Charities call for 'humane and honest' immigration discussion

27 Jun 2016

In a joint letter to the Times newspaper, the Refugee Council today is proud to stand alongside leading aid, refugee and human rights organisations in calling for refugees' rights to continue to be protected.

This is the full text of our letter.

Like many, we have been dismayed by the increasingly divisive debate on immigration during the EU referendum campaign. Now the UK has voted for Brexit, we call for a national discussion on immigration that is humane and honest, not based on fear or misinformation.

On refugees and asylum-seekers, we believe UK policy should stand for three core principles. Firstly, help more refugees find safety in the UK without having to risk their lives in the hands of people smugglers. Secondly, restore trust in the asylum system so all get a fair hearing and access the protection they need. Thirdly, support refugees to rebuild their lives, without fear of return to a place where their lives are at risk. 

Even ‘out’, Britain must work with European states to share responsibilities in hosting refugees and guaranteeing their humane treatment. Previous British leaders helped establish the international laws protecting people fleeing violence and persecution. Unravelling those protections for the world’s most vulnerable would be a travesty. Britain is better than that.

Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, British Refugee Council
Laurie Lee, Chief Executive, CARE International UK
Loretta Minghella OBE, Chief Executive, Christian Aid
Tess Berry-Hart, Director, Calais Action
Girish Menon, Chief Executive, Action Aid UK
Chris Bain, Director, CAFOD
Jane Waterman, Executive Director, International Rescue Committee UK
Leigh Daynes, Executive Director, Doctors of the World UK
Stephen Hale OBE, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
Susan Munroe, CEO, Freedom from Torture
Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service UK