GLA funded ‘Breakfast, Walk, Learn British History’ project begins with twenty youths exploring human rights, art, and critical thinking experiences. The ‘Breakfast, Walk, Learn British History’ project, which we have realised with the funding provided by the Greater London Authority, has started. 20 young people met at the HRS Office on 28 October and started the programme with a great breakfast. The young people had the opportunity to get to know each other during breakfast and had useful discussions at the seminar on human rights. Afterwards, the young people visited the National Portrait Gallery, where they had the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation about art.
Category: Immigration Committee
Winning cartoons from ‘2nd Int’l Migration Cartoons Competition’ by HRS and Time to Help UK exhibited in London’s key locations. The winning works of the ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) and Time to Help UK were exhibited in important centres of London. 20 of the works titled ‘Humanity Cartoons’ were presented to the attention of the public in an interactive open-air exhibition held one week apart, first in Pancras Square and then in Trafalgar Square.
The exhibition, which drew attention to one of the most important agendas of the world, migration and immigration, remained in the square for more than 2 hours each. HRS and Time to Help volunteers explained the problems faced by refugees and migrants to the crowd viewing the exhibition and answered questions.
Each of the works emphasises the reasons why migrants leave their countries, the difficult conditions they are in and the human rights violations they are exposed to. They also criticise countries and institutions that make the lives of migrants more difficult instead of trying to solve the problems.
Our statement about the exhibition titled ‘Humanity Cartoons’ is as follows:
Humanity Cartoons is a joint project of Time to Help and Human Rights Solidarity. These are two registered charities in England and Wales. Time to Help is active in humanitarian aid; and Human Rights Solidarity works on human rights. Immigration and asylum is an issue where these two areas of charitable work come together.
Immigration and asylum are among the most important topics of discussion in the world today. The migration flow from East to West and from South to North is growing exponentially every year. Last year, approximately 80.000 people have applied for asylum in the UK. According to a UN report, more than 108 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2022.
This mobility brings with it economic, social and political problems. People who leave their countries at the risk of death face brand new problems in the countries they think of as ‘safe harbours’. Some are arrested, some deported and yet others lose their mental health within years of uncertainty imposed on them.
By using the language of art, we want to raise social awareness about this vital issue and contribute to the solution of this human tragedy. For this purpose, 768 artists from many countries submitted 1,278 works to the cartoon competition on ‘migration and immigration’. The wonderful cartoons you see here have been selected from these drawings.
Each of the works emphasises the reasons why migrants leave their countries, the difficult conditions they live in and the human rights violations they are exposed to. As people living in peace and prosperity, we have to think about them. Like every human being, they have the right to live freely. We should extend all kinds of helping hands to them and create the safe living conditions they need. The United Kingdom must be welcoming refugees.
The winning entries of the ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by HRS and Time to Help are on display. On Friday 8 September, 25 of the cartoons we call ‘Humanity Cartoons’ will be presented to the public at Pancras Square in London. You can see the cartoons drawn by important artists from different countries between 3.00-5.00 PM. The same exhibition will be on display in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 17 September.
These cartoons draw attention to the issue of ‘immigration’, which is among the most important agendas of the world, and aim to raise awareness about the violations of rights.
There are many migrants living in the UK and the number of asylum applications to the country is increasing every day. People who are looking for a safe place just to survive and who leave their countries at the risk of death face very serious difficulties.
As people living in peace and prosperity, we cannot ignore these migrants in difficult situations. Like every human being, they have the right to live and work. Being aware of this, we should extend a helping hand to migrants and provide the safe living conditions they seek.
With these feelings, we invite you to see the cartoons that illustrate the difficulties of migrants very well and to think about the solution of the problems.
Meet us at Pancras Square on Friday at 3.00pm.
‘Have Breakfast and Learn British History’ project, which we will realise with funding from Greater London Authority, starts this month. This activity, which is implemented within the scope of ‘Community Support and Integration Project’, includes asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and will start in August 2023.
Welcome to the ‘Breakfast, Walk and Learn British History’ project, a transformative initiative under the GLA Building Strong Communities Programme.
