Medway Green Party members attend Medway City of Sanctuary launch

Medway Green Party members were among a strong attendance to the launch of Medway City of Sanctuary held at the Salvation Army Hall in Gillingham..

Medway City of Sanctuary is part of a growing movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome in towns across the UK, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.  Speakers at the Medway launch included Vince Maple, Leader of the Labour Group on Medway Council and Captain Haris Giannaros of the Salvation Army. The launch was organised by Stephen Goldbrough who stood as an independent in the Rochester and Strood by-election a year ago.

Medway Green Party comment:
“We welcome Stephen Goldbrough’s initiative and would urge all of our local politicians, councillors, members of other organisations, and local people to follow the lead of Medway City of Sanctuary in working towards ensuring that Medway is truly a welcoming and safe haven.

“A first step would be for Medway Council to join 22 other councils in signing up to the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. This is a central government funded project which provides five years humanitarian protection.  Not only would this be of enormous benefit to the individuals supported by the scheme, it would also help to challenge an image, fueled by the media, and encouraged by other parties in the Rochester and Strood  by-election, that Medway is an area where xenophobia is tolerated and rife.

“During the by-election, the Green Party was the only main party speaking out against the anti-immigration sentiment.  Our candidate and other members also attended the huge anti-racist protest, held in Rochester, against Britain First, which made it clear that the people of Medway will not tolerate far right extremism in our towns.

“Since the by-election the refugee humanitarian crisis, largely as a result of the conflict in Syria, has escalated to huge proportions. No one can fail to be moved by the tragedy of so many desperate people being forced to flee their homes, only to be rejected when they seek help.

“The least we can do is to create an environment where the people who reach our towns are greeted with kindness and offered support”.

Medway City of Sanctuary will be holding a second welcome meeting on 3rd November  2015 (venue to be announced).  Further information can be found on their website https://medway.cityofsanctuary.org/

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