Brighton and Hove mayor to hold reception for refugees

Posted On 02 May 2012 at 12:15 am

About 20 people who arrived in Brighton and Hove as refugees six years ago have been invited to a reception at Brighton Town Hall today (Wednesday 2 May).

They were among a group of 79 who fled Ethiopia in 2006, having been in hiding or living in a refugee camp in Kenya until their safe passage to Britain was arranged.

The group, which included children and infants, came to the Sussex coast after the United Nations approached Brighton and Hove City Council as part of a refugee resettlement programme.

Mayor Anne Meadows

The mayoral reception marks the fact that they are now able to apply for British citizenship.

They are due to be joined by some of the people who contributed to the humanitarian effort to save them including a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The council said that since they had come to Brighton and Hove the refugees had studied English and many had found work in the area.

They have also set up a community association to mix with each other – as members of the Oromo ethnic group – and to mix with others in Brighton and Hove.

The council said that setting up the association had helped them to deal with the traumatic effects of their past experiences fleeing their homes and their homeland. It had also helped to reduce the isolation of settling in a new country.

Specialist teaching staff had enabled many of the children to do well at school and to move on to further study.

The mayor, Councillor Anne Meadows, and the leader of the council, Bill Randall, will welcome the group.

Councillor Randall said: “The refugees have shared experiences that thankfully most of us will never go through.

“In fear of their lives because of their ethnicity or their political views, they were forced to flee their homeland.

“The city is proud to have offered them a safe place to stay, a welcome into our community and the opportunity of a new start.”

Zilla Bowell, the UK Border Agency director of asylum, said: “The UK has a proud tradition of offering protection to those who need it.

“The Gateway Protection Programme demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ global effort to provide lasting solutions to the plight of refugees and sharing the refugee burden.

“Nationally, we have committed to resettle a total of 750 refugees in 2012-13.”



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