Our goal is to provide asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants in Greater London, who face financial hardship and social isolation due to the high cost of living, with an enriching and inclusive experience.
Project Ambition: The overarching ambition of this project is to support and integrate asylum seekers and refugees in Greater London, empowering them to overcome challenges associated with social isolation and financial constraints. We aim to create a warm and welcoming environment in central London, where participants can have a nutritious breakfast, engage in social interactions with their peers, and delve into the rich tapestry of British history. By fostering a sense of community and enhancing their understanding of the country they now call home, we aspire to facilitate personal and social development among the participants.
Significance to Our Organization: At our organization, we believe in providing equal opportunities for personal growth and social development to all members of society, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. We recognize that asylum seekers and refugees often face unique hardships when adapting to a new culture, language, and way of life. Through this project, we aim to mitigate some of their challenges by offering a safe, inclusive, and educational space for learning and social connection.
Inspiration and Development: The idea for “Breakfast, Walk and Learn British History” originated from conversations with members of the local immigrant communities who expressed their desire for more opportunities to socialize and learn about their new home. Financial constraints often hinder asylum seekers and refugees from participating in regular activities, leading to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation. We identified the need for an accessible and low-cost initiative that brings people together and fosters a sense of community.
Project Activities: The “Breakfast, Walk, and Learn British History” project will unfold over ten months and will consist of the following activities:
1. Monthly 2-hour Breakfast Sessions and Community Gathering: These sessions will provide participants with a nutritious breakfast and a welcoming environment for socializing and connecting with others.
2. Monthly 3-hour Talk, Regular Guided Walks in the Local Area, and Learning Sessions about British History: Engaging and interactive sessions will delve into the historical, cultural, and social aspects of Britain, fostering curiosity and encouraging active participation. Participants will have the opportunity to explore their surroundings, engage in physical activity, and connect with nature.
- Date: Last Saturday of the month (August 26th)
- Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Venue: HRS Headquarter @ Trafalgar Square
- Date: Last Saturday of the month (September 30th)
- Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Venue: HRS Headquarter @ Trafalgar Square
- Date: Last Saturday of the month (October 28th)
- Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Venue: HRS Headquarter @ Trafalgar Square
And so on for the next 7 months until June 2024, following the same pattern of the last Saturday of every month.
- Date: Last Saturday of the month (May 25th)
- Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Venue: HRS Headquarter @ Trafalgar Square
Please note that the dates are subject to adjustments based on public holidays or unforeseen circumstances. The project will run for a total of 10 months, concluding in May 2024, providing consistent opportunities for asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants to benefit from this enriching experience and support their integration into the Greater London community.
Join us on this journey of empowerment and integration! Together, we can build stronger communities and foster a sense of belonging for all individuals in Greater London. Let’s make a positive impact on the lives of those who need it the most.
Project Registration: “Breakfast, Walk and Learn British History”
Who can apply?
You may be eligible to participate in the “Breakfast, Walk and Learn British History” project if the following criteria apply:
- Residency in London: Applicants must be residents of Greater London and able to provide valid address proof as evidence of their London residence.
- Immigrant Status: Individuals with immigrant status, including dependents, asylum seekers, refugees, visa holders, or those with other approved pathways, are welcome to apply.
Our free basketball school we organised with the aim of making the lives of immigrant and refugee youth easier begins. The basketball school, which we initiated in order to facilitate the lives of migrant and refugee youth and contribute to their adaptation to the country, is starting. ‘Hoops for Hope: Empowering Refugee and Immigrant Youth Through Basketball’, we will provide basketball courses to 100 immigrant youth living in London for 10 months.
The project will start in July 2023 and end in May 2024, during which time participating young people will receive basketball training at least twice a month. 2-day basketball camp will be organised during the Human Rights week in December. All trainees will be offered meals on training days. In addition, travelling expenses and sportswear will be provided for a certain number of students who cannot afford it.
