The stories of the displaced do not end with safe-haven. It is rather, a new chapter and challenge in a tale of unimaginable trauma.
In the UK, such tales are everywhere and their protagonists; amongst us. They are our shopkeepers, our teachers, our athletes, our business-people and our law-makers. These stories are ones of necessity and currently, in the UK, they aren’t getting the ending they deserve.
Integration is no easy feat. For the countless refugees, both in the UK and abroad, separated from their loved-ones by war and persecution, this uphill march is made steeper without their families by their side. Nevertheless, our restrictive immigration laws continue to isolate, separate and traumatise those who have reached the so-called "safety" of the UK.
These individuals are painfully alone. They are left to grapple with a new language and way of life whilst their inability to help those they love, clouds their optimism and quells their hope.
The issue with these stories, when they are often told, is that we, the listener fail to connect the dots and place them in our own reality. These individuals are here and our laws continue to keep them apart.
We can act, we can make a change and we can bring these families back together.
A coalition of organisations working with refugees in the UK and abroad have come together in a collective effort to reunite families once and for all. We have helped Angus MacNeil, MP, to secure a debate in Parliament on 16th March that could change the rules and reform the laws on refugee family reunification. We need at least 100 MPs to attend and vote in favour of allowing refugees in the UK to be joined by their families.
You can help by making sure that your MP is one of them. Of course, some restrictions will remain, but easing the stranglehold will help many of those forced apart to be together again. All we want is to give these stories the happy ending they deserve and to give families the chance to rebuild their lives, together.
The Coalition for Reuniting Families is calling for:
Child refugees in the UK to hold the right to sponsor their family so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate in their new community.
An expansion of who qualifies as a family so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their families in the UK.
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.
Lets bring #FamiliesTogether.
Our friends at Oxfam and Refugee Council have coauthored a report titled ‘Safe but not Settled: The Impact of Family Separation on Refugees in the UK. The report looks at the impact on refugees living in the UK which have been separated from their loved ones. Its findings re-emphasise the need for family reunification, showing that refugees in the UK without their families can become desperate and even suicidal. The report calls on the UK Government to expand the criteria for who qualifies as a family member so-as to reunite families once and for all.
If you’d like to post about the campaign please use the hashtag #FamiliesTogether.