5 February 2020
Today, STAR, the Families Together campaign coalition, and students from Oaklands School handed in a 75,000 strong petition to the Home Office calling on the government to reunite refugee families.
Standing together, students from Oaklands School in Bethnal Green, STAR students, and members of the coalition braved the cold weather, holding up letters spelling “Families Belong Together,” and called on the Home Secretary to change the strict UK laws that keep families apart.
We demanded the Government allows child refugees in the UK the right to sponsor their close family, an expansion on who qualifies as family, so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can join their relatives, and a legal aid for refugee family reunion cases.
“Today is an important day, 75,000 people have said loud and clear that #refugee families belong together. We’re at the Home Office with MP Angus MacNeil taking the message to government. Children need their parents it’s as simple as that.” (STAR’s CEO Emily Crowley)
These unfair laws mean that many refugees are denied the right to be with the people they love, as child refugees are not allowed to sponsor their families to join them. Such rules are leaving people isolated, traumatised and alone. The #FamiliesTogether campaign aims to achieve an expansion of the UK’s refugee family reunion rules, so that families are no longer kept apart.
STAR is proud to be part of the #FamiliesTogether coalition
We are proud to be part of the Families Together campaign in partnership with UNHCR, Refugee Council, Oxfam, Amnesty, British Red Cross and others to call on the Home Secretary to change the rules that keep refugee families apart.
We are also so very proud of the work students have been doing across the UK to raise awareness on the issue. Over the last 2 years, STAR groups have organised over 150 events to raise awareness, engage local MPs and gather support for the campaign. We have previously had successes during STAR’s 2018 and 2019 Action Week in which the Refugee Family Reunion Bill was backed by MPs. This year, STAR groups took part in the Families Together Action Day in January to raise awareness on the issue and to demonstrate to their MPs the local support to reunite refugee families.
We will continue to fight for the right for refugee families to reunite.