37 organisations ask parliamentary candidates to use respectful language about migrants

Human rights, migrant and justice rights organisations have written to all parliamentary candidates asking them to use humanising and respectful language when talking about migrants and refugees. The letter, which has been signed by 37 organisations, highlights that the words of candidates for public office carry weight and asks them to, therefore, “lead with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to our collective and individual human rights”.

Sara Alsherif, Migrant Digital Justice Programme Manager at Open Rights Group said:

“Immigration has become a key issue during the run up to the General Election. But our parliamentary candidates should be able to discuss immigration and related issues without resorting to rhetoric that dehumanises people and suggests that they are not worthy of being treated with dignity.”

The letter also calls for candidates to support the concept of digital sanctuary for asylum seekers, migrants and refugees in the UK. This would include ending the hostile digital environment, establishing robust privacy protections for migrants’ data and promoting inclusive digital policies.

Alsherif added:

“Privacy and data protection are vital for anyone who needs to provide accurate information to prove their right to be in the UK – and in particular for those fleeing from regimes that may harm them. Despite this, migrants are not being treated equally. We call on the next government to provide digital sanctuary to those who need to keep the information they rely on safe and secure.”

Mary Atkinson, Campaigns and Networks Manager at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said:  

“The digital hostile environment is an attack on all our rights. It is utterly inhumane that migrants’ data is used to intimidate them, and prevent them from accessing basic services. Our politicians have a responsibility to lead with compassion and care, and that includes ensuring our collective and individual human rights are protected. We all deserve our privacy – no matter where we’re from.”

Open letter calling on MP candidates to use humanising and respectful language when talking about migrants and refugees.

In the run up to the 2024 General Election, immigration and the treatment of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum and sanctuary have become focal points in our political discourse. As human rights, migrant and justice rights organisations, we call on all parliamentary candidates to stop using migrants as scapegoats for the challenges the UK faces, and to refrain from propagating hateful and inflammatory rhetoric against some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.

Whatever our background, everyone deserves to feel safe and have our dignity upheld in public, at home and in the workplace. We should all have access to health and support services, know that our personal data will be kept safe, and that our privacy will be respected. We should all be able to pursue justice, defend our rights and hold the government to account. We urge candidates to commit to upholding these rights and ensure safety for those seeking sanctuary in the UK

Our rights in the digital spaces are just as important, especially for those whose safety depends on keeping data secure from the authoritarian regimes they have fled. We, call on all candidates to protect and support the concept of “Digital Sanctuary” for migrants to the UK, which includes ending the hostile digital environment, establishing robust privacy protections for migrants’ data and promoting inclusive digital policies.

As candidates for public office, your words and policies carry significant weight in shaping our collective future. We urge you to lead with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to our collective and individual human rights. We hope that you recognise your duty of care and responsibility for the language you use, to not further sow fear and division but strive for a society where everyone is valued and afforded the dignity and belonging they deserve.

Signed by:

African Rainbow Family
After Exploitation
Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK)
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)
Choose Love
City of Sanctuary UK
Croydon Cycle Theatre
Daaro Youth Project
Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK)
Freedom United
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
Humans for Rights Network
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Jesuit Refugee Service UK
JustRight Scotland
Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN)
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
Migrant Democracy Project
Migrants Organise
Open Rights Group
Our Second Home
Pan-African Workers’ Association (PAWA)
Racial Justice Network
Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
Refugee Action
Safe Passage International
STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
Student Action for Refugees
Ubuntu Women Shelter
Voices in Exile
West London Welcome
The William Gomes Podcast
Women for Refugee Women

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