Hoops for Hope: Empowering Refugee and Immigrant Youth Through Basketball is a new project aimed at supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged youth immigrants living in Greater London. Our focus is on providing basketball sessions that will help them to overcome barriers to accessing relevant services, reducing social isolation, and improving their physical and mental well-being.
We have extensive experience working with immigrant communities and have observed that many youth immigrants are struggling with a lack of social interaction and sports activities, resulting in social isolation and health problems. Many of them are also facing financial constraints or a lack of connection with their community, which limits their ability to access relevant services and opportunities.
We have been helping vulnerable and poor asylum seekers and immigrants who contacted us to seek help upon their advocacy, community and social needs, and legal process. We observe that many immigrant youth are struggling with a lack of social interaction and sports activities. As a result, many are experiencing social isolation and health problems. We are receiving inquiries from their parents who would like to have opportunities for engaging in social activities such as sports and social gathering.
The project will run for 10 months starting in July 2023 and will consist of supervised basketball sessions and two intensive basketball camps during refugee and human rights weeks. Our focus is on serving youth immigrants from Greater London, especially those living in highly populated, diverse, deprived, and multi-religious parts of Enfield, Westminster, Haringey, Harrow, Barnet, and Brent.
The beneficiaries of our project will be youth immigrants who are facing social and economic challenges, including a lack of access to relevant services and opportunities for social interaction and sports activities. By participating in our basketball sessions, these youth immigrants will have the opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being, make friends, and become more engaged with their local community.
The impact of our project will be significant, as it will help to reduce existing structural inequalities and future social issues for immigrant communities. By providing a safe and supportive environment for youth immigrants to participate in basketball, we aim to improve their self-esteem, confidence, and social skills, which will have positive ripple effects in their personal and professional lives.
Through this project, we also aim to promote social inclusion and foster a sense of community among youth immigrants living in Greater London. By connecting them with each other and with local resources, we hope to help them feel more integrated and supported, thus contributing to a more cohesive and resilient society.
Project Registration: “Hoops for Hope: Empowering Immigrant Youth Through Basketball
Court of Appeal, reviewing the Supreme Court’s judgement, ruled that the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was illegal. The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that it is illegal to send illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda. Two of the three judges ruled in favour of this, while the other defended the Supreme Court’s ruling that Rwanda is a safe third country.
In December 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that the government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda without assessing their asylum applications was lawful.
The Court of Appeal overturned the previous ruling on 29 June, ruling that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful unless the country’s asylum system was changed, the BBC reported.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented after the judgement: “While I respect the court, I fundamentally disagree with its conclusions. Rwanda is a safe country. The Supreme Court has recognised this. UNHCR has its own refugee plan for Libyan refugees in Rwanda. We will now ask for permission to appeal this decision.”
In the coming process, the ministers are expected to appeal the judgement at the Supreme Court.
In its judgement, the Court of Appeal said there was a “serious risk” that if the asylum seekers were sent to Rwanda, they would be returned to their home country and face persecution and ill-treatment there. Rwanda was thus ruled not to be a safe third country.
Supporters of the appeal against the Supreme Court ruling include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), human rights lawyers, civil society organisations and a group of asylum seekers.
UNHCR, which attended the hearing, said Rwanda had committed various human rights violations against asylum seekers within its borders. These include forced return to countries where they are at risk, deportation and arbitrary detention.
Ten asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Sudan and Albania who crossed the English Channel in small boats from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Sudan and Albania were among those who, together with the charity Asylum Aid, appealed the Supreme Court ruling.
Asylum Aid said the latest judgement ‘confirms the rule of law and the importance of justice’. “We are pleased that the court has ruled that the deportation process in Rwanda was unlawful on security grounds,” said Tessa Gregory, partner at law firm Leigh Day, which represented Asylum Aid. The human rights organisation Freedom From Torture called the ruling “a victory for reason and compassion”.
The Rwandan government argued that it was “one of the safest countries in the world” and was known for its “exemplary treatment of refugees”.
The judges who delivered the judgement said they agreed that the Rwandan government had given these assurances ‘in good faith’.
