You did it: 131 MPs voted for the Refugee Family Reunion Bill!
Today, the Refugee Family Reunion Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons - and passed to the next stage! This takes us one giant step closer to reuniting refugee families.
We needed at least 100 MPs to vote in order for the Bill to pass the second reading. We're delighted that 131 MPs supported bringing refugee families together - thanks to months of phone calls, letters, emails, events and MP visits by thousands of people up and down the UK.
Thank you for raising your voice - you've been heard!
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) March 16, 2018
— Refugee Council (@refugeecouncil) March 16, 2018
Refugees have benefited almost all of us, directly or indirectly, one way or another, across a range of sectors. Pleased to be in the Commons today to support the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill #FamiliesTogether pic.twitter.com/YiggZtpLhl
— Bob Neill (@neill_bob) March 16, 2018
— Mohammad Yasin MP (@yasinmpbedford) March 16, 2018
— Drew Hendry MP (@drewhendrySNP) March 16, 2018
— Faisal Rashid MP (@FaisalRashid6) March 16, 2018
What is the Refugee Family Reunion Bill?
The current UK laws on the rights of refugees are restrictive and unfair. They mean mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who have lost everything in the wake of the war and persecution, also lose their family. They don’t just miss out on the big family occasions like birthdays. They miss out on the everyday stuff too; the mundane but wonderful bits of family life.
The Refugee Family Reunion Bill would change all of that:
Young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents would also be able to live in safety with their families here.
- Child refugees would have the right to sponsor their close family to come to the UK so they can rebuild their lives together.
- Young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents would also be able to live in safety with their families here.
- Refugees who have lost everything could access legal aid to help them navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families.
People power in action
More than 13,000 people emailed their MP asking them to show up and vote today. Many people wrote letters and hundreds of you tweeted your support for #FamiliesTofether.
— Tommy Parker (@piddlingquill) March 15, 2018
— mizhenka (@mizhenka) March 14, 2018
— STAR National (@STARnational) March 13, 2018
— anita rani (@itsanitarani) March 8, 2018
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 14, 2018
The Wonder of Family Life
To raise awareness of the UK’s strict and unfair rules ahead of the Bill reading, we turned family life into a living art installation on London’s Southbank. Real families spent time in a living room inside a big glass box, just doing everyday family stuff like watching a film, or playing a board game, or having a pizza...oblivious to the fact they’re in an open public space, in central London, surrounded by hundreds of people.
When we watch it all from the outside we see that family life is full of small, lovely moments that we tend to take for granted. How could anyone be denied this?
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.