Government must take lead in supporting people of Ukraine - joint call from 50 charities - Refugee Council
February 25, 2022

Government must take lead in supporting people of Ukraine – joint call from 50 charities

More than 50 charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and aid agencies working with refugees have today backed a joint letter, published in the Times, urging the Government to take a lead in supporting the people of Ukraine, who will be forced to leave their homes as tensions in their country escalate.

As tensions escalate and fears for the safety of the people of Ukraine steadily increases, a coalition of organisations large and small, the signatories, led by the Refugee Council, call on the Government to take a “a leading role in international efforts”,  and “uphold its proud record of helping those fleeing war and oppression.”

Read the full letter here below and online in the Times here.


The escalation of hostilities in Ukraine threatens to be the most significant military conflict on the European continent since at least the collapse of Yugoslavia. International cooperation between Britain and its western allies will be crucial, to handle any sudden increase in the number of people who may be forced to flee the country. (Ukraine war could drive 5 million from their homes, Thursday 24 Feb)

A generation ago, the UK saved the lives of thousands of families from the Balkans through an evacuation and resettlement programme which enabled them to rebuild their lives in our country.

The UK government should again play a leading role in international efforts, including through a significant, well-resourced UK programme, working with councils across the country, to welcome Ukrainians who need sanctuary.

This crisis also illuminates the crucial flaw in the Nationality and Borders Bill currently going through Parliament.

Ukraine’s plight will command a broad cross-party and public consensus on the need for Britain to play our part. Yet the Bill undermines our obligation to give all who seek asylum a fair hearing on our soil. Those who take dangerous journeys over land to the UK will be treated as criminals.

We urge the government to rethink this harmful Bill. The UK must uphold its proud record of helping those fleeing war and oppression, rather than discriminating against refugees depending on how they have reached our shores.


  • Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council
  • Kirsty McNeill, Director for Policy, Save the Children
  • Laura Kyrke-Smith, Executive Director, International Rescue Committee UK
  • Sacha Deshmukh, Interim CEO, Amnesty International UK
  • Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future
  • Tim Naor Hilton, CEO, Refugee Action
  • Sonya Sceats, CEO, Freedom from Torture
  • Mark Goldring, Director, Asylum Welcome
  • Josie Naughton, CEO, Choose Love
  • Satbir Singh, Chief Executive, JCWI
  • Sabir Zazai CEO Scottish Refugee Council
  • Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, Rainbow Migration
  • Kerry Smith, Helen Bamber Foundation and Asylum Aid
  • Emily Crowley, CEO, Student Action for Refugees (STAR)
  • Carys Roberts, Director, IPPR
  • Alex McMillan, Policy Manager, Migrants’ Rights Network
  • Sally Daghlian, CEO, Praxis
  • Julia Rampen, Media Director, IMIX
  • Annie Viswanathan, Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees
  • Nicole Francis, Chief Executive, ILPA (Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association)
  • Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
  • Ellen Waters, Director of Development, Doctors of the World
  • Nick Lowles, CEO, HOPE not hate
  • Ingrid van Loo, trustee ForRefugees
  • Sian Summer-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK
  • Amber Ray, St Augustine’s Centre
  • Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project
  • Nicolas Hatton, CEO, the3million
  • UK Must Act
  • Dr Halima Begum, CEO, Runnymede Trust
  • Kate Roberts, Head of Policy, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
  • Dr Kate Brown & Dr Monika Kruesmann, Co-Directors of Reset Communities and Refugees
  • Indre Lechtimiakyte, Samphire
  • Zarlasht Halaimzai, CEO of Refugee Trauma Initiative
  • Susannah Baker, Founder/Trustee, The Pickwell Foundation
  • Amber Bauer, Founder & CEO, ForRefugees
  • Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen, Xenia
  • Zrinka Bralo, Migrants Organise
  • Toni Soni, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
  • Pete Hobson, Chair, Leicester City of Sanctuary
  • Tahmid Chowdhury, Joint-CEO at Here for Good Law
  • Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais
  • Amos Schonfield, Director, Our Second Home
  • Reading Refugee Support Group and Reading City of Sanctuary
  • Naomi Webb, Executive Director, Good Chance
  • Kate Smart, Settled
  • Joanne MacInnes, Director, West London Welcome
  • Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile
  • David Brown, Chair, Birmingham City of Sanctuary
  • Gunes Kalkan, Head of Campaigns, Safe Passage
  • Catharine Walston, Chair, Executive Committee, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group
  • Stephanie Habib, English for Action London