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Civic leaders will join forces with refugees and Bristol residents in a ‘Walk of Sanctuary to celebrate humanity and diversity’ through the city centre on International Human Rights Day, Saturday 10 December.

The two part event, organised by Bristol City of Sanctuary and local charity Bristol Refugee Rights, will start with a sanctuary walk at the Malcolm X  Centre in St Pauls at 11:30 reaching College Green at 1pm for music and speeches. The walk will be followed by a Public Meeting in City Hall during the afternoon.

Fr Richard McKay, Chair of Bristol City of Sanctuary says, “This walk will send out a clear message that Bristol is a City of Sanctuary and that we welcome refugees and asylum seekers in our beautiful city. We are walking to show welcome to those seeking sanctuary in our city. We are walking to join with other proud Bristolians to say that we are a city of diversity that treasures human rights.”

Among the civic and faith leaders speaking and joining the walk include Dr Timothy Chambers OBE– HM Vice Lord Lieutenant of the City of Bristol; Helen Wilde, High Sheriff of Bristol;  Revd Dr David Hoyle, The Dean, Bristol Cathedral; Cllr Claire-Campion Smith, Cabinet Member for People; Thangam Debbonaire  MP, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for Refugees; Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South West; Nigel Costley, TUC South West Regional  Secretary; Abdul Samad  Tariq, Vice Chair for Council of Bristol Mosques & Liaison officer for Islami Darasgah mosque ; Izzy Finlay and Holly Rooke , Co-President, University of Bristol Student Action for Refugees and Sanctuary seekers. The public are welcome to attend.

Immediately following the speeches on College Green, local charity Bristol Refugee Rights will host a public meeting in City Hall.

Beth Wilson, Director of Bristol Refugee Rights, a former asylum and human rights solicitor says, said, “This year our annual public meeting on international human rights day will focus on celebrating Bristol’s history of diversity.     Our members have experienced a spike in racist incidents since the Brexit vote in June 2016.  We invite the public to build a movement together to resist racism in Bristol.”

Speakers at the meeting will include local asylum seekers,  Professor Madge Dresser of the University of the West of England who will explain the history of Bristol as a city of migration.  Other speakers include Chai Patel of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Fizza Koreshi of Migrants Rights Network providing expert information on the recent legal changes affecting asylum seekers and other migrants.  The panel will include anti-racist groups who are campaigning for a better Bristol.


On Human Rights Day 2016, Saturday 10th December:

City of Sanctuary walk will meet at Malcolm X Community Centre at 11.30am

Speeches at the Tree of Sanctuary on College Green at 1.00pm

Public meeting from 2.15-5 pm (drinks/refreshments from 1.30pm) at Bristol City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR

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