STAR is a member of the Families Together coalition which is campaigning to reunite refugee families. We help to lead the campaign alongside more than 50 other organisations including Oxfam, Amnesty International, and The Refugee Council.
What is the #FamiliesTogether campaign?
The #FamiliesTogether campaign goal is to expand the UK’s refugee family reunion rules, so that families are no longer kept apart.
Refugees in the UK often find themselves separated from their families following brutal experiences of conflict or persecution. Being reunited with family members can be a life changing moment, bringing together loved ones who had been torn apart by war and violence.
Restrictive rules prevent many families from being together just when they need each other the most. These rules risk driving people to undertake dangerous journeys, often putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers, so that they can be with their relatives.
Currently adult refugees in the UK can sponsor only their very closest relatives to join them through refugee family reunion – their partners and children under 18. These strict rules don’t reflect the reality that families come in all shapes and sizes. They mean that mothers and fathers in the UK are unable to sponsor their adult children to join them; and that refugees are unable to bring elderly relatives to live with them in safety.
‘Being reunited with my children has helped me to rebuild my life here in the UK. I am happier but my happiness is not complete because my family remains divided and that is very difficult for us. A family is a family in its entirety, and it should not be split up.’ – Helen
What are we calling for?
- Child refugees in the UK to have the right to sponsor their close family so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate into their new community.
- Fair treatment for young and old: the definition of who qualifies as family to be expanded so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their family 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.
If you are interested in getting involved in the #FamiliesTogether campaign with your STAR group, please contact the student network team.