Refugee Week - 19th to 25th June 2023

Refugee Week - 19th to 25th June 2023

What is Refugee Week?

2023 sees Refugee Week’s 25th anniversary. Founded in 1998 it is an annual, week-long event taking place this year between the 19th and 25th of June, coinciding with World Refugee Day on the 20th of June. The celebration encompasses the world’s largest arts and cultural festival highlighting the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Ultimately the aim of the week is to enable people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels and provide a platform for people who have sought safety in the UK to share their experiences and creative work on their own terms.

Each year Refugee Week hosts a different theme, this year’s being ‘compassion’. Taking inspiration from Albert Einstein ‘our task must be to free ourselves – by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty’. Why compassion? Quite simply the last few years have been challenging for all of us. More than ever, we know how interconnected our world is and how something, seemingly “far away” impacts everyone. Compassion can be turned into action by breaking down the rhetoric, negative image in the media about refugees, opening up conversation and welcoming people who are forced to leave their home countries. We all have the right to be safe. 

What is the difference between a Refugee and an Asylum Seeker? And other common questions…

Often both children and adults can be unsure of terms used in headlines and the narrative used around Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Knowledge is power and hopefully the below will enable a better understanding of the issues displaced people face.  

What is an Asylum Seeker? A person who flees their home country, enters another country, makes themselves known to the authorities, submits an asylum application for the right to international protection and to stay in that country. They have a legal right to stay in that country while waiting for a decision.

• What is a refugee? A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster. They are unable to return as it would be unsafe to do so. They have had their claim for asylum accepted by the government and have permission to stay in that country either long term or indefinitely. Not every asylum seeker will be ultimately recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.

 What is a migrant? A person who has moved to another country, for example to work, study or to join family members. They may be living there temporarily or permanently depending upon their situation.

• Are all Refugees the same? Refugees and Asylum Seekers are not a single group, and all have different experiences, because of their country of origin, class, gender, sexuality, age and immigration status.

 What factors force people to flee their home? Reasons people flee are often complex. Root causes of forced displacements can include poverty, hunger, climate change, gender-based persecution, violence, war, inequality and COVID-19. 

 What rights do refugees have? A refugee has the right to physical safety. They should receive the same rights and basic help as any other foreigner who is a legal resident including freedom of thought, of movement and freedom from degrading treatment. Economic and social rights are equally applicable, refugees should have access to medical care, schooling and the right to work. 

How to get involved in Refugee Week

There are endless ways to support Refugee Week and show compassion in your community. No matter how big or small, below are some ideas to get you started:

 Educate – holding assemblies, dedicated lessons, creating displays, writing letters, welcoming refugees in schools, encourage kindness and understanding

 Simple Acts – Refugee Week’s initiative, Simple Acts, are small steps in making the world more inclusive for refugees, these 10 acts include – watch a film, listen and share, read a book, send a message, have a chat, share a dish, walk together, grow your compassion, use your platform and join the movement 

 Hold an event – these can be large scale or held individually, previous activities have comprised of dances, coffee mornings, football tournaments, concerts, seminars and art exhibitions

 Donate – even the smallest amount can help charities achieve a fairer asylum system

 Social Media – shout out about it and show your support, utilise the following hashtags #RefugeeWeek #SimpleActs #CompassionIntoAction

 Listen – engaging and listening to people’s experiences is so important in our journey to understanding and helping. Audiobooks, music and podcasts offer an accessible way to learn

 Read – Our personal favourite… pick up a book, share it with friends and pass the knowledge on. These stories can help us understand the importance of compassion surrounding displacement 

Read your way to Refugee Week – the importance of literature

Asylum can be confusing for children (and adults), and books can help us approach tough issues in an age-appropriate way. To support Refugee Week we have picked our top reads to help educate, inform, empathise, and understand the experiences refugees face. No one can describe the life of refugees better than refugees themselves; these titles really highlight the journey a person has to endure to reach a safer and better home.

There’s an additional list of titles for those studying the complex issues surrounding immigration. This selection of books brings together texts by researchers and academics on borders, immigration rhetoric and the rights of migrants. All lists include vital reading for anyone wishing to better understand their fellow humans.   


Early Years:

My name is not Refugee

Milner, Kate


A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make. From the winner of the V&A Student Illustration Award 2016.

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Saving the butterfly

Cooper, Helen


A poetic, powerful story about a little brother and a big sister finding a new home and new hope after being rescued from a boat lost in the dark sea. A little brother and his big sister try their best to settle in a new home, where they have nothing left from before except each other. The little one makes new friends and quickly learns to laugh again but his sister remains haunted by the shadows of their past and hides away in their broken house. Trying to help his sister, the little one catches a butterfly for her and brings it inside the house. His sister knows that she needs to set the butterfly free ... but that would mean going outside. In taking the first steps to face her fears and save the butterfly, she also begins the process of saving herself.

