THE CITY council and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC) are urging the Government to throw out the Nationality and Borders Bill and to create safe and accessible routes to the UK for those seeking sanctuary.
Tuesday marked exactly six months since the Taliban took over Kabul which created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises and left many vulnerable, seeking safety and refuge wherever they could.
Alongside voluntary and statutory partners across the city and the wider West Midlands, the council has continuously supported new arrivals to settle and integrate into Coventry.
Deputy Leader for Coventry City Council, Coun Abdul Salam Khan, said the bill did not address the issues in any capacity and, instead, created a two-tier system – criminalising those seeking safety due to the way they had arrived and by threatening them with deportation or incarceration.
“Instead, we believe this is an ‘anti-refugee’ bill that undermines not just an individuals’ right to safety but also our legal and moral obligation as a global nation to support those most in need in accordance with the precedent set out in international and domestic law.”
Urging the Government to work more closely with local authorities, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Coun David Welsh, added: “Not only do we believe that this bill contravenes international law, but it also undermines the ability for individuals to rebuild their lives here in Coventry and will drive more vulnerable people into poverty and destitution.
“This is why we’re calling upon the government to throw out the Nationality and Borders Bill and work holistically with local authorities.”
The CRMC has been supporting people seeking sanctuary from war and persecution for decades and a high proportion of staff working at the centre have lived experience.
Toni Soni, CRMC Centre Director, said: “It was very disappointing to hear that the bill was passed, but around the UK the hard work continues to create a better, more compassionate approach for people seeking safety.”
He added the CRMC challenged the bill and called for fair and efficient hearings to ensure people could live with dignity in communities while waiting to find out if they would be granted protection.
“We want a system that enables people to rebuild their lives and make valuable contributions to our communities.”