Refugee Week Wales
Refugee Week Wales- a time to celebrate the contribution and respect the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales
Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourage a better understanding between communities. It aims to deliver positive, educational messages to counter some of the fears, ignorance and negative stereotypes about the reasons why people seek sanctuary.
At times of austerity, it is more important than ever to counter the pervasive negative construction of asylum seekers and refugees as somehow responsible for all society’s ills. Yet an ideologically driven erosion of human rights, and politicisation of the most vulnerable; as ‘scroungers’ ‘undeserving’ and ‘lazy’- as articulated by the UK Government – has seen a frightening rise in hate crime against a range of social out groups. We may ‘all be in it together’ but the rhetoric below this is damaging and threatening to the individuals concerned, and the very fabric of the communities we live in.
In contrast, the Welsh Government has taken an inclusive and humanitarian approach to the care and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Wales- which has received cross-party support. Wales has a proud history of being a great place of sanctuary and welcome, to those fleeing their homeland due to many forms of persecution. However, the discourse migrating from the UK Government continues to penetrate Welsh communities- leaving asylum seekers and refugees as one of the most hidden, misunderstood and socially stigmatized groups of people in Wales. In spite of these attitudes; the talent, gratitude and ability to survive and overcome unimaginable life-circumstances can be seen in the contribution, which refugees and asylum seekers make to Welsh society. Refugee Week Wales is an opportunity to celebrate these inspirational and deeply moving contributions and re-focus the spotlight onto positive life-changing stories for individuals and communities in Wales.
“We are very excited about the events for Refugee Week Wales, which we believe will help bring us one step closer to raising awareness about people’s right to asylum and the positive contribution asylum seekers and refugees can bring to Wales. These events are not only for celebration purposes but form the relationship between changing perceptions, which can ultimately lead to changes in thinking and behaviour”. Mike Lewis, CEO of the Welsh Refugee Council
This year, we will be celebrating the spirit of welcome and inclusion in Wales throughout Refugee Week, from June 18th – 24th, 2012 – at events across Wales. A more diverse and interesting programme would be difficult to find as the week’s activities will take participants via political and social commentary; to cultural dances, music, food and art; inspiring stories of courage in the face of adversity- and family fun days. Plus, thanks to the support of a range of partners and advocates for refugee and asylum seekers rights – all events are free!!!
So what are you waiting for – take up the invite, challenge your perceptions and join in this year’s Refugee Week activities.
All Refugee Week Wales events are coordinated by the Welsh Refugee Council in partnership with many sector organisations, refugee community organisations, artistic and cultural establishments, Local Authorities and Welsh Government.
for more information on the activities going on click here
Daisy Cole is Head of Influencing, PR and Child Policy
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