Halifax charity joins call for better approach to helping refugees

Halifax's St Augustine's Centre is backing a campaign calling for a fairer treatment for refugees.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 3:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 3:10 pm
Some of the St Augustine's Centre team - Rabia Zaka, Su Halliday, Phoebe Hendy and Kim Whymark.

The charity marked the 70th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention by joining a new campaign – Together With Refugees – to call for a more effective and fair approach to people seeking safety in the UK.

They have been joined by residents around Calderdale who have shared photographs and videos of themselves with an orange heart symbol across Calderdale landmarks – representing a kinder, fairer approach to refugees and defending the Refugee Convention's principles.

It follows increasing concern about the Government's recently announced Nationality and Borders Bill, which has been branded as ‘anti-refugee’ and ‘inhumane’ by campaigners and charities in the UK’s refugee sector.

The #TogetherWithRefugees orange hearts campaign aims to show the groundswell of support for a more compassionate approach to refugees, send a powerful message to the Government to preserve commitment to these principles and urge a fundamental rethink of the bill.

Misbah Almisbahi, a centre member from St Augustine’s who is a refugee, said: “Being at home with my family is what I am looking for. As a refugee in Calderdale, I consider it as my home and the people I meet as my family.”

Sara Robinson, St Augustine’s Centre Director said: “One of the core principles of St Augustine's is that we strive to be shaped first and foremost by the people at the heart of what we do.

"The people we support are a phenomenal, resilient community who have been through so much and have a lot to contribute to our beautiful valley so it is sad to see the Government put forward new legislation this week that will cause distress for so many, followed by the harassment of the RNLI for saving people’s lives at sea.

“Here in Calderdale, we have chosen to celebrate 70 years of the UK welcoming refugees. The fact that in the aftermath of WWII in a shattered Europe, Britain played a leading role to protect people fleeing war and persecution is something we can all be proud of, and something we must now protect for the future.”