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Everybody's welcome

Hegarty, Patricia


Everybody's Welcome - No matter who you are... Wouldn't it be great if you could build a home that opened its doors to everyone - tall or short, fat or thin, rich or poor... Well, perhaps if everybody pitches in to help, one little mouse can achieve that dream. This heart-warming story is brought to life with clever die-cuts and playful illustrations. An easy-to-read story book that is filled with beautiful illustrations of a mouse and other woodland friends embarking on a journey to build a home together. With simply written rhymes, this picture book teaches friendship, acceptance and the importance of diversity.

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Home for Grace

White, Kathryn


Nominated for the Carnegie Medal for IllustrationA powerful and compassionate introduction to homelessness, and the need for kindness, understanding and friendship. No one knows who Grace is. One day, she appeared in a shop doorway in a sleeping bag, with a cat called Luna, surrounded by strange things. When Jess and her mum strike up a friendship with Grace, Jess has questions: why did she leave her home? Does she have enough to eat? And what happens when the cold weather comes?

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Who are refugees and migrants? What makes people leave their homes? And other big questions

Rosen, Michael


What does it mean for people to have to leave their homes, and what happens when they seek entry to another country? This book explores the history of refugees and migration around the world and the effects on people of never-ending war and conflict. It compares the effects on society of diversity and interculturalism with historical attempts to create a racially 'pure' culture. It takes an international perspective, and offers a range of views from people who have personal experience of migration, including the campaigners Meltem Avcil and Muzoon Almellehan, the comedian and actor Omid Djalili and the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Aimed at young people aged 10 and upwards, the book encourages readers to think for themselves about the issues involved. There is also a role-play activity asking readers to imagine themselves in the situation of having to decide whether to leave their homes and seek refuge in a new country. Part of the groundbreaking and important 'And Other Big Questions' series, which offers balanced and considered views on the big issues we face in the world we live in today. Other titles in the series include:What is Humanism? How do you live without a god?What is Feminism? Why do we need It?What is Gender? How does it Define us?What is Consent? Why is it Important?What is Right and Wrong? Who Decides? Where do Values come from?What is Race? Who are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter?What is Masculinity? Why Does it Matter?What is Politics? Why Should we Care?

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Colfer, Eoin


This is a powerful and timely story about one boy's epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout. From Eoin Colfer, previously Irish Children's Laureate, and the team behind his bestselling Artemis Fowl graphic novels. Ebo: alone. His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe. Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister. *Winner of the Judges' Special Award at the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards*'Beautifully realised and punchily told.' Alex O'Connell, The Times Children's Book of the Week'A powerful, compelling work, evocatively illustrated ... It would take a hard heart not to be moved by this book.' Financial Times

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The boy at the back of the class

Rauf, Onjali Q.


A World Book Day 2020 AuthorWINNER OF THE BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD 2019 WINNER OF THE WATERSTONES CHILDREN'S BOOK PRIZE 2019SHORTLISTED FOR THE JHALAK PRIZE 2019Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense. There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it. He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn't like sweets - not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn't very strange at all. He's a refugee who's run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help. That's where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we've come up with a plan. . . With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick*BEAUTIFUL GOLD FOIL ANNIVERSARY EDITION NOW AVAILABLE - FIND IT UNDER 'ALL FORMATS AND EDITIONS'*

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The power of welcome : real-life refugee and migrant journeys

Jusic, Ada


A powerful graphic novel exploring the struggle for survival of displaced people. With true stories from Ukraine, Somalia, Bosnia, Syria and Afghanistan, this moving book collects important tales about the real journeys of people forced from their homes by conflict. Somalia: 'It was a normal, boring day. I was playing videogames after homework when the first bomb fell.' Bosnia: 'One day, Mum took me to the local playground. A sniper shot at us. We couldn't stay in Bosnia any more.' Ukraine: 'On the 24th of February, Mum woke me up by saying: 'The war has begun.' With stories from Ada Jusic (Bosnia), Marie Bamyani (Afghanistan), Sonya Zhurenko (Ukraine), Ramzee (Somalia) and Nadine Kaadan (Syria). Full-colour graphic novel art by Bosnian refugee, Ada Jusic. Each story has an informative introduction about the country, written by Bali Rai. Real stories to help children aged 9+ understand the plight of refugees and displaced people.

