Urgent - Please write to your City Councillor

Posted: October 09, 2020

Many thanks to all of you who signed our petition to Cambridge City Council asking for them to extend their existing refugee programme to welcome an extra 125 asylum seekers or refugees. Because this petition was successful, the City Council will now debate this request on the 22nd of October.

Therefore, could everyone who lives in Cambridge City please write to your local councillor (there’s a list here to find yours). There’s an example letter below but please do personalise it if you can.

Dear Cllr XXXXX,

I’m writing to ask for your support for an e-petition on the City Council’s website calling for Cambridge to pledge to take in at least 125 more displaced people relocated from the Aegean Islands or through the UK Resettlement Scheme (see below).

This petition has received more online signatures than any other on the Council’s petition system. Please bear in mind that there would usually also be paper signatures submitted in addition to those on the e-petition system, but it has not been possible to collect large numbers of paper signatures in the current crisis for obvious reasons.

Cambridge has a long history of support for refugees fleeing conflict, torture and persecution in their home countries, including large numbers of Belgian refugees during the First World War, victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Nazis in the 1930s and the Vietnam war and Pinochet regime in Chile in the 1970s. These people were welcomed to Cambridge and soon became valued members of our community. Over the last five years, the city has successfully supported and integrated over a hundred vulnerable refugees but the need to provide sanctuary for these people has not gone away. Indeed, it is increasingly pressing as a result of conflicts, such as that in Syria, persecutory regimes in the Middle East and Africa and the recent fire in the Moria Refugee Camp in Greece.

As a resident of Cambridge I’m very proud of the work done by the City Council to resettle and support around 30 refugee families over the last 5 years. I’m also very proud of all of the local people who’ve given their time, money and homes to welcome the people resettled here. I know that local community groups and charities, such as the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign and Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, have done a great job supporting the people we’ve already welcomed and stand ready to work with the City Council to support the next group.

Now, in a time when the UK government is openly hostile to asylum seekers and migrants in general, where a sitting Home Secretary vilifies lawyers and courts for upholding basic human rights, I’m looking to you as my elected representative to stand up for the vulnerable and the values of our city.

I ask that you support our petition, and join us in calling on the Council to pledge to extend the UK resettlement scheme as soon as possible to include another 125 people over the next 5 years. I hope you will also feel able to confirm your willingness as a Councillor to receive people relocated from the terrible conditions in the Aegean islands as part of, or in addition to, this number.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your response detailing your position on this matter.

Yours sincerely,