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Sanctuary in Parliament

posted 30 Nov 2016, 01:35 by Tony King   [ updated 30 Nov 2016, 01:46 ]

On Tuesday, two representatives of Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign met with MPs Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge), Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire) and Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire) at the Sanctuary in Parliament event organised by City of Sanctuary.

City of Sanctuary aims to make the UK a welcoming place for refugees and asylum seekers. The organisation creates a network of towns and cities which are proud to be places of safety for people seeking sanctuary.

Sanctuary in Parliament involved refugee testimonies, music and poetry, as well as information about the current situation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The emphasis was on the human impact of legislative decisions. Stories were often heart-breaking. Amir, a refugee with Freed Voices, described his ordeal in detention and how it made him feel that no one would be able to hear him or his voice. He said that detention is not something that ever goes away - the scars are always there. Other stories were more uplifting. A representative from the City of Sanctuary group in Brecon, Hay and Talgarth shared photos of the rural breaks they had offered to refugees in South Wales and the positive impact it had on the local community. An 8 year old girl involved with the group described making tea for refugees as the ‘proudest moment of my life’.

The afternoon coincided with a Parliamentary debate on refugee family reunion taking place in Westminster Hall. Family reunion, and the current obstacles to reunification, were a theme throughout the day.

CRRC used the event to speak to their MPs about the importance of housing for refugees in the Cambridge area, as well as highlighting some of the problems of finding suitable housing within the city boundaries. The Cambridge city council has recently committed to hosting one hundred refugees under the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Campaign (a doubling of its initial commitment). However, in order to achieve this, the council and CRRC need to secure suitable housing for refugee families. The pressured rental property market in Cambridge is one of the biggest obstacles to this goal.

CRRC was pleased that MPs Daniel Zeichner, Heidi Allen and Lucy Frazer were willing to meet with us, receptive to our message and willing to help where possible. We look forward to working further with them on the vital campaign to find housing for refugees within the Cambridge area.