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Our mini-exhibition, Have Heart, Take Heart, is made up of around 150 postcards displaying messages of support and solidarity for refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire, written and posted to us over the past month. Visitors will have the opportunity to contribute their own messages of solidarity to the wall, and to honour the spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention by showing that refugees are a core part of our community.

  • Location: The Upper Gallery at the Old Fire Station (40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ)

  • Dates: From Wednesday 28th July to Saturday 21st August

  • Times: the exhibition space is open 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday

The 28th July 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Convention was signed in 1951 by a group of nations that agreed to welcome people displaced by the events of the Second World War and its aftermath. In 1967, the Convention expanded to include all people fleeing persecution, and this has been the foundation of our asylum system ever since.

On Tuesday 20th June, however, the Nationality and Borders Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 366 votes to 265. This legislation, according tothe United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), violates the terms of the Refugee Convention, a convention which the UK helped to draft.

The government has also published their response to the consultation which proceeded this Bill, and to which Asylum Welcome contributed. While it is disappointing that no changes were implemented as a result of what some people are calling a ‘sham’ consultation, it is heartening that 75% of respondents expressed opposition to the government’s reforms. It is the voices of this 75% that we are amplifying through our mini-exhibition over the next three weeks.

The government has also published their response to the consultation which proceeded this Bill, and to which Asylum Welcome contributed. While it is disappointing that no changes were implemented as a result of what some people are calling a ‘sham’ consultation, it is heartening that 75% of respondents expressed opposition to the government’s reforms. It is the voices of this 75% that we are amplifying through our mini-exhibition over the next three weeks.

Thank you to those who have written one of these postcards, displayed an orange heart in your window, and/or contacted you MPs over the past few weeks. All of these actions contribute to creating a more welcoming atmosphere for refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire.

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