OUR BACKGROUND

Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, Citizens U.K. has been fighting for refugee rights. We have campaigned to increase the numbers of Syrians resettled, persuaded councils to sign up to resettlement in nine local areas to undermine the government claim that the number couldn’t be increased because there was nowhere to put them.

We went from nine local campaigns to 92 and trained 1319 people across the country to consolidate that energy into a more durable movement for a welcoming country.

We helped coordinate the civic response provoking universities to offer £3.7 million in refugee scholarships, 747 landlords to offer their properties, and establishing a National Refugee Welcome Board. We campaigned successfully for the resettlement quota to be increased, the first 1,000 refugees to be resettled before Christmas 2015, and for the creation of a private sponsorship route for refugees (modelled on the Canadian programme through which 250,000 people have been given protection since 1979) and are now piloting its introduction.

Calais and the creation of Safe Passage

In September 2015 a small team of leaders and organisers from Citizens UK visited Calais. We saw a good number of people distributing humanitarian aid but no one really asking what could be done to get people out. We asked people why they were in Calais and the shocking answer from many was that they were there because they had family in Britain, particularly the unaccompanied minors.

Our History
Our History

We sought out top legal advice on the situation of these minors and learned that these children had a right to family reunion. The Dublin III Treaty governs common EU asylum law and says that refugees must claim asylum in the first safe country they come to. This rule is used to deport thousands of refugees back to the frontier of Europe each year, but within the provisions it also states that if a refugee has nuclear family in a third country a “Take Charge Request” should be issued, and that state should take on their asylum claim. This process had never once been used to reunite a refugee child with their family from France to Britain and so we began working in partnership with Islington Law Centre, Bhatt Murphy solicitors and Doughty Street Chambers.

The Safe Passage project is a part of Citizens UK and mixes strategic litigation, parliamentary lobbying and grassroots community organising to help people access safe and legal routes to protection. Citizens UK provides the operating context in which top lawyers can bring on strategic cases, identifying eligible minors in the camps, screening their cases and verifying their family connections, providing translators, travel, and an operational base to minimise the pre-litigation costs. Alongside this, and using the hooks and information secured through our legal work, we run a strong organising campaign to ensure popular and political support for effective use of the law, and to push for concessions beyond legislation.

Find out more about Citizens UK

Our History

About Us

About Us

Safe Passage exists to help unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults in Europe find safe, legal routes to the UK. In addition to our programme in Calais, we have expanded ...

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Achievements

Achievements

As an organisation committed to helping vulnerable refugees, every time we help to reunite a child refugee or vulnerable adult with their loved ones in the UK is an achievement. ...

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Help us keep the Dubs scheme open

Help us keep the Dubs scheme open

Sign Lord Dubs’ petition. Campaign in your local area. Read the letter signed by over 200 public figures in support of the scheme. Donate to the Alf Dubs Children’s Fund.   ...

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