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You don't know what war is

Skalietska, Yeva


***A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR****** Shortlisted for the Children's Book of the Year: Older Non Fiction The Week Junior Book Awards***Featured on This Morning, Steph's Packed Lunch, Radio 4: Today and Channel 4 News_______________Everyone knows the word 'war'. But very few understand what it truly means. When you find you have to face it, you feel totally lost, walled in by fright and despair. Until you've been there, you don't know what war is. This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva's life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear. Yeva captured the nation's heart when she was featured on Channel 4 News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Dublin. In You Don't Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin. Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny's journey. You Don't Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike. Published in association with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo. _______________'Everyone, absolutely everyone, should read it. You will love Yeva' Christy Lefteri, No.1 international bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo'Yeva speaks a truth all of us must listen to' Michael Morpurgo, award-winning author of War Horse'Exhilarating, shattering, heartbreaking, brilliant' Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-winning author'The most important story of our times' Viv Groskop, podcaster and writer'A herstory of Ukraine' Olia Hercules, Ukrainian chef and food writer

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A house without walls

Laird, Elizabeth


A House Without Walls is a powerful story of family, hope and redemption amidst the refugee crisis in Syria from the award-winning Elizabeth Laird, illustrated by Lucy Eldridge. Thirteen-year-old Safiya and her family have been driven out of Syria by civil war. Safiya knows how lucky she is – lucky not to be living in a refugee camp, lucky to be alive. But it's hard to feel grateful when she's forced to look after her father and brother rather than go back to school, and now that she's lost her home, she's lonelier than ever. As they struggle to rebuild their lives, Safiya realizes that her family has always been incomplete and with her own future in the balance, it's time to uncover the secrets that war has kept buried.

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The crossing

Mann, Manjeet


Powerful, compassionate and ultimately hopeful. ObserverWINNER OF THE COSTA CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2021 and the Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week - a trailblazing novel about two teenagers from opposite worlds; The Crossing is a profound story of hope, grief, and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis. The sea carries our pain. The stars carry our future. Natalie's world is falling apart. She's just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge. Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. But is hope enough to mend a broken world?'Skilful, involving and important, this deserves it's accolades' The Sunday Times'Powerful, uplifting, hopeful' Guardian

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The other side of truth

Naidoo, Beverley


Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child. Not a speck, not a stain on her gray school skirt and blue blouse to show what terrible thing had happened . . . If only by putting on something fresh and new, they could begin the day again. When twelve-year-old Sade's mother is killed, she and her little brother Femi are forced to flee from their home in Nigeria to Britain. They're not allowed to tell anyone - not even their best friends - as their whole journey is secret, dangerous - and illegal. Their dad promises to follow when he can, but once the children arrive in London, things go from bad to worse when they're abandoned by the people they had been told would protect them. Sade faces challenge after challenge - but her dad has always taught her to stand up for what is right, and to tell the truth no matter what. And with that strength of spirit in her heart, Sade will find the courage to fight for the new, happy life she, Femi and her dad deserve. A powerful novel which explores what it means to be classified as 'illegal' and the difficulties which come with being a refugee - winner of the Carnegie Medal 2000. 'A marvellous read ... that refuels the desire for justice and freedom' - Jon Snow'Beverley Naidoo breaks the rules, producing books for young people which recognize that they want to know about the real world' Guardian'This novel wholly deserves its classic status . . . still relevant and poignant.' Booktrust

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We are displaced : my journey and stories from refugee girls around the world

Yousafzai, Malala


In this powerful and emotional New York Times bestseller, Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai shares various stories of displacement, including her own. Part memoir, part communal storytelling, We Are Displaced introduces readers to some of the incredible girls Malala has met on her many journeys and lets each tell her story - girls who have lost their community, relatives and often the only world they've ever known, but have not lost hope. Longing for home and fear of an uncertain future binds all of these young women, but each is unique. In a time of immigration crises, war and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder that every single one of the 79.5 million currently displaced is a person - often a young person - with dreams for a better, safer world. Includes a new Afterword by the author

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The girl who smiled beads : a story of war and what comes after

Wamariya, Clemantine


A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save usWhen Clemantine Wamariya was six years old, her world was torn apart. She didn't know why her parents began talking in whispers, or why her neighbours started disappearing, or why she could hear distant thunder even when the skies were clear. As the Rwandan civil war raged, Clemantine and her sister Claire were forced to flee their home. They ran for hours, then walked for days, not towards anything, just away. they sought refuge where they could find it, and escaped when refuge became imprisonment. Together, they experienced the best and the worst of humanity. After spending six years seeking refuge in eight different countries, Clemantine and Claire were granted refugee status in America and began a new journey. Honest, life-affirming and searingly profound, this is the story of a girl's struggle to remake her life and create new stories - without forgetting the old ones. ____________________________________'Extraordinary and heartrending. Wamariya is as fiercely talented as she is courageous' JUNOT DIAZ, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao'Brilliant ... has captivated me for a couple of years' SELMA BLAIR

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The ungrateful refugee : what immigrants never tell you

Nayeri, Dina


'A vital book for our times' ROBERT MACFARLANE'Unflinching, complex, provocative' NIKESH SHUKLA'A work of astonishing, insistent importance' ObserverAged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years. In these pages, women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home, a closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials. Surprising and provocative, The Ungrateful Refugee recalibrates the conversation around the refugee experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to be forced to flee your home, and to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh.

