Everyone has at least one person they can turn to when things aren’t okay. So how would it feel if you had leave your family behind for your own safety, only to find that they wouldn’t be able to join you?
Due to the restrictive laws in the UK, that’s exactly what is happening to thousands of refugees who made their journeys here after fleeing their homes. Families are being kept apart.
Child refugees in the UK cannot bring their parents with them. This means young girls and boys are being forced to grow up apart from their families.
These harsh rules force people to turn to smugglers. It also adds to the humanitarian crisis in Southern Europe where people are desperate enough to travel to Europe by sea in order to join their families. They are forced to live in awful conditions and are unable to exercise their rights.
Those who do find safety in the UK are left in constant anxiety about their family members’ wellbeing. This stress can be harmful to the mental state of these refugees and prevents them from rebuilding their lives.
The call to action for these tough rules is now. On 16th March 2018 MPs will be debating on the bill to reunite refugee families. Student Action for Refugees – together with Amnesty International UK, the British Red Cross, the Refugee Council, Oxfam and the UNHCR – have joined together to campaign for improved family reunion rules.
The campaign asks for:
1. Child refugees in the UK to have the right to sponsor their close family, so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate in their new community.
2. An expansion of who qualifies as family, so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their families in the UK.
3. The reintroduction of legal aid, so refugees who have lost everything have the support they need to afford and navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families.
At least 100 MPs need to turn up and vote on 16th March for these rules to change. If you agree that families shouldn’t be kept apart by these rules, contact your local MP to ask them to attend the debate!
Would you be able to cope without your family?