Members of the activist group United Bridges and some Human Rights Solidarity volunteers marched for refugee rights on 24 June. The event, organised as part of Refugee Week, started in Battersea Park in London and continued for around 15 miles along the Thames Path, ending at Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
Batuhan Karakus from the march team commented on the protest as follows:
The March for Human Rights, held on 24 June 2023, was a transformative event that brought together people from diverse backgrounds to advocate for refugee rights and promote solidarity. The event allowed us to engage in meaningful conversations about human rights, artificial intelligence, and child development. Throughout the march, we listened to first-hand accounts of courage and resilience from refugees, which deepened our understanding of their challenges.
Discussions on the intersection of human rights and artificial intelligence provided valuable insights into how we can harness AI for the betterment of society while safeguarding human dignity and equality. The march’s success was measured not only by the number of participants but also by the impact it had on raising awareness and fostering empathy.
We are committed to continuing this vital work and invite everyone to join us in our efforts to create a world where human rights are protected, and every individual is valued and respected.
Thank you for being part of this inspiring journey.
Migrant-filled boat, heading to Italy from the shores of Libya, sank on Wednesday off the coast of Pylos in Greece. Once again, the Aegean Sea witnessed a major humanitarian tragedy. A migrant-filled boat, heading to Italy from the shores of Libya, sank on Wednesday off the coast of Pylos in southwestern Greece.
As of Friday, 78 bodies have been recovered from the sea, and 104 people have been rescued. Hundreds of people are still missing. The survivors were taken to the city of Kalamata and most of them are receiving treatment in hospitals.
It is estimated that around 100 children and a total of 750 people, mostly in their twenties and male, were on board the boat. News sources indicate that the migrants were mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. Greece declared three days of mourning following the tragedy.
The easiest and at the same time most painful thing is to cry and mourn for innocent people after their deaths. So, who is responsible for so many deaths? In one word, all of us! However, the main reason for this tragedy is the failure of European countries to build safe passage routes. Or it is the unsafety and impossibility of the existing routes.
With the current conditions and the technological capabilities possessed by governments, these people should never have put their lives at risk in this way. People fleeing from war, torture, and persecution should be able to reach a safe place for themselves and their families without endangering their lives.
The United Kingdom, like other European countries, should learn from this incident and abandon hate speech and divisive policies.
Greek television announced that 9 people, including Egyptians, were detained on charges of “human trafficking” related to the incident. According to allegations, the boat departed from Egypt empty of passengers and picked up migrants in the port of Tobruk in Libya with the intention of heading to Italy.
The disaster occurred after the captain and crew abandoned the boat, which had a malfunctioning engine, on a dinghy. Greek authorities established contact with those on board. The individuals on the boat stated that they did not need anything other than water and food and that they wanted to proceed to Italy. However, the boat capsized and sank at 02:04 local time.
The Pylos Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into the accident, and initial findings indicate that the boat was overcrowded beyond its capacity and that the migrants were piled up on the deck.”
We look forward to welcoming you to the march for refugee rights on 24 June with our partner United Bridges. Join us for an empowering march along the Thames Path, advocating for human and refugee rights on the 24th of June 2023 in London during Refugee Week.
The march begins at 10 am at the Peace Pagoda, a symbol of peace and harmony in Battersea Park.
We have a limited space for 40 participants, so don’t forget to register for this transformative march as we strive for a world where every individual’s rights are respected. Together, we can make a difference.
For more information about the march, please click here: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/event/march-for-human-rights/
If you want to participate in the march, click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-for-human-rights-tickets-654034584047
The ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by Time to Help UK, one of our solution partners, has been concluded. The first 6 works that ranked in the competition with cash prizes were announced on the website named ‘Humanity Cartoons’ (www.humanitycartoons.com). The website also featured the top 20 winning works.
The owners and countries of the first 6 cartoons selected by the jury consisting of Kianoush Ramezani, Christina Sifianou, Fawzy Morsy, Safaa Odah are as follows: Gustavo Fernando Caballero Talavera (Mexico), Ali Miraee (Iran), Vladimir Pavlik (Slovakia), Luc Descheemaeker (Belgium), Hamit Gış (Turkey), Alireza Pakdel (Iran). A total of USD 3,300 will be awarded to these artists.
