7th December 2021

Hundreds of protestors from coalition groups of refugee charities and individuals joined in solidarity at the Refugees Welcome Rally in Parliament Square, Central London, on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. Our Advocacy Group travelled down to take part in the protests and stand against the Nationality & Borders Bill.

Advocacy Group members travel from Liverpool to London

Our journey started off at Liverpool Lime Street station at 12pm. We all met at the station, got our tickets and stayed together on the train supporting each other.

As we arrived at London Euston, we met the Sisters not Strangers coalition members. It was so nice meeting each other in person for the first time, and yet feeling so friendly. Coming together for the same cause made us feel like we had known each other for ages.

Sisters Not Strangers gather for the first time in person since February 2020

I must admit initially, I was apprehensive, nervous and worried because I had never joined a rally before. My knowledge of a rally was always crowds, unorganised, violent and of people who were there not because they believed in the cause, but to bring about unrest.

My experience of the rally was completely different to what I expected.

Refugee Women Connect protests at Parliament Square

To start with, the rally was well organised in a dedicated area where the various coalition groups could gather. The crowd knew what was expected and behaved appropriately. It was well guarded and in a safe space. The event started on time, the speakers spoke well and with factual evidence. Refugee Women Connect staff were with us at all times ensuring we were looked after and comfortable. The way Pip kept an eye on how the media approached us, and reminded me that I still have the right to say no to the media, was truly reassuring. Alice keeping a check on me from the start of the journey to ensure I felt ok was so encouraging.

Heart breaking lived experiences and calls to action from women, men, children, and the LGBTQ+ community were shared in the form of poems, songs, dance and speeches. These emotional experiences were not fictional, but something my own inner voice has been crying for the last few years.

After leaving the rally and departing from London Euston station, it felt so right to have been there standing for solidarity and freedom.

To hear the speakers' lived experience of the asylum process, their determination to live through it and contribute towards the creation of a fair immigration was truly inspiring. It made me feel that if I want to bring a change to this Immigration bill, I have responsibility on my shoulders too.

Manono and Comfort at Parliament Square

Often my thoughts in these past years have been about what I can do to change the wrong decisions made by government; to change them to be the right decisions.

I believe standing in solidarity with my fellow friends is the first step in this direction and I want to build my confidence to do more through my actions. These actions in turn will have a ripple effect on others, who also have a role to play if we want a fair asylum system.

I stand in solidarity with each and every person who is seeking sanctuary to scrap this Bill. This Bill is inhumane.

Leave no one behind’ is a pledge made by all members of the UN, the UK being amongst the UN members. Yet today, the Nationality & Borders Bill proceeds through the committee stage in the House of Commons. This Bill has left me and many others feeling vulnerable, disadvantaged, excluded and at risk of violence and discrimination.

At a time when one is most vulnerable, we need safety. It could be you, just like it caught me unaware. So why not be empathetic and look for a fair asylum system that treats everyone with respect and dignity, amidst the global challenges we are all facing together.

So let’s pledge to ensure that:

  • Every person has a fair opportunity in life no matter who or where they are.
  • People who are the furthest behind, who have least opportunity and who are the most excluded, will be prioritised.
  • Every person counts and will be counted.