Oxford Student Action for Refugees

News and Announcements

Last minute call for a protest

E-mail sent by Ellie Bates, Thursday, 11th February 2010 @ 5:57pm

Sorry for the short notice guys, but is really important if anyone has any time on their hands.
Ellie x

Protest in support of women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood – 12th February 2010

Yarl’s Wood detainees on hunger strike
Protest in support 2.30-4.30pm, this Friday 12 February

Serco Offices, 18-20 Hand Court (off High Holborn)

84 + Women on Hunger Strike, behind the Wire @ Yarl’s Wood IRC

End the Detention of Foreign Nationals Now!

Since the 5th of February 2010, we the residents at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are on hunger strike which involves over 84 + women, who are protesting against the period of time spent in detention and the treatment that they receive while being detained.

The strike was sparked to protest and demand that the frustration and humiliation of all foreign nationals ends now.

We are demanding the following actions

*Allow enough time and make resources available to residents who need to fully present their cases.

*To end all false allegations and misrepresentations by the UKBA regarding detainees in order to refuse bail or temporary admissions.

*Access to appropriate medical treatment and care as in the community, access to edible and well cooked food, phones with good mobile connections, with camera and recording facilities to back up cases.

*To stop the forceful removal and degrading system of deportation of detainees

*To put law into practise, European rules governing standard of conditions of detention for migrants and asylum seekers and the length of time in detention.

*The abolition of detention for asylum seeker and torture victims

*Detention should be by a standard procedure prescribed by law, authorised by judicial authority and be subjected to periodic judicial reviews.

*To end the detention of children and their mothers, rape survivors and other torture victims, to end the detention of physically, mentally sick people and pregnant women for long period of time.

*To end the separation of children from their mothers being detained whether in detention or destitution.

*To end the detention of women detention after serving time in prison.

* To abolish the fast track system, in order to give asylum seekers a fair chance with their application, while understanding the particular needs of victims of torture, and access to reliable legal representation which the fast track system denies.

*To end the repeat detention of women granted temporary admission while reporting or signing after a short period out of detention.

*To a set period of time allowed to detain women, which should be no longer than 1 month, while waiting decision either from UKBA or court proceedings.

* Finally instead of detention of foreign nationals, there are alternatives to detention stated by the *Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). ‘The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe ‘, Adopted on the 28th January 2010, extracts below.

Full Text: Council of Europe – Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1707 (2010)1
The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe

Please support our concerns, lobby your MPs, Councilors, MEPs, demanding our immediate release and an end to arbitrary detention.

With Thanks,
Women behind the Wire @ Yarl’s Wood IRC

Messages of support/solidarity to: WomenBehindTheWire@ncadc.org.uk

See also:
Yarl’s Wood women remain on hunger strike

Oxford Student Action for Refugees - Interviews or Focus Group for a Research Project

E-mail sent by AmandaCraig, Tuesday, 2nd February 2010 @ 8:01pm

Hello all,

I'm a student in the Forced Migration MSc program at Oxford, and as part of a group project this term, I'm wondering if any STAR members would be interested in participating in interviews or focus groups about about the proposed policy of active citizenship and refugees in the UK. Participating wouldn't require any knowledge whatsoever about the actual policy of active citizenship, as we're exploring some of the issues behind it, like the push towards British values, integration and concepts of citizenship. The group project is for our Research Methods class, but we may also publish our findings.

If anyone is interested in participating in either an interview or focus group in the next couple of weeks (ideally by week 6), please let me know! We'd be extremely grateful, partly in the form of tea and snacks. It would only require about an hour or less of your time, and we're entirely willing to work around your schedule, of course.

Many thanks!

[Oxford Student Action for Refugees]

E-mail sent by Ellie Bates, Wednesday, 27th January 2010 @ 6:05pm

Hi guys,

We are kicking off our equal access campaign in style this weekend. Come along to Hollywell street on Saturday at around 1.30pm for a really secret and special event! Not to be missed...

Welcome Back!

E-mail sent by Ellie Bates, Friday, 15th January 2010 @ 4:32pm

Hello everyone welcome back to a still slightly snowy Oxford and an action packed STAR term.

We are focusing on the Equal Access Campaign this term, putting pressure on Oxford University to remove barriers to higher education for asylum seekers living in Britain.

For more information see:

We have a committee meeting this Sunday (17th) at 5pm at the Mitre Pub on the high street to plan our events and campaign strategy for the term. It is an excellent opportunity to join the STAR team and get more involved in the planning and organization of events. We are a friendly bunch and our meetings are very informal (in a pub!) so please feel free to just turn up, have a drink and join in.