In addition to the winning cartoons, 100 works that passed the first evaluation stage are planned to be exhibited in the UK and other European countries. Starting on 20 June, the Refugees Week will be organised in two different ways: ‘travelling’ or ‘fixed’ exhibitions. Fixed exhibitions will be held in halls or galleries, while travelling exhibitions will be carried out by volunteers in the streets and squares of some big cities.
The competition, which was organised to draw attention to the ‘refugee problem’, which is among the most important agendas of the world, started on 1 March 2023 and ended on 15 May. During this period, 768 professional or amateur artists from many countries sent a total of 1,278 cartoons. Of the works drawn by the artists, 674 were found to meet the announced criteria of the competition. The 100 works presented to the selection of famous cartoonists were determined by a committee of experts.
The first one was organised by Kimse Yok Mu Association
The first edition of this contest was organised in 2016 by Kimse Yok Mu Association, a humanitarian aid organisation based in Turkey. Nearly 1,200 artworks from different countries participated in the contest, with Cuban cartoonist Hernandez Guerrero coming first, Constatin Pavel from Romania coming second and Italian Alessandro Gatto coming third. The 120 selected cartoons were to be exhibited in Athens, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, Cologne, Brussels and Paris. The first exhibition was opened in Athens, but the plan was left unfinished as Kimse Yok Mu Association was unlawfully shut down after the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The managers and employees of the association that organised the competition became refugees.
HRS, together with Time to Help UK, one of the partner organisations of Kimse Yok Mu Association in Europe, set out to complete the unfinished plan. Stating that they want to benefit from the power of the art of cartooning and at the same time support those working in this field, the organisation delegation explains their aim as follows: “We want to shed light on migration issues in general, the problems in the asylum and refugee integration systems of Western societies and contribute to a better understanding of the problems faced by migrant communities.”
Yusuf Kar: People leave their homeland to survive
Yusuf Kar, General Manager of Time to Help UK, stated that they see it as a historical responsibility and debt to continue such a meaningful project in an environment where the world is discussing asylum seekers. Reminding that nearly 100 million people have been displaced against their will, Kar said: “As an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to African and Asian countries, we are well aware of the conditions that lead to forced migration. As a last resort, people leave the land of their birth in order to sustain their lives. However, they are not welcomed in the countries they take refuge in for different reasons.” Emphasising that the problem carries the danger of growing even more, Kar said, “For a solution, the problem must first be recognised. We believe that the competition we organised will serve this purpose.”
Pointing out that they plan to exhibit 100 cartoons selected among the works participating in the competition in different centres of the world, Yusuf Kar said that they expect support from all institutions and groups that are sensitive to the issue. Reminding that they can share materials and ideas with those who want to open an exhibition, Kar asked those who are interested to contact them.
Hamza Mazlum: The most important problems are legal and administrative
Hamza Mazlum, Executive Director of Human Rights Solidarity, stated that ‘forced migration and refugees’ is one of the issues they focus on. Noting that hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers around the world are facing great problems, Mazlum reminded that international law has sufficient infrastructure to protect refugees and asylum seekers. Stating that the 1951 Geneva Convention and many other international texts and judicial decisions have clear and unambiguous provisions on the subject, Mazlum made the following assessment:
“However, in practice, states can ignore these rules and take very serious actions against the law. I think that since the interests of governments do not coincide with the rights of asylum seekers, the issue has completely turned into a struggle between civil society and states. In order to find a solution, the international community needs to defend the rights of asylum seekers as a whole. We are working with international organisations to overcome these problems, but the issue should also be well understood by civil society. I believe that the exhibition of the works of the cartoon contest in different centres will create an important awareness on this issue.”
Mazlum invited all organisations working in the field of human rights to establish a partnership to organise an exhibition for ‘Humanity Cartoons’. While emphasising that they can provide all kinds of support in this regard, he said that they are also open to making a joint programme.