When we started talking about the sleepout action last month, I was honestly not quite sure what to expect.
Were students going to brave the cold to sleep out in the streets? Would they manage to raise awareness about the right to work for asylum seekers? Would more MPs come on board and sign the declaration which gives asylum seekers the right to work?
The answer was YES!
Students slept out on the streets all over the UK. In total 32 sleepouts were held from Plymouth to Aberdeen and many towns in between. Stories were reported in the local press, as for the Manchester sleepout, and… the declaration was signed by 20 more MPs!!
All of this was possible thanks to some amazing young activists from Amnesty UK and STAR (Student Action for Refugees). They put a massive amount of energy into raising awareness of the issues facing asylum seekers in the UK. They invited speakers from various refugee organisations to the sleepout nights, and also got asylum seekers to come and share their stories with people.
I personally went to my first sleepout in London. It was a truly inspiring evening where I met lots of people working to improve the situation of asylum seekers in the UK. I had a conversation with Patson Mazua from the Zimbabwe Association. He told me how hard it is to live as an asylum seeker and how important it is to try to change the current situation regarding the right to work. I was also impressed by the emotional street performance given by the Hidden Theatre.
Here’s a short clip about the night in London:
Want to find out more or help with our campaign?
We still need to get a large number of MPs on board, so check today if your local MP has signed our declaration.
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.