We must protect the human rights of all refugees and asylum seekers
Reflecting the spirit of a city that resolutely bore the horror and hardship of the Blitz, Londoners turned out in their tens of thousands in Trafalgar Square this weekend to show their solidarity with those millions of innocent Ukrainians caught up in the indiscriminate war being waged by a venal Russian president. The Runnymede team was proud to be among the crowds.
Talking to people attending the vigil, it was clear that many Britons quite legitimately fear the escalation of Putin’s War, its spread across borders into other countries, not to mention the Kremlin’s unconscionable rhetoric around nuclear engagement. Together, an unequivocal message was sent to the Russian leader that, come what may, Britain stands steadfast by the people of Ukraine in their darkest hour.
As we wait for efficiencies to be implemented in the visa scheme, and those other mechanisms that will ensure the UK plays a full role in offering sanctuary to Ukrainian refugees, we take this moment to reflect on the wonderful diversity of our country – a diversity that emanates, at least in part from our traditions and value of moral duty to welcome refugees to our shores, whether to escape persecution, deprivation, prejudice or war.
We also recall that legislation is currently passing through Parliament, including the Borders Bill, that threatens this great tradition. That is why we at the Runnymede Trust will continue to advocate for the protection of human rights of all refugees and asylum seekers, irrespective of their ethnicity or background.
Even in the best of times the rights of minorities aren’t always protected. It's in times of trouble that those most vulnerable suffer most of all. We trust that our world leaders will continue their urgent efforts to safeguard the Ukrainian people, to challenge Putin’s barbarity and bring a peaceful resolution to this conflict. At the same time, as a global community, we must use the outpouring of support for Ukraine as a reminder that all refugees, regardless of their ethnicity or country of origin, deserve our compassion in their quest for safety and sanctuary.
Image credits: Kois Miah
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