Families Together: stars call on British Prime Minister to help reunite refugee families
Celebrities call to make safe and legal routes available so that fewer people will feel compelled to make dangerous Channel crossings
Over 70 high profile names have signed a letter to the UK Government calling for a change to the rules keeping refugee families apart.
© UNHCR/Mark Henley
70 high-profile celebrities, actors, singers, comedians, authors and artists have today written to the UK Prime Minister calling on him to enable a change in the law so that refugee families can be reunited.
Amongst those standing with refugees are Michaela Coel, Sir Patrick Stewart, Olivia Colman, Kate Moss, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren and Gary Lineker.
They are joined by Goodwill Ambassadors for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Neil Gaiman and David Morrissey. High profile supporters including actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alan Cumming, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Douglas Booth, Tanya Burr and presenter Anita Rani have also signed the letter urging Boris Johnson to bring refugee families together.
The open letter has been sent in support of the Families Together coalition’s campaign. The campaign aims to change the UK’s refugee family reunion rules which currently keep children in this country apart from their families.
Current UK rules allow adult refugees to sponsor their immediate family members to join them. Child refugees, however, are deprived of this right.
Merhawi Hagos an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea was separated from his mother when he was 14 years old. After a difficult journey to the UK, he was granted refugee status two years ago. Yet he is still to be reunited with his family who are in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He says the camp is not secure and safe, and he constantly worries about their well-being.
“I found the experience of living without a family to be unbearable and a situation I would not wish upon anyone. I struggle to lead a normal life: cannot plan, cannot focus on my studies or work. I feel lonely, and depressed and do not sleep well.
“I’m imploring the UK Government to change the Family Reunion Rules so that young refugees like myself can be together with their families in the UK.”
The open letter has been sent in support of the Families Together coalition’s campaign, which aims to change the UK’s refugee family reunion rules which currently keep children in this country apart from their families.
“There are children in the UK right now who have fled war and persecution and have no hope of seeing their parents or siblings again. We should be offering them support and compassion. A simple change to the rules could be transformational.”
- Gary Lineker, former footballer and TV presenter
The household names join the Families Together coalition, in calling for a change to these rules, to make safe and legal routes available so that fewer people will feel compelled to make dangerous Channel crossings.
You can stand with refugees too: Sign the Families Together petition
Letter to the Prime Minister: You have the power to change lives
Dear Prime Minister,
Coronavirus has made us all acutely aware of how painful it is to be separated from our loved ones. But we know this separation is temporary. Sadly, this is not the case for everybody.
For some children in the UK, being kept apart from the parents they so desperately need is an everyday reality – pandemic or not.
These children are vulnerable. They have been recognised as refugees by our Government, having fled war or persecution - dangers and horrors most of us will never be able to imagine.
But the UK’s current refugee family reunion rules say that these vulnerable child refugees cannot be reunited with their family members.
After finally reaching safety, many must now grapple with a future of insecurity, knowing they might never see their family again. Tragically, at a time when children need their parents the most, our current rules mean that child refugees in this country will be left to live their lives alone.
Everyone should be given the chance to rebuild their lives so they can have a safe and happy future. That is why I am supporting the Families Together campaign in calling for a change to the UK’s refugee family reunion rules.
You have the power to change lives. With just the stroke of a pen you could fix the rules and help bring families back together.
Chris Martin - Coldplay
Gugu Mbatha Raw
Guy Berryman - Coldplay
Jonny Buckland - Coldplay
Sir Patrick Stewart
Phil Harvey – Coldplay
Sir Philip Pullman
Will Champion – Coldplay