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International Jewish manifesto for refugee and asylum seeker rights launched on Human Rights Day

Jewish organisations working around the world have come together in support of displaced people, and endorsed the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)’s International Jewish Manifesto for thefair and just treatment of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide, released today (10 December) on UN Human Rights Day.


Produced in response to figures showing that a record 79.5 million people are now forcibly displaced worldwide, the manifesto draws on Jewish teaching on social justice to call on governments to urgently renew their support for refugees and asylum seekers, and seeks to engage Jewish communities around the world in a twelve month campaign.


Outlining 12 pledges that governments must make through the next year, it implores leaders around the world to recommit to a spirit of compassion with displaced people, to ensure they are given sanctuary and the opportunity to rebuild their futures. With 85% of refugees still hosted by developing nations, it also urges wealthier countries to step up and work together to take greater responsibility for refugee resettlement, and calls for governments worldwide to protect child refugees.


The manifesto also condemns the use of immigration detention for minors and the practice of deporting asylum seekers to unsafe areas, and urges governments to protect displaced people from abuses and to ensure that adequate support is in place throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.


With politicians and media figures increasingly seeking to vilify refugees and those who support them for political gain, the manifesto also urges politicians and members of the Jewish community to condemn such divisive rhetoric, and to commit to a more positive and welcoming narrative.


The manifesto calls for governments worldwide to:


1. Protect asylum seekers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 2. Commit to future international measures to protect people displaced by climate change. 3. Treat asylum seekers, refugees and those who support them with dignity. 4. Ensure that safe and legal routes are available to asylum seekers and refugees. 5. Provide fair, timely and transparent asylum systems. 6. Commit to a settlement program for unaccompanied child refugees. 7. Take greater responsibility for refugee resettlement. 8. Protect asylum seekers from abuse, exploitation and unjust treatment. 9. Ensure that child refugees have the right to education. 10. Ensure that asylum seekers and refugees are housed in safe, sanitary and suitable accommodation. 11. Stop deporting asylum seekers to unsafe locations. 12. End the detention of underage asylum seekers.


Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director at the Jewish Council for Racial Equality said: “We are delighted that so many organisations have already endorsed this manifesto. Current numbers of displaced people worldwide are appalling, and it is crucial that amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic we continue to urge governments to step up, work together and take action and responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers.


Jewish identity and refugee experience remain closely entwined, and I would encourage members of Jewish communities worldwide to engage with this campaign, and to continue to support social justice and action for refugees and asylum seekers during these unprecedented times. As Jews, it is crucial that we continue to have a strong, positive voice for refugees and asylum seekers, and take action to counter the increasing vilification of displaced peoples.”


A full copy of the manifesto, and a list of current signatories, can be accessed here: www.jcore.org.uk/manifesto