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The beekeeper of Aleppo

Lefteri, Christy


THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE HUGELY ANTICIPATED SONGBIRDS. INCLUDES A FREE CHAPTER. A RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB CHOICE 2020 A BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB CHOICE 2019 WINNER OF THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE THE READING AGENCY'S PICK FOR NATIONAL READING GROUP DAYOVER A MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE 'This is a novel of international significance. Courageous, provocative, haunting, it will open our eyes' Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of AuschwitzIn the midst of war, he found loveIn the midst of darkness, he found courageIn the midst of tragedy, he found hopeWhat will you find from his story?Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo - until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all - and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face - they must journey to find each other again. Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. - - - - - - - 'This book dips below the deafening headlines, and tells a true story with subtlety and power' Esther Freud'A beautiful novel, intelligent, thoughtful; and relevant. I'm recommending this book to everyone I care about. So I'm recommending this book to you' Benjamin Zephaniah'This compelling tale had me gripped with its compassion, its sensual style and its onward and lively urge for resolution' Daljit Nagra'Powerful, thought-provoking and beautifully crafted' Choice Magazine***DON'T MISS CHRISTY LEFTERI'S MOVING AND CAPTIVATING NEW NOVEL: THE BOOK OF FIRE, OUT NOW!***

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Exit west

Hamid, Mohsin


A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick - Booker Gems THE NEW YORK TIMES AND SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 WINNER OF THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE 'Astonishing' Zadie Smith 'Stunning' Spectator 'Extraordinary' TLS An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist All over the world, doors are appearing. They lead to other cities, other countries, other lives. And in a city gripped by war, Nadia and Saeed are newly in love. Hardly more than strangers, desperate to survive, they open a door and step through. But the doors only go one way. Once you leave, there is no going back. *Coming soon as a major Netflix film - produced by Michelle and Barack Obama and starring Riz Ahmed* 'One of the year's most significant literary works' The New York Times 'A masterpiece' Michael Chabon 'Addictively readable and brilliantly written. Fantastic' Mail on Sunday

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Understanding and supporting refugee children and young people : a practical resource for teachers, parents and carers of those exposed to the trauma of war

Rae, Tina


This book is the go-to resource for those parents and professionals seeking to support children through the trauma of war and conflict. Not only does it provide the evidence base for effectively integrating refugee children into their new schools, but it also introduces the reader to a range of key tools and strategies to both understand and manage anxiety and trauma -related behaviours. Practical and user-friendly, it demystifies the process of talking about difficult topics, providing helpful advice on how to do this in a trauma informed way, making use of effective tools from therapeutic approaches to help our children and ourselves remain regulated and able to engage in post-traumatic growth.

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Creating spaces of wellbeing and belonging for refugee and asylum-seeker students : skills and strategies for classroom teachers

Sellars, Maura


* Outlines strategies for educators to support positive educational and social outcomes for refugee and asylum-seeker students *Illustrates the link between theory and practice in supporting the emotional and cognitive needs of multilingual, multicultural students whose common experiences are displacement, trauma and loss. *Provides insights from educators who are doing this work successfully in five different countries.

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The refugee system : a sociological approach

Arar, Rawan


Some people facing violence and persecution flee. Others stay. How do households in danger decide who should go, where to relocate, and whether to keep moving? What are the conditions in countries of origin, transit, and reception that shape people's options? This incisive book tells the story of how one Syrian family, spread across several countries, tried to survive the civil war and live in dignity. This story forms a backdrop to explore and explain the refugee system. Departing from studies that create siloes of knowledge about just one setting or ""solution"" to displacement, the book's sociological approach describes a global system that shapes refugee movements. Changes in one part of the system reverberate elsewhere. Feedback mechanisms change processes across time and place. Earlier migrations shape later movements. Immobility on one path redirects migration along others. Past policies, laws, population movements, and regional responses all contribute to shape states’ responses in the present. As Arar and FitzGerald illustrate, all these processes are forged by deep inequalities of economic, political, military, and ideological power. Presenting a sharp analysis of refugee structures worldwide, this book offers invaluable insights for students and scholars of international migration and refugee studies across the social sciences, as well as policy makers and those involved in refugee and asylum work.

