Rising Together: Celebrating Resilience & Community in Scotland’s Migration Sector at our Roots of Refuge

image from Roots of Refuge 2023

 

By Annamaria De Felice 

As we continue to engage with Fair Begins Here, a national campaign led by Together with Refugees, we are also working with community groups and other organisations across Scotland to organise initiatives which aims to bring awareness and change to the UK’s approach to asylum seekers and refugees, ensuring that national and local policies are grounded in solidarity, compassion, and adherence to international law. 

 

Fair Begins Here campaign’s goals
Over the next two years, the campaign will mobilise over 600 members of Together with Refugees, ranging from large national organisations to small grassroots projects. The coalition aims to engage communities across the UK, uniting people in support of a more humane and just approach to asylum and migration. 

The Fair Begins Here campaign is built on four key pillars that reflect our commitment to dignity, safety, and opportunity for all individuals, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or background: 

  1. Protection: Ensuring that refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal protection, essential services, and opportunities to rebuild their lives without fear of persecution or discrimination. 
  2. Integration: Promoting policies and initiatives that facilitate the integration of refugees into their host communities, fostering social cohesion and mutual understanding. 
  3. Empowerment: Empowering refugees and asylum seekers to fully participate in society by harnessing their skills, talents, and experiences, supporting them to contribute positively to their communities and beyond. 
  4. Solidarity: Encouraging individuals, organisations, and governments to stand in solidarity with refugees, recognising their resilience, courage, and inherent humanity. 

 

Fair Begins Here in Scotland
In Scotland, we are joining forces with the Scottish Refugee Council to amplify the voices of refugees and advocate for compassionate, rights-based approaches to asylum and migration. The campaign seeks to engage people from all walks of life in conversations about empathy, justice, and shared responsibility. It calls for tangible action and policy change, emphasising that our humanity is defined by our capacity for empathy and solidarity. 

Recent Government Decisions and Why There is a Need for Change
The implementation of the Rwanda scheme by the UK Government has raised significant legal and ethical concerns. The UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers underscores the gravity of the situation. Despite this ruling, the government has persisted in its plans, ignoring both international law and the decisions of our courts. This approach, which includes the forced removal of torture survivors, victims of trafficking, and persecuted minorities to unfamiliar territories, lacks fairness and compassion, instilling fear within communities. 

We are advocating for the establishment of safe and legal pathways to the UK, a strategy that has proven successful in other contexts such as Syria, Ukraine, and Hong Kong.  

 

Collective Action
Recent months have shown the power of collective action in resisting unjust immigration practices. Communities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and across the UK have mobilised in mass protests, effectively halting deportation efforts. It is crucial that we continue to harness this collective strength and solidarity. 

  • We call on individuals and organisations across Scotland to join the fight against unjust immigration policies.
     
  • We urge the Scottish Government, MSPs, and local authorities to publicly oppose immigration raids and provide support to at-risk communities.

 

Community Support
Join Us at our ‘Roots of Refuge’ event 

To further our cause, we are organising the ‘Roots of Refuge’ event, which is completely free for all participants. It will take place on Thu 20th June at the Lawn at the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow from 4pm.  

This event – as part of Refugee Festival Scotland – celebrates the work and contributions of grassroots organisations, networks, and individuals who support refugees and asylum seekers across Scotland. 

We will showcase the caring, creative, and diverse environments where communities come together to welcome new members and thrive collectively. ‘Rising’ embodies not only the resilience to overcome challenges but also the commitment to drive positive change, healing, and renewal.  

This is an opportunity for migration sector organisations to network with each other but also for refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland to better understand their rights, and discover additional forms of support and ties to their communities that they otherwise might not have. Our event will serve as a platform to amplify narratives of resilience, fostering connections and solidarity among communities striving for a brighter, more inclusive future. 

The event will feature over ten stalls run by local businesses and organisations led by or for asylum seekers and refugees, including Maryhill Integration Network and LGBT Health and Wellbeing. 

We will also showcase community-created art, including photography, sketches, cooking, and poetry, highlighting the incredible talents within our local communities.  

By coming together, we can create a future where fairness and dignity are not just ideals but lived realities for all. By joining our event, you can also support Fair Begins Here on World Refugee Day social media day of action by posting an orange heart picture with the hashtag #FairBeginsHere.  

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