Tag Archives: Liberal democrats for seekers of sanctuary

Yes, there are alternatives

I doubt if there are any descriptions and expletives not used about the Rwanda offshore processing scheme. The scheme in which Priti Patel wants to pack off asylum seekers arriving here by unorthodox means.

You can see the Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary response to the proposal here: OFF SHORING PROCESSING OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN RWANDA – STATEMENT FROM LD4SoS.

She is demanding to know alternatives, and yes there are. They are firmly embedded in Lib Dem policy.

The obvious one, most talked about, is Safe Routes for Refugees.  This has been mooted by Lib Dems since we first made the policy in 2015, and is as true as well as needed even more than it was in September 2015.  It has been in every manifesto commitment since.

However, more than that is needed.  Lib Dems have another policy, DECISION MAKING ON ASYLUM APPLICATIONS (pdf), saying that:

Liberal Democrats will review and reform all aspects of current asylum rules and operations that offend basic measures of fairness and justice. In particular, we would seek to change the culture of disbelief that affects all people applying for asylum. The Home Office is not fit for purpose and needs radical reform. The political influence must be taken out of decision making.

This is a radical departure from the present system, having respect, dignity and fairness at its heart.

It will cost more at first, with better trained staff, but decisions would be fairer and quicker.  It will be more accurate for the first time, so not so many appeals needed.  Appeals are not only traumatic for those making them, but cost the Ministry of Justice money, and 40% of them are won.  How much better for all if they get the decision right first time!

It would also be a system that took into account the different situations such as family reunion, unaccompanied children, victims of torture and rape, mental and physical health, and LGBT people.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Lib Dem internationalism in practice – a member’s perspective

Liberal Democrats stand for an open society receptive to new ideas, international trade, law-law rather than war-war, cooperation amongst nations, and universal human rights. Whilst proud to be British, we oppose isolationism, nationalism, protectionism and xenophobia for political gain. We recognise the difficulties of Britain’s colonial past and support making amends.

How do sentiments such as these translate into practice, internationally, and how can members become involved?

It’s a question which is often asked in all kinds of meetups.

The coordination of international activity is undertaken by the Federal International Relations Committee, (FIRC) which is one of the party’s governing, constitutional institutions.  FIRC has a sub-committee on EU exit, known by the acronym CEUB.

There is also a foreign policy group in parliament, and a foreign policy adviser to the Party Leader.

Policy Working Groups established by the Federal Policy Committee also frequently consider UK international policy – on economics, defence, Europe, international development and other dimensions. Such work frequently involves presenting policy motions for voting at party conferences.

Cooperation with other liberal-democratic parties in Europe and the rest of the world, including policy coordination, is mostly undertaken via Brussels-based ALDE, and Liberal International.

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Lamb and Farron reply to Lib Dems for Seekers of Sanctuary

The Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (which you can join here) has put some detailed questions on asylum, immigration and humanitarian matters to the leadership candidates. Here are their answers.

 We appreciate that there are now far less parliamentarians, but will you ensure when organising teams that there is a spokesperson that covers asylum related issues?

Norman’s reply:

Absolutely, yes.  I want our party to rebuild the reputation we won under Paddy for speaking out clearly and consistently on the difficult international issues we face as a country.

We must lead the way in challenging the appalling humanitarian disaster across the Mediterranean, with thousands of desperate North African migrants drowning in their attempts to flee civil war and famine, crossing the sea in tiny boats.

We must also keep up pressure to improve our system for handling asylum applications, ending long delays that can leave people’s lives on hold for many months while they wait for a decision.

We have a fantastic team of peers, and I know they are determined to play their part in speaking out for our party on these important issues.

I would also want to work with members of Lib Dem Seekers of Sanctuary to support the group in speaking out itself on behalf of the many members who feel strongly about Britain’s asylum policies.  And as leader I would take a close personal interest, adding my own voice to make sure our party is heard and – most importantly – in working to achieve real change and make sure Britain fulfils its responsibilities to those threatened by violence and conflict around the world.

Tim’s reply:

Yes, absolutely. The Liberal Democrats must make the case for a compassionate, open United Kingdom when it comes to asylum seekers – if we don’t, no one else will

I have frequently raised these issues in Parliament, including as the party’s Foreign Affairs spokesman in the run-up to the election. For example, I wrote an article for the New Statesman about the horrors of hundreds of people dying in the Mediterranean, and the urgent need for Britain to work with our European partners to save lives rather than turning our backs. You can read it here:

So yes, if I am leader I will make sure that a consistent, compassionate Lib Dem voice is heard loud and clear on these issues.

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Linking peace issues with seekers of sanctuary

ld4sos-bannerThe National Friends Peace Board celebrated its 100 years anniversary last year at the Friends Meeting House in York.  They had a walk, linking two issues, between Richmond Castle where the Friends had stood up for the treatment of Conscientious Objectors during the First World War, to more modern matters, the role of the US base at Menwith Hill in spreading militarism around the world.  As they say on their website, “One thing we know from having delved into our history, and of course from our own lives and

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Lord Roberts writes: It is time to open our doors to some of the most vulnerable people in the world

ld4sos-bannerAs 2013 drew to a close, politicians from across the political spectrum came to the same conclusion: that the UK should offer shelter to (at least) a small number of the two million refugees who have fled the war in Syria. Even scaremongerer-in-chief, Nigel Farage MEP, called upon the UK to honour its obligations under international law. Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP, told BBC Radio 4’s The World this Weekend that ‘clearly we can’t take all the refugees, but we should play our part as an open-hearted, compassionate country’. The Labour Party …

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Go home posters still up in Glasgow…

We know that Liberal Democrats within the Government have said that there will be no repetition of the Go Home poster vans which were sent to drive round certain boroughs in London.

We also know that there will be no repetition of the Go home posters displayed in the Glasgow UKBA office, again thanks to Liberal Democrats within the coalition. Sadly, though, these posters have not been taken down as some asylum seekers I met earlier this week at the Liberal Democrat Seekers of Sanctuary fringe meeting on Monday were able to verify on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Nico, …

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After the ending of child detention – what next?

After the moving and amazing presentation and big “thank you” to the Lib Dems from Citizens UK on the Sunday morning of conference, for ending the detention of children of asylum seekers, what could possibly follow it?

The next day the newly formed “Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary”, along with Citizens UK, met in a nearby Church Hall. Those who had been, and were going through, the asylum process in the UK and were connected with both Citizens UK and Movement for Justice had come down to tell their stories. There to listen were members of the House …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Liberal Democrats thanked for ending child detention for immigration purposes

Celebrating the end of child detention with Citizens UK #LDConf
Photo: Helen Duffett on Flickr.

One of the highlights of Conference so far was a warm, emotional and bright interlude yesterday when Citizens UK (@citizensuk on Twitter) took to the stage to thank the Liberal Democrats for ending child detention for immigration purposes.

A line of smiling children and young people,who had got up at 5 am, filled the stage holding gold balloons spelling out a message of thanks.

Nick Clegg & Sarah …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments
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