Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

action on asylum and refugees - archive

action on asylum and refugees

churches' refugee network 

The Churches' Refugee Network aims to provide a collective and ecumenical voice on issues of asylum and immigration.

Here you'll find a range of resources that we hope will be helpful in your work. We'd also like to hear from you about your work, your concerns and your achievements.

Contact us by emailemail

For issues relating to migration, please see our Migration Theme which includes a page of Resources.


March 2015

‘Providing Sanctuary in an Age of Austerity - A Christian Response
Book for the Churches' Refugee Network conference 2015 - Saturday 21 March 2015. Speakers include Dr Alexander Betts, Director, Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University; Don Flynn, Director, Migrants' Rights Network; and Dr Angus Ritchie, Director, Centre for Theology & Community.
More information and booking

November 2014

Refugees: Misery or Hope? - Christians Aware annual conf, 9-11 Jan 2015
Includes Refugees: an introduction and theological overview by Anthony Harvey (former canon of Westminster Abbey and author of Asylum in Britain); Asylum Issues in Britain with Louise Zanre (Jesuit Refugee Service); Refugees on the Thai-Burma Border from Zoya Phan (Burma Campaign UK); plus prayer, meditation, Bible studies, reflection and seminar groups.

Information and booking:
Refugees: Misery or Hope? - Christians Aware annual conference 2015 programme (PDF)
Booking form (full conf) - Christians Aware annual conference 2015 (Doc)
Booking form (part) - Christians Aware annual conference 2015 (Doc)

August 2014

WMP publishes briefings on migration and asylum in Wales
The Wales Migration Partnership (WMP) has launched two new briefing papers on migration in Wales. The first papers in the series set out the existing data and research evidence on ‘Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Wales', ‘International Migrants in Wales' and ‘Employment and Migration in Wales'.
Wales Migration Partnership external link

June 2014

Refugees welcomed by 2015's first-time voters according to new research
Britain should keep its role of offering a safe place for people - especially children - fleeing violence, war and persecution, according to new research released for Refugee Week (June 16-22 2014). The research shows that eight out of ten (79%) of the new generation of first-time voters are proud of Britain's tradition of protecting refugees.
Refugee Week external link

Day of remembrance of persons who died at European borders - 22 June
A renewed call for churches 'to commemorate those who have died on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe through an annual day of prayer' has been made by the Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). This year the day recommended to hold services is 22 June, the Sunday after the International Refugee Day on 20 June. Material has been published for worship or intercessions during a service by the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe.
Conference of European Churches external link

April 2014

Position paper from the CRN conference 2014
This position paper was agreed by the participants at the Churches Refugee Network conference at the Central URC in Sheffield on Saturday 5 April 2014. The participants came from a wide range of churches, ecumenically and geographically, from Bournemouth to Newcastle, Liverpool to Gravesend, with between them a wide knowledge of the issues facing people who seek sanctuary.
CRN position paper - 5 April 2014 (PDF)
Report from Baptist Times - Churches challenge Government on immigration external link


January 2014

Churches' Refugee Network Conference 2014
Under the Radar - What Room for Refugees?
Sat 5 April 2014, Central United Reformed Church, Sheffield
Programme details and booking form  

November 2013

Latest newsletter from the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees

AVID In Touch newsletterOctober 2013 newsletter includes critical inpsection reports on Brook House IRC and Yarl's Wood IRC.

AVID In Touch 121 (PDF) 

Groups working with migrants respond to Russell Brand
Representatives from Migrants Voice and Migrants Right Network are among those responding in The Guardian to Russell Brand's recent interview on Newsnight, saying that every disadvantaged and under-represented group should register and be ready to vote.
The Guardian external link  

September 2013

Church of England response to Home Office consultation on immigration
The Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Church of England has published a response to the UK Home Office consultation document on regulating migrant access to health services.
C of E response to regulating migrant access to health services in the UK (PDF)

August 2013

Legal challenge to ‘Go Home' vans pilot
Following a legal challenge to the ‘Go Home' vans pilot targeting illegal immigrants, the UK Government says it will consult local authorities and community groups before undertaking anything similar. The legal action was initiated by law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn on behalf of two clients of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London.
Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) external link
BBC News external link
Deighton Pierce Glynn external link 
Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London external link

