Press Release, 24th February 2022
An open letter in response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will be the most significant military conflict on the European continent since at least the collapse of Yugoslavia. International cooperation between Britain and its western allies will be crucial, to handle a sudden increase in the number of people likely to become displaced (Ukraine war could drive 5 million from their homes, Thursday 24 Feb).
A generation ago, the UK saved the lives of thousands of families from the Balkans through an evacuation and resettlement programme which enabled them to rebuild their lives in our country.
The UK government should again play a leading role in international efforts, including through a significant, well-resourced UK programme, working with councils across the country, to welcome Ukrainians who need sanctuary.
This crisis also illuminates the crucial flaw in the Nationality and Borders Bill currently going through Parliament.
Ukraine’s plight will command a broad cross-party and public consensus on the need for Britain to play our part. Yet the Bill undermines our obligation to give all who seek asylum a fair hearing on our soil. Those who take dangerous journeys over land to the UK will be treated as criminals.
We urge the government to rethink this harmful Bill. The UK must uphold its proud record of helping those fleeing war and oppression, rather than discriminating against refugees depending on how they have reached our shores.
Refugee Support Group
Reading City Of Sanctuary