On World Refugee Day (Monday 20 June) and the first day of Refugee Week 2011 (20-26 June), the heads of 10 leading refugee and human rights organisations made a joint call for the UK governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to uphold the UN Convention for Refugees. The joint letter was published in the Guardian newspaper today:
On World Refugee Day, as partners of the Refugee Week coalition, we commemorate the UN Refugee Convention created sixty years ago to give protection to those fleeing persecution.
As we celebrate the lives saved over those six decades, we also pay tribute to the countless examples of refugees who have made enormous contributions to British society. From the invention of the iconic Mini to the birth of some of Britain’s most successful businesses, refugees have made their mark in the worlds of commerce, science, politics and the arts.
As we enjoy Refugee Week events up and down the country this week, it is vital that we continue to urge the Government, devolved governments and governments of the future, to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to uphold the UN Convention and ensure that people who need protection receive it and can rebuild their lives in safety.
This will be a guarantee that refugees can continue enriching our country with their diverse cultures, skills, and creativity for another 60 years, and beyond.
Almir Koldzic, Head of Refugee Week UK
Donna Covey, Refugee Council
Roland Schilling, UNHCR
Dave Garratt, Refugee Action
Mike Lewis, Welsh Refugee Council
John Wilkes, Scottish Refugee Council
Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK
Emma Williams, STAR
Sir Nicholas Young, the British Red Cross
Bob Reitemeier, The Children’s Society
Keith Best, Freedom from Torture