Hope to see loads of you on Sunday,



Commitee Meeting

  • Sunday, 24th January 2010 at 5pm - 5:30pm
    Location: The Mitre Pub

    Commitee Meeting, everyone welcome

[Oxford Student Action for Refugees]

E-mail sent by Ellie Bates, Wednesday, 18th November 2009 @ 1:47am


Hi Guys its been a busy week at STAR so there is a Mega email:

Meeting Sunday, Volunteering, Campsfield, Asylum Welcome...

E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Friday, 30th October 2009 @ 6:43pm

Dear STAR,

We will be meeting in the King's Arms pub at 5pm this Sunday (1st Nov). Please come and join us!

On the agenda this week...

Meeting on Monday (and Campaigning!)

E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Thursday, 15th October 2009 @ 10:27pm

Hello STAR people!

Thanks to those who signed up at the Freshers' Fair, and thanks also to all of you old-timers!

Lots of stuff in this week's email: lots of things to campaign about.

If you'd like to learn more, or want to get involved in volunteering or other action, please come to our first meeting on Monday. It'd be great to see you there.

Freshers' Fair and First Meeting!

E-mail sent by Shaan Gandhi, Monday, 5th October 2009 @ 11:51pm

Dear all,

Michaelmas term is upon us, which means STAR is back in business! We will be at Freshers' Fair (at Exam Schools) this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 4 pm - if you're free, e-mail shaan.gandhi@magd.ox.ac.uk to pick a time to help us at the stall (we'd love to have you!).

On a related note, watch this space for the time and place of our first meeting. Tentatively, it is scheduled for Monday of 2nd week (19 October) at 8:30 pm in the Old Law Library of Magdalen College, where we'll talk about our ideas for this term and hear from James Fisher from the National Office of STAR.

Enjoy 0th week!


Shaan Gandhi

ACTION: Help us stop cuts to asylum support!

E-mail sent by Shaan Gandhi, Wednesday, 30th September 2009 @ 6:52pm

Dear all,

I hope you have enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to starting the new year in a few weeks' time. I am writing to call your attention to the following news item regarding financial support for seekers of sanctuary. Please take a minute to register your opposition to the new Government policy.

Dear STARs,


We need your help!


It will take you only ONE minute to tell Alan Johnson not to cut asylum support. Together we can stop this!


Click here to take action:






The problem


The government has announced it will cut support to single asylum seekers over 25 years old to just £5 a day (£35.15 per week) from October.


People seeking asylum who start receiving support will have to manage on nearly £7 a week less than current rates– leaving them to survive on just a little more than 50% of standard income support rates.


We think this is too low to cover anything that an individual might need while waiting for a decision on their claim. 


Asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable impoverished groups in our society. They have often experienced unimaginable traumas, including torture, rape or other forms of violence, and have come to the UK with nothing. They deserve our help and compassion, not to be penalised.


Find out more




Shaan Gandhi


E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Friday, 19th June 2009 @ 3:54pm

Hello all -

It may be the end of the academic aear but it's not the end of Refugee Week!

Tomorrow (Saturday) you can get FREE cakes and drinks by just dropping into Bonn Square. Find STAR in New Road Baptist Church from 11 til 2, where you can hang out, listen to music, have a cuppa and find out more about refugee and asylum issues by just having a friendly chat.

Then head over to the Ultimate Picture Palace in Cowley at 4pm to watch 'Grow Your Own' This comedy centres around a group of gardeners at a Merseyside allotment, who react angrily when a group of refugees are given plots at the site, but after they get to know them better, soon change their minds.

And on Sunday at 4pm, Ultimate Picture Palace will be showing Ken Loach's 'It's a free world'.

Hope to see you there to celebrate Refugee Week 2009!

STAR xxx

STAR Monday Roast Tonight!

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Monday, 15th June 2009 @ 6:21pm

  Refugee Week Social - at the Monday Roast, The Cellar, 8.30pm, £4

Just a reminder that as part of next week's Refugee Week events,
the Monday Roast (the much loved Sunday Roast, but on a Monday)
will play host to the Oxford Refugee Week Social, with a stall
run by STAR and Amnesty. There will be petitions and letters to
sign, plus some extremely tasty supportive cakes.  

This is the last Sunday Roast this term: - a roast based GARDEN
PARTY with flowers, picnic items and the requisite bunting. Come
down for: 

a melee of oxford's finest strummers and warblers. 
please contact daisy or cat (facebook/ gmail) if you'd like to
play (or nominate someone else to play) 

STAR biscuits!

STAR commitee elections today!

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Thursday, 11th June 2009 @ 12:14pm

Hello all,

Just a reminder to come along to the KA at 6pm if you want to be involved in STAR next year. Even if you don't want to hold a position, come anyway!

