Samphire

Changing attitudes to, and improving the lives of, ex-detainees and migrant communities

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Samphire held a discussion event – Facts Over Fear – in Dover on 24 September 2015

St Mary’s hall in Dover was filled for Samphire’s discussion event: Facts Over Fear. Here’s a summary for those who missed it.
Facts Over Fear
Samphire 2014-15We kicked off the evening talking what Samphire has been up to in the last year, all of which can be found in our annual report. We discussed Samphire’s success despite working in the hostile environment amidst legal aid cuts which make it increasingly hard for our clients to get the help they need, as well as dividing our communities. We have seen the continued detention of children and mentally ill people and many people detained for months and years.

We were also excited about getting our clients involved in our outreach session and in the creation of our film: Voices After Detention. This year we also involved the local community involved through our event Against the Tide: Sharing Positive Perspectives on Migration where we gave out our Migration Facts Leaflet and Poster.
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Fears and hopes

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council talked about his fear of some of the developments over the last year, including the new Immigration Bill which further extends the hostile environment policies. This was combined with continued loss of confidence in the political process from which only extremists would benefit. He also talked of misleading and aggressive language – including the Prime Minister’s dehumanising reference to refugees as a ‘swarm’.


However, he also gave cause for optimism. This year saw the end of the Detained Fast Track as well as the publication of the cross-party Detention Inquiry report which recommended a 28 day time limit on detention. We also saw a grass-roots movement to welcome those in need. Public pressure led to the government finally increasing its resettlement of Syrians and people across the country joined the City of Sanctuary movement. The challenge ahead will be building on these movements and continuing the positive momentum of the last year.
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Dover discussed immigration

Facts Over Fear - Discussion

We ended the night with a discussion sparked by questions from our audience.

        • We discussed the impact of the refugee crisis on our work, where this summer Dover detention centre lay half-empty while newspapers and politicians created fear of Britain being overwhelmed.
        • We discussed the real possibility of a time limit on detention – our current system is inhumane and encourages laziness in both immigration officers and policymakers. Check out Unlocking Detention to find out more.
        • There was support for restarting the multi-cultural festival in Dover to bring the local community together.
        • Most of all we saw that the Dover community working together has the power to bring about positive change.

Fraser Paterson, Detention Support Project Manager at Samphire, said:

“Reading the papers it’s easy to assume that everyone in Dover has a negative view of refugees and migrants. However, this event has shown that there are people in the local area who are willing to think critically about what they read and are willing to push for a British society with sanctuary and humanity at its core rather than fear”

Following on from Samphire’s Against the Tide event in April it really energised everyone to hear so many local people engaged in a positive discussion about migration and refugees.
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The evening was organised in coordination with Music for Change – with Magga Tiempo providing the music.
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The young people of Kent Refugee Action Network provided some amazing food.  If you liked the food you can buy their recipe book.
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