Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.
Obviously this year, due to COVID-19, events have gone virtual. There’s still a packed programme of online events and methods through which you can show your support – you can find out more about these by clicking here.
Refugee Week started in 1998 as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is now one of the leading national initiatives working to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.
The aims of Refugee Week are:
- To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility
- To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK
- To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector
- To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences
The ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution.
I’ve campaigned consistently for a change in the law for unaccompanied child refugees and have continued to raise failings at the Home Office regularly with Ministers. I see from my advice surgeries every week the havoc that an under-resourced and failing Home Office wreaks on the lives of refugees and their families.
In 2020, we find ourselves needing Refugee Week as much as ever. The UK Government has now ended the ‘Dubs Scheme’ – which promised to bring 3000 child refugees safely to the UK during the recent crisis, but has only delivered 350.
We have a Prime Minister who is seemingly unaware that refugees and asylum seekers do not have recourse to public funds, meaning they’ve found it incredibly difficult to obtain help to get them through COVID-19 safely.
In Cardiff Central we have several amazing organisations working above and beyond to help asylum seekers and refugees in our city. I’ve put links to these organisations below so you can find out more about their work and support in any way you may be able to.