MORE THAN a hundred people attended a rally in Bradford earlier this week to "show solidarity" with refugees and campaign against a new government bill.

The Together With Refugees rally was a peaceful protest against the Nationality and Borders Bill, held in City Park on Wednesday.

The objectives of the bill, which is at the committee stage, is to "make the asylum system fairer", to "deter illegal entry to the UK" and to "remove people with no right to be in the country".

The new rules would mean that all those who claim asylum after arriving in the UK through an irregular route would face removal to a third country, with their asylum claim only progressing if removal is not possible.

People who arrive irregularly who go on to be granted refugee status would only receive temporary protection, with reduced rights and entitlements.

The vast majority of people who claim asylum are unable to access ‘regular’ routes, Together With Refugees argued, with their only option being to enter 'irregularly' - for example, by boat or in the back of a lorry.

The Refugee Convention makes it clear that people should not be penalised for entering a country irregularly for the purposes of claiming asylum, Together With Refugees added.

The bill has been described by some as "anti-refugee", and has been condemned by the UNHCR and Amnesty International.

The protest in Bradford was organised by Bradford City of Sanctuary, in partnership with national charity Asylum Matters, and took place as part of a 'week of action' by Together With Refugees. Other local organisations - including BIASAN, the Racial Justice Network and AROUK - were also involved.

Will Sutcliffe, Chair of Bradford City of Sanctuary, said: “Bradford has a proud history, going back to the arrival of Huguenots in the city in the 17th century, of welcoming those fleeing unimaginable suffering in their own lands.

"This legislation will criminalise those seeking sanctuary in the UK from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen”, he added.

One of the speakers at the rally was 16-year-old Rabea Sultana, who is of the Rohingya ethnic group - described as "one of the most persecuted minorities in the world" by the UN - and arrived in Bradford at the age of three.

Rabea recently finished her GCSEs, and has since gone on to study English language, history and law at sixth form.

Speaking at the event, she asked “what will become of refugees around the world if we set this precedent?" and warned of the destruction of "our treasured British values of justice and human rights" if the bill is passed.

Mohammed Amin, co-founder and international director of Bradford charity AROUK, also argued that the bill is "unfair" to those who are “in fear for their lives and have nowhere to go".

"Local organisations have come together in Bradford to show solidarity with refugees”, said Amin, who is also Rohingya, and grew up in a refugee camp in Bangladesh before moving to Bradford in 2012.

“Refugees should be welcome here in the UK - they have always been a part of British society", he added.

To find out more about Together With Refugees, visit