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Refugee law

Yeo, Colin (Garden Court Chambers and Free Movement)


The word 'refugee' is both evocative and contested; it means different things to different people. For lawyers, the main legal reference point is the UN Refugee Convention of 1951. This concise and engaging book follows the structure of the Convention to explore international refugee law. Including an introduction to the historical and legal context, Colin Yeo draws on his experience as an immigration barrister to explain the present-day legal framework for global refugee protection. Chapters consider: * well-founded fear;* persecution; * the loss of refugee status and exclusion;* the rights of refugees;* and state responses to refugee claims. The book includes studies of key legal cases, reviews the successes and failures of the Convention and looks ahead to the future, including the impact of climate change and the Global Compact on Refugees. Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists.

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Young refugees and asylum seekers : the truth about Britain

Henry, Declan


There are many misconceptions about young refugees and asylum seekers in Britain. Declan Henry dispels the myths and gives a compassionate and empathetic view of the daily struggles they face including discrimination, racism and poverty. This book explores the reasons why they came to the UK and the safeguarding issues involved, the services they receive and the gaps and inequalities in the system as a whole. The injustice of long Home Office delays in the processing of applications and appeal processes are outlined and, as it is becoming more difficult for many young people to get Leave to Remain, the impact on their lives in terms of accommodation, education and planning for the future are explored. The author also looks at the emotional and mental health needs of young people including those with undiagnosed learning needs and difficulties. Ultimately, the book paints a graphic picture of what life is like in Britain for young people - cut off from their country of their origin and families - and how they are expected to make a new life in Britain with limited resources. There are works of non-fiction that are not only timely but also extremely important. Young Refugees And Asylum Seekers by author Declan Henry is one of them. The refugee crisis, and the plight of children and young adults, is brought into sharp focus in this powerful, challenging and well-written book. With precision, this author highlights both the lack of resources and unfair treatment of those who enter a new country without a caregiver as well as the monumental efforts of good people who work within a challenging system to exact change while practicing kindness. The importance of seeing children as children first is at the core of this valuable book. And we are reminded that the way we treat the most vulnerable is a testament to who we are, fundamentally, as human beings and a society. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand the refugee crisis and to those in search of an opportunity to make a difference. Nancy Richardson Fischer, author of When Elephants Fly, The Speed of Falling Objects

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Access to books for refugees and asylum seekers is incredibly important. Every child should have the opportunity to enjoy reading especially in their home language. Dual language and foreign language books offer a bridge between cultures and can help displaced people feel included, represented and can open discussions about other cultures and languages. Browns offers an extensive range of titles organised by language – Dual-Language and Foreign Language Books*. Alternatively, eBooks can be a fantastic resource for refugees and asylum seekers as the language of the book can be changed to suit the reader, making them accessible for everyone. More information on this can be found on our VLeBooks page*.  

Laura, Content Selection Team

Welcome House Logo

In 2017 Hull was declared a City of Sanctuary and is now recognised as a place of welcome and safety for Asylum Seekers and Refugees. To further ensure its commitment ‘Welcome House’ was established in 2020, a registered charity, working across Hull and East Riding, aiming to offer moral and practical support to displaced people. Their vision is to see asylum seekers and refugees empowered to build fulfilling lives, connected to local services, and integrated with local communities. Welcome House established 6 main values: to treat others with respect, to listen intently, to have the courage to stimulate conversations, to connect people with the community, to empower continuous learning, and above all deliver with compassion. This links perfectly with this year’s Refugee Week theme – seeing people as individuals with all their strengths, experiences, resilience, and spirit, not defined by their migration status.

In April 2023 I was privileged to run the TCS London Marathon to raise vital funds for Welcome House (which you can read more about in our running blog here*). The allowances provided to asylum families with children do not cover the basics of life, let alone any joyful experiences. Fun is often not even included on the list of things an asylum seeker or refugee child needs. All the money raised through running the marathon has gone towards providing these children with fun days out such as trips to the seaside, picnics in the park, and visits to the local museums. Most of all they are shown that they are cared for, supported, and given the opportunity to actually be a child and look forward to exciting activities – all things we normally take for granted.

Ultimately Refugee Week is a platform for people who have sought safety in the UK to share their experiences, perspectives, and creative work on their own terms. Undeniably the aim is to understand that each individual is unique and that no process or principles can replace compassion, respect, and above all humanity. Below are useful websites to help guide you through Refugee Week 2023: