Refugee Council's new campaign enlists public support to help safeguard refugees' rights - Refugee Council
June 20, 2001

Refugee Council’s new campaign enlists public support to help safeguard refugees’ rights

Coinciding with the first UN World Refugee Day (20 June) and the launch of Refugee Week, the Refugee Council, the UK’s leading charity for refugees and asylum seekers, launches a year-long card campaign to raise awareness about the vital need to protect the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, a cornerstone of international human rights legislation.

The Protect Refugees’ Rights campaign will feature a series of cards, which powerfully convey important messages often overlooked in media coverage of issues around asylum.

As the Refugee Convention approaches its 50th anniversary, we have seen an escalation of global strife resulting in millions of people fleeing their homelands every year in fear of their lives. But the walls around Fortress Europe are becoming ever harder to hurdle and the fundamental right to claim asylum is being eroded.

The Refugee Convention was originally introduced to ensure we never return to the situation of the 1930s when Jewish people fleeing Hitler were forced back when trying to reach safety here.

Nick Hardwick, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“The Refugee Convention has saved millions of lives since the shocking events of the last century forced the world into saying ‘never again’. While human rights abuses continue across the world, it needs to be vigorously defended and protected. To contemplate any watering down of its principles is wrong and immoral.”

The first card in the series raises awareness about the reasons for flight, highlighting the persecution people can face in their country of origin, and the difficulties those same people face finding sanctuary in the UK.

The second card focuses on how some segments of the media have been scapegoating refugees and asylum seekers and misleading the public by distorting or misrepresenting the facts, subsequently polarising the political debate.

Each card in the series has a detachable portion where a personalised demand can be made to the Government to uphold the Refugee Convention. The Refugee Council will be collecting the signed cards and presenting them to Government on the Anniversary of the Refugee Convention on 28 July.

Notes to Editors

1. The Refugee Council has been working with and for refugees since 1951 and has existed in its current form since 1981 when two organisations merged. Its mission to provide information, advice and support to asylum seekers and refugees and advocate on their behalf.

2. Over 250 events are taking place during Refugee Week which offers an opportunity to challenge public perceptions of refugees and celebrate the valuable contribution refugees have made alongside Britain’s proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those fleeing persecution.

3. We encourage all copy on Refugee Week to include the Refugee Week website address and telephone no: 020 7820 3055 so that readers can easily access the full list of events taking place during the week.

4. The Refugee Council has worked with direct marketing agency, Whitewater, on the creative execution for the campaign.