UK government's campaign against illegal immigrants comes under fire
Concern has been expressed about recent Government initiatives against irregular immigration, including the 'Go Home' van campaign, in an open letter to The Guardian newspaper with more than 260 signatures, including academics, those in the legal profession and politicians. Writing separately, Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, has called it an 'unpleasant political campaign... It is a macho PR stunt that will achieve little, but cause real damage to language, culture and community.'
Open letter to The Guardian external link
Nick Baines comment external link

June 2013

Big increase in self-harm in immigration detention
Statistics compiled by No-Deportations from UK Border Agency figures for January-March 2013 show a 60.4% increase of incidents of self-harm requiring medical treatment for those in immigration detention. Puck de Raadt from the Churches Refugee Network comments, 'Britain is the only European country maintaining open-ended, indefinite immigration detention. The rise in self harm incidents is an unprecedented rise, and far higher than in prisons. Many of these are caused by a persistent hunger strike in Harmondsworth RDC, which holds both Detained Fast Track and long term immigration detainees.'
No-Deportations external link

APPG migration inquiry calls for Government review as families kept apart
'British citizens who are seeking to build a family with a non-EEA national - including from the USA and from Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Pakistan and India - are being prevented indefinitely from living
together in their own country', says the report. It also says that 'in many of the cases children, including very young children, had been separated from a parent, with potentially severe effects on their future development'.
All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration external link

April 2013

Divided Families: All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration submission
Prof Kofman and Dr Wray of Middlesex University present demographic details that demonstrate new government rules on family migration make it much more difficult for spouses or children to join their UK based partner or parent.

EU figures show UK receives 8% of asylum applications in Europe
In 2012, there were 332 000 asylum applicants in Europe, of which the UK received 28,200 - the same as Belgium. Germany received 23% of total applcations and France 18%.
Europa external link

March 2013

London Legal Walk 2013 - Monday 20 May 2013
This walk supports law centres and legal advice agencies in London and the South East to help provide access to justice for all. Lead walkers include Lord Judge (the Lord Chief Justice), Lord Dyson (The Master of the Rolls), Lucy Scott-Moncrieff (The President of the Law Society), Maura McGowan QC (The Chairman of the Bar Council) and Keir Starmer QC (Director of Public Prosecutions).
The London Legal Walk external link

Asylum Justice & Release - Team Building & Training
Sun 28 April, 12.30-4pm, Leeds
This event for volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more about the work of AJAR, includes a talk by Puck de Raadt, from the Churches' Refugee Network, on issues around the new Family Rules in (non-asylum) immigration and trauma related to detention.
AJAR Team Building April 2013 flyer (PDF)
AJAR - General information (PDF)
AJAR News Update - Feb 2013 (PDF)

CRN at the Hertfordshire Justice & Peace Network Day
Sat 23 March 2013, 10am-3.30pm, Welwyn Garden City
Puck de Raadt, from the Churches' Refugee Network, will be talking at this event on family reunion rules, asylum detention, asylum destitution and legal changes/ Legal Aid.
Hertfordshire Justice & Peace Network Day - poster (PDF)
Hertfordshire Justice & Peace Network Day - Programme & registration form (Doc)

Also Human - Who gets included in Britain today?
CRN Conference 2013, Saturday 18 May 2013, London
Book now for this year's Churches' Refugee Network conference.

