21,328 urge UK government to protect refugees

CARE staff hand in the petition at 10 Downing Street on 19 September

21,328 people have signed our petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to take action to protect refugees in the run-up to the Global Refugee Summits (19 and 20 September) and beyond.

The petition calls for action to:

  • Open safe and legal routes for people to flee violence and persecution, like refugee family reunion, so they don’t have to put their lives in the hands of people smugglers.
  • Deliver on promises to help developing countries which shelter the majority of the world's refugees. Any funding to governments must be matched by commitments to respect the dignity and protection of refugees, and monitoring to ensure tangible improvements in the lives of refugees and local communities hosting them.
  • Empower displaced women and girls to raise their voice in decisions made on the crisis response, and protect them from sexual violence and trafficking.

Thank you for standing with refugees and making your voice heard.

Did the Refugee and Migrant Summits deliver on your demands?

  • Safe and legal routes

The UN Refugee and Migrant Summit reaffirmed the importance of protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants - but Theresa May's speeches on the British government's position implied that refugees are a security threat and argued that, as the UK is doing its bit in providing international aid, it does not need to accept hosting its fair share of refugees.

CARE believes that this will put people more at risk of trafficking and other dangers, and we are continuing to urge the UK government to take steps to open up safe and legal routes for refugees fleeing from violence and persecution.

  • Funding for refugees

The UK government continues to be a generous donor to international humanitarian aid for refugees. However, our worry now is that UK funding might become increasingly tied to ‘containing’ refugees in countries – often countries that cannot and don’t offer them a safe or dignified place of refuge.

No amount of funding can absolve the world’s wealthy countries from shouldering their part of the responsibility to help host these refugees too.

  • Empowering displaced women and girls

The Political Declaration at the UN Refugee and Migrants Summit includes some strong language on “gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. Translating the positive language and rhetoric into action is now the challenge. For example, it is great that the UN Political Declaration acknowledges that refugees, and specifically refugee women, should contribute to decision-making on crisis responses. But for this to happen, we need governments to enable them to participate.

So going forward we need to keep up the pressure on both the UK government, the UN and other powerful states globally to deliver on what we liked in the Summit outcomes, and fix the gaps and weaknesses in what was agreed.

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