Campaign with STAR
STAR campaigns to improve conditions for asylum seekers and refugees through online actions, flashmobs, petitions, lobbying MPs and attention-grabbing stunts.
The STAR network is a national charity made up of 13,000 students across over 30 universities who campaign to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. With activists across a number of cities in England, Scotland and Wales, we are the biggest refugee rights campaigning network in Britain!
- STAR’s current campaigns
- Why campaign for refugees and asylum seekers?
- How does STAR campaign?
- Regional asylum activism
We’re in the middle of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, winter is coming and people fleeing their countries are more in need of our help than ever. 700,000 people have come to Europe by boat this year, with over 550,000 arriving in Greece alone. Countries like Greece are struggling to cope with the numbers of people arriving and some countries have built giant fences and closed their borders, leaving people stranded as they seek safety and protection.
More than 4 million Syrians have now fled their home country. But by September 2015 the UK had resettled only 216 people through their Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, and granted asylum to just 4,866 Syrian people since 2011. By contrast Germany is expected to take in up to one million refugees this year alone.
The UK’s commitment so far still amounts to only a tiny fraction of the people in desperate need. The resettlement programme will only take those from refugee camps and no one who is already in Europe. The UK must start taking its fair share of refugees. We must also make sure that the UK does what it can to stop people from dying while trying to reach Europe by making it easier for people to join family members here. This is where YOU can make a difference.
You could organise a mass letter writing session over lunchtime on campus, then pop them all in the post or take them to a meeting with your MP!
Students in the UK seeking refugee protection do not have the same right to university education as their British-born peers. As a student network, STAR believes that this is wrong and that we are uniquely placed to correct this injustice. STAR has partnered up with NUS on a campaign to ensure that asylum seekers have equal access to higher education.
STAR is working with over 60 organisations in the Still Human Still Here coalition to campaign for a fairer asylum system in which nobody is forced to live in poverty or destitution. Currently we are campaigning to ensure that asylum seeking families are provided with sufficient support and are not forced even further into poverty.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”, yet in recent years asylum seekers have faced increasingly harsh treatment in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The process for claiming asylum is difficult and frightening.
Most asylum seekers are not allowed to work and must live on 50% of the Income Support British citizens are entitled to. They also face the threat of indefinite detention. Around 10,000 asylum seekers were locked up last year including 100 children. Many people who are refused asylum live in limbo, destitute and with no safe route home.
Students seeking refugee protection must pay overseas fees at most universities and are not eligible for student finance.
The STAR network believes this is wrong. We are working hard to challenge these policies and campaign for a future where refugees receive a warmer welcome.
STAR Groups Campaigning Together – Making our voice heard
STAR is made up of thousands of committed and creative student activists calling for a change to the policies and laws which damage the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.
Campaigning for change requires a clear message given in a clear voice. To ensure our voice is heard STAR members campaign together through the STAR network, co-ordinated and supported by the STAR National team.
We focus on a few important topics so that our message is heard clearly. STAR members decide which issues to campaign on through consultations convened by the STAR National team.
Campaigning Partnerships – Making our actions count
STAR is part of a wider movement of activists working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK.
By working together we can make an even bigger difference, so STAR works closely with our friends including: Detention Action, Refugee Action, Still Human Still Here, Amnesty UK, Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) and National Union of Students (NUS).
This means that STAR members become part of something bigger and can time and theme their campaign actions to make the greatest impact!
Campaigning is STAR’s highest profile activity in the public eye. To be effective it is important to maintain clear and focused messages. As a charity STAR also has a legal responsibility to campaign only on those issues that are stated as our charitable objectives.
If your STAR group is planning a campaign not supported by the STAR network it is important that you discuss this with the STAR National team first.
In 2012 STAR launched Regional Asylum Activism. Three dedicated campaigners in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and North East regions are working with local communities to inform and change attitudes and campaign for positive change to the asylum system.
Find out more about the Regional Asylum Activism Project here.