the first three months of 2024 there were:

  • 30 recorded incidents of men self-harming or attempting suicide, or at serious risk of doing so;
  • 91 occurrences of men expressing that they were considering suicide or self-harm; and
  • Over 160 safeguarding referrals made regarding suicide and self-harm.

Six months ago, HFRN and HBF published evidence that the use of the ‘prison-like’ asylum camp at RAF Wethersfield was causing a significant deterioration in the mental and physical health of hundreds of men, many of whom have already experienced great trauma. Their latest report, ‘At what cost?’, shows that very little has changed in Wethersfield since.


  1. Government and Parliamentary updatesHigh court rules Home Office acted unlawfully over visa documents

    The Guardian has reported that the Home Office is facing a new ‘Windrush-style scandal’ after the High Court found the Home Secretary acted unlawfully by failing to provide documents to thousands of migrants proving they are here legally, following a legal challenge brought by RAMFEL and Cecilia Adjei. The Observer has since reported that more than four million people are at risk of losing their legal rights at the end of 2024 due to the rushed deadline for UK digital visas, following a Home Office Freedom of Information Request submitted by Helen Bamber Foundation.

  1. Reports and research

New report: Queer people not safe in UK asylum system

A new report by the University of Birmingham, with support from Rainbow Migration, shines a light on the harms that LGBTQI+ people experience within the UK asylum system and sets out urgent steps  towards a safer system. You can find the report here and coverage in the Big Issue here.

New report: Suffering and squalor – the impacton mental health of living in hotel asylum accommodation

A new report by the Helen Bamber Foundationand Asylum Aid describes how living in hotels has a significantly negativeimpact on asylum seekers’ mental health and overall quality of life. The report identifies poor living conditions, inadequate nutrition, harm to children, meagre financial support, forced room sharing with strangers and the long time spent in hotels as some of the key factors behind the mental health crisis amongst people housed in Home Office hotels. You can read the report here.

The Big Ambition for Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel De Souza, recently published The Big Ambition, compiling the voices, views and experiences of children about their lives and aspirations. The Big Ambition heard from a small number of children who identified themselves to be unaccompanied children, and some children indicated they were living in temporary asylum accommodation, including hotels. The Commissioner also heard from other children who told the office they wanted refugee children to feel welcome and accepted and feel a sense of belonging. You can read reflections from the Commissioner’s Young Ambassadors here.

  1. Resources, events, jobs and training

Right to Remain General Election Solidarity Session: New government, new migration justice movement?

Right to Remain is holding a General Election Solidarity Session on 9th July, 11am – 12.30pm to hold space for groups and campaigners to share information and analysis, build solidarity and plan our next steps. The session will consider:

  • What will the new parliamentary political reality mean for us?
  • What have we been doing in the run up to the election – and what’s our action now?

You can sign up using this form.

Snakes and Ladders: Special Asylum Seekers Edition

Swansea Asylum Seekers Support (SASS) have devised a new game inspired by Right to Remain’s Asylum Navigation Board. Snakes and Ladders: Special Asylum Seekers Edition was created by SASS members from Sri-Lanka, South Sudan, El Salvador, Cameroon and the UK, and takes you on a journey through the UK asylum system, providing information, while drawing on feelings as well as facts. A tournament to launch the game will take place at Common Meeple Board Game Café on 18 July at 7pm, at 77 St Helen’s Road, Swansea, SA1 4BG. Everyone is welcome to play or watch. Full guidelines on using and playing the game can be found here.

ASAP research launch 11 July – access to advice on asylum support

On 11 July 11am – 12:30pm,the Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) are holding a briefing on their latest research: ‘Access to advice on asylum support and asylum support appeals’. The briefing is aimed at advisors and policy workers. It will be via zoom and you can register here.

The session will cover: factors helping or preventing people accessing advice on asylum support; reasons for the reduction in asylum support appeals; the impact on individuals within the system and on advisors; asylum support advice desert; and ASAP’s policy work coming out of the research.

Lloyds Bank Foundation Development Support Programme

Lloyds Bank Foundation have released a Development Support Programme for organisations with a turnover between £25K – £500K PA.


  1. What we’re reading, watching and listening to
  • This piece in Huck Magazine by Nico, a campaigner and member of One Strong Voice, calling for an asylum system built on compassion, kindness, and ensuring refugees can become part of local communities.
  • This piece in The Big Issue on the mental health toll the risk of homelessness is having on refugees.
  • This worrying BBC News piece about a refugee family housed in an overcrowded property where a terminally ill relative is forced to sleep on the floor.
  • This Dorset Echo piece about people seeking asylum who are living on the Bibby Stockholm barge volunteering with the Weymouth and Portland Marine Litter Project and Portland Global Friendship Group on Chesil Beach
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