Here’s how you can help to reunite stricken refugee families in Sheffield.
A call for people in Sheffield to back a campaign to help families who have been torn apart by war, to get back together, is being made by the Refugee Council.
The Refugee Council supports hundreds of refugees in Sheffield every year.
Sadly, many refugees and people seeking asylum face untold suffering due to the UK’s harsh immigration policies, that could easily be changed.
They prevent refugees in Britain from being reunited with anyone other than their partner or children under 18.
Unlike almost all other countries in Europe, child refugees who arrive in the UK alone are prevented from being with by any family member at all, regardless of their age or needs.
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A petition calling on the Home Secretary to amend these rules, by the simple stroke of a pen, has been launched.
Tesfamhret Tsegazghi, area manager at the Refugee Council in Sheffield, said: “Day in, day out, we see the very real impact these rules are having on refugees as they struggle to rebuild their lives here.
“People tell us that though they are thankful to be safe, for the UK to actually be their home they must be with their family.
“We hear of parents plagued by worry over the 19-year-old daughter who remains extremely vulnerable overseas - a daughter they may never see again.
“And of teenagers as young as 15 here without the parents and siblings they desperately need.
“Frustratingly, the Home Secretary doesn’t need to bring about new legislation to enable refugee families to be together again; he has the power to amend these unfair rules in an instant.
“That is why we urge the people of Sheffield to sign our petition and ask Sajid Javid to do right by refugees living in the UK.”
Sabreen Ghanem, 25, from Yemen, came to the UK as a refugee with her mother, sister and brother.
Although she and her family are relieved to now be in the safety of Sheffield, they desperately miss Sabreen’s brother who remains in Egypt.
Current rules prevent him from being reunited with his family in the UK which is a cause of real heartbreak.
Sabreen said: ‘Family reunion is very important for us. We need to be together, it means everything. We need to be together to live our lives. I think about it all the time, it is very hard.’
The Refugee Council is part of the Families Together coalition centred on amending refugee family reunion rules in the UK.
The coalition has worked closely with Angus MacNeil MP on his Private Member’s Bill to amend refugee family reunion law. Receiving support from across the political divide, the Bill has almost reached committee stage in the House of Commons.
For more information and to sign the Refugee Council’s petition to the Home Secretary, go to https://action.refugeecouncil.org.uk/reunitefamilies/