Refugees and parliamentarians will be brought together today in the UK’s first ever Sanctuary in Parliament event.
The event is to be hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, of which the Refugee Council is the secretariat, and will give parliamentarians an opportunity to learn more about the City of Sanctuary movement from refugees and volunteers.
City of Sanctuary is a national network of groups of volunteers committed to bringing a positive message to the asylum debate. Since its formation in Sheffield in 2005, the movement has grown rapidly and there are now more than 35 groups across the UK and beyond.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren will be speaking at the event.
Maurice said: “The Refugee Council is a committed supporter of the City of Sanctuary movement and we’re delighted to be involved in this innovative Sanctuary in Parliament event.
“The City of Sanctuary movement is the most exciting and dynamic initiative in Britain’s refugee sector and its ability to bring MPs and Peers together with refugees and the groups that support them across the UK is clear evidence of that.”
The event will also include drama and poetry performed by refugees as well as testimonies by school children and speeches by MPs.
City of Sanctuary’s national chair Alan Thomas added: “Refugees are people like us who have been forced to flee their homes and leave everything behind. We believe in the human instinct of ordinary people to be hospitable and sympathetic towards them, especially if they meet face to face.
“Our local groups create opportunities for refugees and local people to meet and share in everyday activities as varied as football, choirs, knitting circles, theatres and antenatal classes, while improving the welcome in health, education and civic society.”