Friday, March 12, 2010

A message from CITIZENS for Sanctuary Get your Parliamentary Candidate to sign the sanctuary pledge..

Dear all,

Have you asked your Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to sign the Sanctuary Pledge yet?

CITIZENS for Sanctuary has brought together an alliance of 13 organisations - including the Church of England, Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Chief Rabbi and the Muslim Council of Britain - representing 7 million people across the UK, to back the Sanctuary Pledge at the 2010 election.

Our aim is simple. Building on the recommendations of the Independent Asylum Commission, we want Prospective Parliamentary Candidates from all the main parties across the country to sign up to the Sanctuary Pledge. The Sanctuary Pledge commits our politicians to celebrating the UK’s history and current role as a place of sanctuary for people fleeing persecution. It calls on them to campaign responsibly and not to pander to fear and prejudice. And it calls for a small but significant policy change – an end to the locking up of innocent children.

A time of huge opportunity for change

This is a time of huge opportunity. For the next few months, in the immediate run-up to the election, the balance of power between the politicians and the people radically alters in our favour. The past decade has not been a good one for those of us who care about the treatment of people who seek sanctuary in the UK. Now, as the polls tighten and the prospect of a hung parliament looms, the politicians become ever more desperate for our votes. Now is our opportunity.

That is why, over the past few months, we have trained hundreds of people in constituencies across the UK to negotiate with their parliamentary candidates to support the Sanctuary Pledge. If we can get delegations of citizens who care about this issue to meet with their candidates in the 200 battleground constituencies that matter to the political parties, then the pressure to end child detention will be impossible to resist. Which of the political parties is going to want local citizens publicly asking their candidate ‘You don’t back the Sanctuary Pledge? So why is it that you want to lock up innocent children?’ in the 200 most important marginal constituencies across the UK? The good news is we have already identified Sanctuary Champions to ask that very question in 112 of those 200 constituencies – plus in lots of other constituencies that are not marginal but that add weight to the cause.

We need you to help us end child detention

Now we need you to get involved too. In the next few weeks a number of high profile figures will come out in support of the Sanctuary Pledge. Already in the past few weeks, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, plus a whole host of actors, authors, clergy and celebrities have called for an end to child detention in letters to national newspapers. But letters to the Guardian won’t end child detention – for that to happen we need you to nobble your local parliamentary candidates and increase the pressure on the parties centrally.

It really is very simple – we will tell you who your candidates are and their contact details, we’ll put you in touch with other like-minded folk in your area, and provide you with a Mobilisation Pack which will guide you through the process step-by-step. And we have experienced staff on stand-by to provide advice and support as needed. We are all busy, but it really is a minimal time commitment when you consider that a political opportunity like this occurs once in a generation.

Take action now

Time is running out – the election is likely to be on May 6th. So please, get involved and take action now. Be trained as a Sanctuary Organiser on March 20th in London: email for registration. Visit or email and we will get back to you with information about how to get involved in your area. And pass this email on to others you think might be interested.

Thank you to those of you who have already committed to supporting the Sanctuary Pledge – together our co-ordinated action across the country will bring success, and an end to the detention of children.

Best wishes,


Jonathan Cox
Lead Organiser
CITIZENS for Sanctuary
07919 484066

Use your power at the 2010
election to put a stop to the
locking up of innocent children.
I'm backing the Pledge.
Will you?

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