Huge orange heart in Halifax shows support for refugees

Around 200 people turned out to form a giant orange heart in Halifax for a national show of support for refugees.

By sarah fitton
Monday, 21st March 2022, 2:13 pm
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 2:14 pm

With help from artists Sand in Your Eye, St Augustine's Centre organised the impressive sight to show solidarity with people fleeing war and persecution and call for a fairer approach to how the UK supports people seeking sanctuary.

The action in Halifax is part of a display of orange hearts taking place across the UK urging people to contact their MPs about the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The controversial legislation, expected back in the House of Commons for a vote tomorrow, has been condemned by more than 120 charities, faith groups and community organisations.

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The orange heart formed in Halifax to show support for refugees

The Government claims the bill will "increase the fairness of the system to better protect and support those in need of asylum, deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom, thereby breaking the business model of people smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger, and remove more easily those with no right to be in the UK".

But Director of St Augustine's Centre, which gives support to refugees, Sara Robinson said the bill is "inhumane".

“Here at St Augustine's, we support people fleeing war and persecution from 57 countries, all of whom deserve fair and compassionate support.

"Despite the trauma they have endured and the challenges they face daily, they still contribute so much to our community by cooking, gardening, translating, teaching English and much more.

Students and staff from Halifax Academy were among those showing support for refugees in Halifax

"It’s unfathomable to us, that this Government wants to introduce an expensive, inhumane Borders Bill which will make life even harder for them. To what end? It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Hedi, a former centre member, said: “It’s great to see everyone coming together to support refugees.

"For me, I can feel that we still have so many kind people that share love and accept us into the Calderdale community. It’s also great to see British people standing with us together, against this Borders Bill - now I know we are not alone.”

Campaigners are urging MPs to support amendments to the bill, which they say will ensure that refugees are assessed on their need for protection, not on how they arrived here, and the UK Government commits to resettle 10,000 refugees from all around the world every year.

The heart in Halifax is one of many being shown around the UK