Politics

Suella Braverman given advent calendar calling for compassionate asylum system

‘Shortage of safe and legal routes’ for migrants, Suella Braverman told by …

Following widespread criticism of Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s treatment of those seeking asylum in the UK, she has today been delivered an advent calendar highlighting the hopes and dreams of the very migrants she has been accused of demonising.

The calendar, titled One Strong Dream, was created in response to the Home Secretary's professed “dream” to see refugees deported to Rwanda by Christmas. It has been issued to urge political leaders to scrap the current Rwanda Plan in favour of a fair and compassionate asylum system.

The alternative calendar was created by One Strong Voice, a network of campaigners with lived experience of the UK’s immigration and asylum system, and activist ice cream company, Ben & Jerry’s.

But, rather than containing a sweet treat, the calendar counts down the festive season with the dreams and experiences of people seeking safety in the UK – in addition to the shared dreams of One Strong Voice members.

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Themes of healing, compassion, safety and welcome are prevalent and serve to further highlight the hostile and demonising sentiment expressed by Braverman who recently described immigration as an “invasion on our Southern coasts”.

Ben & Jerry's/One Strong Dream

Lydia, whose dream is shared behind door number 1, said: “My dream is for all refugee children fleeing persecution and danger to find comfort and warmth when they arrive.”

Behind door number 21, Natasha shared: “I dream of an immigration system that is designed to treat me as an individual, one that examines my claim fairly, instead of one that leaves me in limbo for years.”

The calendar is being delivered to Braverman, as well as the Minister for Immigration, Robert Jenrick, to encourage decision-makers to acknowledge the lived experiences, rights, and humanity of refugees.

It is hoped they will reconsider their hostile policies and instead create a fair and efficient asylum system which supports people to rebuild their lives.

The doors of the advent calendar will be opened and shared daily on the Ben & Jerry's UK Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Cat Baron, Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry’s, said: “We created the One Strong Dream calendar to draw attention to the hopes and dreams of people affected by the Government's hostile asylum and immigration policies.

“Sometimes, it’s easier to talk about difficult issues in a digestible way, and this advent calendar intends to do just that. We hope the dreams behind each door will inspire the Home Office to introduce more compassionate policies, finally kick the Rwanda Plan to the curb and instead support people seeking safety to rebuild their lives in our communities.”

Mishka, a One Strong Voice spokesperson, said: “We will continue to use every resource we have to stop the Government’s proposed Rwanda Plan. After success in recent campaigns, one which saw the main airline involved in the deportation of refugees withdraw, we’re now collaborating with Ben & Jerry’s to call attention to the ongoing stark realities that people seeking asylum are facing.”

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