Wigan MP joins celebrities in call to welcome refugees

 – Over 10,000 people declare pride in protecting refugees in UK-

Lisa Nandy MP forWigan has joined British celebrities Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Jon Snow, Esther Rantzen, and Zoe Wanamaker in calling for the government to ensure refugees fleeing persecution and conflict are protected here.  

In signing the Refugee Council pledge, Lisa Nandy MP and over 10,000 people have declared they are proud theUKprotects refugees, and are now asking the government to ensure refugees fleeing abuses in countries such asSyriaandIranare able to build a new home in safety here.

The petition was presented at an event in parliament at which MPs and peers discussed the challenges facing refugees integrating in British communities, following the publication of the government’s controversial integration strategy.

Lisa Nandy MP said: “Refugees are people who have fled war, torture and persecution, and are often forced to leave their families and belongings behind to save their own lives. As a nation, we are proud of our tradition of offering safety to refugees, so we must do all we can to ensure they also feel welcome and can integrate in our communities. I am proud of efforts made in Wigan through the work of Support for Wigan Arrivals Project, SWAP, whose volunteers and staff help people fleeing persecution integrate and settle.”

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “We are delighted that Lisa Nandy and over 10,000 other people have signed our pledge in support of protecting refugees in the UK, 60 years after Britain signed up to the UN Convention for Refugees. We urge the government to uphold its commitment to ensuring people who have fled horrors in their own country, like those we see taking place inSyriaat the moment, are able to get the protection they need here, and can start to rebuild their lives in safety.”

Actress Emma Thompson said:  “My son escaped violence in his country, and I am thankful every single day that he did. He was able to build a new life here – we have the UN Refugee Convention to thank for that. But it isn’t easy and refugees still aren’t treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We must never forget the importance of giving people who have lost everything the chance to start again in a safe country and we can all do more to make theUK a welcoming place.”

The event marked the end of a year of celebrating 60 years of protecting refugees in the UK, with the anniversary of the UN Convention for Refugees –  the international law that protects refugees’ rights – and of the Refugee Council which has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the UKsince 1951. For further information please visit www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/60years.