To read the full issue brief click here
A Safe Haven
Devon’s Response to the Refugee Crisis
Devon has long welcomed refugees. In the 1680s, thousands of Huguenots fleeing persecution in Catholic France found generous hospitality and a new start in life when they reached our county’s harbour towns after a perilous sea crossing.
“The good people of Barnstaple were full of compassion; they took us into their houses and treated us with the greatest kindness.”
Jacques Fontaine, Huguenot refugee, in Mémoires d’une Famille.
Devonians have responded no less compassionately to today’s refugee crisis. All over the county, groups of local people have self-organised to prepare a welcome for new arrivals, offer practical support and put pressure on our politicians to do more.
Yet many Devonians also feel confused, even conflicted, about this crisis. Who are the refugees and why do they need to come here? Won’t letting some in encourage more to come? And won’t they be a burden on the taxpayer? What is our government doing and could or should it do more? Above all, what can I do that will make a difference? These are the questions addressed by this brief, co-published by Refugee Support Devon and Exeter City of Sanctuary.
A deepening crisis – facts and figures, causes, and the UK’s response p.3
Demystifying the system – how the UK’s asylum system operates p.5
Asylum seekers and refugees in Devon – the support already available and what more needs to be done p.6
How you can make a difference – through volunteering, fund raising and advocacy p.8