A ‘City of Sanctuary’ is one where refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, and their contribution to society celebrated. The concept is supported and promoted by a national network of local groups made up of businesses, community organisations and individuals.
Highlighting its seaside location, Brighton & Hove has been branded ‘Sanctuary on Sea’.
Linked projects include: The Migrant English Project , Black & Minority Ethnic Community Partnership , Trust for Developing Communities, Brighton Voices in Exile, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project , Refugee Radio Euro-Mernet, and the Centre for Migration Studies at Sussex University.
The initiative has the backing of Brighton & Hove City Council, with cross-party support, following a motion proposed by the Green Group, and passed, at the Full Council meeting on 26th March. (see text below)
Cllr. Leo Littman, who proposed the motion, said:
“I am delighted that Brighton and Hove is joining the growing band of British cities which are standing up for refugees and asylum seekers. Our city has a well-deserved reputation for offering sanctuary to those who, through no fault of their own, need it most. I’m very pleased that my Motion to Council, which was supported by all but one Councillor, has helped formalise the role we in the city play in this vital humanitarian work.
“Amongst the most pressing needs at present is felt by those displaced from their homes by the ongoing civil war in Syria. This includes women who have been subjected to sexual abuse as an act of war; victims of torture; those in need of specialised medical treatment; and orphaned children. I hope we will now add some of these people to the city’s roll of honour, which already features Huguenots, Jews, Sudanese, Kosovans, and, the Oromo, among many others.”
The SANCTUARY ON SEA LAUNCH event will take place on Sunday 14th June, 5pm to 8pm at the Brighthelm Centre on North Road, Brighton.
Cllr Littman will attend, along with other members and supporters of the Sanctuary-on-Sea group. It will include the Premiere of: ‘Tasting My Future’, a film about local refugee women sharing food, stories and their hopes for the future. There will also be international food and music.
Free tickets and more information are available through their website: http://brighton-and-hove.cityofsanctuary.org/
NOTICE OF MOTION to Full Council meeting on 26 March 2015
Agenda Item 83 (d)
GREEN GROUP: CITY OF SANCTUARY
“Brighton and Hove City Council recognises and welcomes the good work going on in the city to make it a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community which offers safety to those who need it. As a city we celebrate diversity and recognise that our lives are enriched by those who come here seeking sanctuary.
Brighton and Hove City Council supports the movement to have Brighton and Hove recognised as a City of Sanctuary: a place where people fleeing persecution and violence can feel safe, welcomed, and included.
Brighton and Hove City Council recognises that there is still a great deal more we in the city could do, and will work with partners across the city to take practical steps towards welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to a place of safety, for example through the Vulnerable Persons’ Relocation Scheme.
To these ends, the Council supports the principle of Brighton and Hove becoming a City of Sanctuary, and to continue to work with partners across the city, towards accommodating more refugees including those from Syria’s ongoing civil war.
The Council also supports working with other local authorities and the Local Government Association to share best practice in this area and further the aims of the wider City of Sanctuary movement.”
Proposed by: Councillor Littman Seconded by: Councillor Phillips
Supported by: Councillors Buckley, Bowden, Davey, Deane, Hawtree, Jarrett, Jones, Kennedy, A Kitcat, J Kitcat, Mac Cafferty,Powell, Randall, Rufus, Shanks, Sykes, Wakefield and West.
Brighton and Hove has a well-deserved reputation for embraced the diversity of its residents. Further, both Brighton and Hove have histories of welcoming members of communities who fled their homes to find sanctuary. Thanks to the numbers fleeing here in the late 1800s, Brighton boasts the only Huguenot church in Britain, outside London. Meanwhile in Hove, many Jews fleeing persecution in Europe were moved to the Furze Hill area and beyond, founding a large community in the town, and contributing greatly to its civic life.