December 2012

Scots urged to "be lights of hope in the lives of our neighbours"
In his Christmas message, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, refers to the plight of asylum seekers and urges "all those in positions of civil authority to ease the burden of suffering of these people, to allow them the basic human requirements of shelter and sustenance and to engage with them so that they might make their contribution to the common good".
Scottish Catholic Media Office external link

June 2012

Government changes family migration rules
Migrants' Rights Network (MRN) is concerned that the new rules will prevent many thousands of people from exercising their right to a family life in the UK.
MRN briefing external link
Family migration: statement of intent - UK Visas and Immigration external link

May 2012

Border Force Britain - rebranding of the UK Border Agency
Frances Webber, Vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) Council of Management, analyses Britain's approach to immigration control which treats migrants as potential criminals, and its economic consequences.
Institute of Race Relations external link

Quaker statement on immigration detention 
Quakers in Britain have made a public statement about indefinite detention that begins: 'That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right'
Quakers in Britain external link

All Change - Preventing Trafficking in the UK
Follow-up of a 2010 report by the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group on the EU Convention on Action against Trafficking and on the (lack of) measures for prevention, protection and prosecution for trafficked victims in the UK.
More >>

Report: Children without a voice
Harrowing report looking at the psychological effects of asylum refusal on children in Sweden.
More >>

Feb 2012
New Migrant Voice paper launched
The relaunched Migrant Voice paper celebrates the success and contribution of migrants and their role in influencing life and culture in the UK. 
Migrant Voice Issue 1 2012 (PDF) external link

Migrant Voice article - Keeping the Faith
Puck de Raadt explains the churches' practical, under-the-radar work for asylum-seekers in this article, first published in Migrant Voice.
More >>

May 2011
Day of intercession for those who have died at EU borders
26 June 2011
Information, intercessions and ideas from the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum.
Day of intercession in memory of those who have died at EU borders 2011 (PDF)

April 2011
Tearing down the bridge to inclusion for young asylum seekers
How funding cuts are affecting young asylum-seeking students, removing access to legal representation and education.
openDemocracy external link

April 2011
Finding your life after losing it - the moving story of a refugee family
Sergei's story highlights the plight of many refugees and the work of CRN.
More >>     

April 2011
CRN responds to the UK Government's consultation on legal aid reform
Read CRN's detailed response. More >>

March 2011
Update to 2010 CRN Conference sponsorship of refugee family reunion
See Sava's blog on Churches Together Connect external link

March 2011
Befriender Training & Supervision Days
Medical Justice is running training days throughout the year with contributions from medical and legal experts. More >>

December 2010
Asylum seekers cannot be forced to lie
The Court of Appeal has ruled that asylum seekers cannot be forced to lie about not holding political beliefs when returning to their home country.
UK Human Rights Blog external link
Full judgement on BAILII external link

November 2010
Asylum, Immigration and the Big Society: theological perspectives
Monday 29 November, 6.30-9pm, Southwark Cathedral, London
Talk by Dr Anna Rowlands, Director of Pastorial Studies, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge.
Asylum, Immigration and the Big Society flyer (PDF)

July 2010
'Zero notice' removals stopped
Fast-track deportation of failed asylum-seekers has been ruled unlawful by the High Court in a case initiated by Medical Justice. More >>

July 2010
Churches Refugee Network conference report 2010
Caged Kids - Caged Minds looked at the harmful effects of detaining children during immigration. More

June 2010
Campaign to save Refugee and Migrant Justice fails
Legal charity Refugee and Migrant Justice went into administration on 16 June 2010, victim to the new Ministry of Justice contract regulations. More >>

April 2010
Asylum and Immigration: Scripture, theology, and Catholic social teaching
Thursday 20 May 2010, London.
An opportunity to consider issues related to Asylum, Immigration and Migration from three perspectives.
Asylum and Immigration conference - information (PDF)

February 2010
Seeking Sanctuary - A Civil Response
A public forum with: Chris Cleave, Journalist and author; Jonathan Cox, Director, Citizens for Sanctuary; and  Revd Canon Ruth Worsley, Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Thursday 4 February, 7.00pm-8.30pm, The Garry Weston Library, Southwark Cathedral, London SE1.
Seeking Sanctuary - A Civil Response (PDF)

January 2010
From Destitution to Empowerment: an EU agenda for change
One day conference looking at the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK and Europe. 10am - 4pm, 20 February 2010, Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London WC2H 8EP.
From Destitution to Empowerment conference (PDF)

People attending the CRN annual conference 2008
Revd Canon Anthony Harvey Download the revised edition of Asylum in Britain by Revd Canon Anthony Harvey, plus Bible study
More >>
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