Yesterday saw the end of Refugee Week and to celebrate Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury, attended the fundraising “Refugee Tea” arranged by the Whitstable-Calais Solidarity Group. Refugee Week was started in 1998 as a direct reaction to the hostility in the media and society towards refugees and asylum seekers. It aims to facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public, showcase the talent and expertise refugees bring with them to the UK and raise awareness of the reality of refugee experience.
Statistics from UNICEF last year highlight that the number of child refugees has increased almost 80% in the last five years. Now over 1 in every 200 children in the world is living in exile having been forced out by war or violence.
Councillor Bernadette Fisher, who helped organise the event, said ” It was great to see Rosie speaking so passionately about the contribution refugees have and can make to this country. Our previous MP voted against the Dubbs amendment effectively shutting the door to 3,000 unaccompanied minors starving in refugee camps. Despite the government agreeing to take in more children last year, not many people know that they u-turned on this promise in February. This decision was truly shameful. We look forward to working with someone who listens to our concerns and is supportive of our work”.
The event raised over £700 for humanitarian groups supporting destitute asylum seekers and was attended by staff from the Kent Refugee Action Network and Kent Refugee Help who both work from Canterbury.