Positions available are:

National STAR Liaison Officer 
Campaigns Coordinator 
Volunteering Coordinator 
Publicity Coordinator




E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Tuesday, 9th June 2009 @ 9:20am

NEXT MEETING: 6pm, Thursday, in the KA.

We'll be discussing how the Refugee Week publicity is going, our SOCIAL with Amnesty, other Refugee Week stuff, our poster and banner campaign and having COMMITTEE ELECTIONS!

Pppose dentention centres- Letter writing tomorrow!

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Thursday, 4th June 2009 @ 11:22am

Letter writing session STAR/Amnesty/Liberty. Friday 5pm The Lamb and Flag. St Giles
. -----------------------------------------------------
Oppose the Campsfield Detention centre and the building of Bullingdon Removal Centre.
Over 3,000 immigrants are indefinitely detained in the UK at any one time. Having claimed asylum in this country men, women and children are locked up while the government deal with their claim. This process can take months, or even years. They are often treated badly, and suffer from mental health problems, not knowing when they will be released. A recent study highlighted the case of one man who had been shuffled around UK detention centres for 8 years. His only 'crime' was arriving here without the correct documentation. These people do not have a voice in the UK.

20 minutes from Oxford, in Kidlington Campsfield Detention Centre holds 200 innocents. The government has plans to build another detention centre in Bicester. This will hold 800 people, and will be the biggest in Europe.

Stop this happening. Come and write to your MP!

Refugee Forum at the Union

E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Tuesday, 26th May 2009 @ 12:39am


Tuesday 26th May
Oxford Union (non-members £3)
5pm – 6:30pm

OUSU, The Union and The Council For Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) present a Refugee Forum with four superb panelists - not to be missed. The issue of refugees is one which affects everyone, especially here in Oxford, given the close proximity of Campsfield Detention Centre and the often forgotten issue of refugee academics.

Chairing the Panel:

LORD JOHN KREBS (Kt, MA, DPhil, FRS, FMedSci, Hon Dsc)
Principal of Jesus College and Son of Hans Adolf Krebs, the German biochemist who described the uptake and release of energy in cells (the Krebs cycle).

Members of the Panel:

Professor of Pharmacology at KCL and son of the Nobel Prize winner Max Born.

The director the British Institute of Human Rights and a member of the taskforce advising the government on the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Libyan academic in Human Rights Law. Imprisoned in 2002 for criticising the Gaddafi regime in her postgraduate thesis. She fled Libya and sought asylum in the UK later that year.

Oxford Mobilising meeting for Calais No Border Camp- TONIGHT

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Monday, 25th May 2009 @ 12:03pm


Mobilising meeting for Calais No Border Camp:  happening TONIGHT in Wadham. All Welcome!


7.30pm-8.30pm, Monday 25th May

Wadham Refectory

This meeting is for all Oxford-based activists who are hoping to go to the
Calais No Border camp (23rd-29th June), and/or the big demo from Calais town
centre to Coquelles detention centre on 27th June.

The meeting will cover practical questions, such as how we co-ordinate travel
from London to the camp and/or demo, and how we mobilise for Calais over the
next month. There will also be some info sharing about the demo and what is
happening during the camp.

We will also discuss the possibility of solidarity action(s) in the UK on 27th
June, for those who are unable to travel to Calais.

Hope to see you there,

London No Borders

STAR minutes from yesterday

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Friday, 22nd May 2009 @ 12:15pm

Dear STARs

Below are the minutes from the meeting yesterday,
See you all at the Refugee Forum, Tuesday 5-6.30 at the union!

Elle x

STAR minutes Week 4


1)      present: Olly, Edgar, Richard, Zoe, Scarlett, Habiba, Elle, Sara, Dom, Laura



2)Refugee week

Richard has written letter asking for donations for football tournament. Sara to check and hand out for distribution


3)Social event with Amnesty at end of 7th week. Edgar to organise with representative from Amnesty (possibly Babylove)


4)Living on £35 worth of sainsburys vouchers a week in 7th week. Make T-shirts to promote what we are doing. Use praxis to exchange money with vouchers, so it is also practical. Use network of charities in Oxford to make this a big thing. Elle to contact other groups and make Facebook group


5)POSTER campaign. Loong discussion. Many ideas on how to get across the unfairness of the system, combining Let Them work and vouchers:

 idea 1) profile of a professional with brief details of how much they could be earning/contributing towards society, and how much they are being given in vouchers.

Idea 2) Olly suggested subverting mastercard advert:

Night out:        $10

Weekly shop: $25

Living without fear of persecution: priceless?


We all have the right to live without fear of persecution.

Driven from their homes, skilled people from all over the world come in the hope of finding sanctuary

They are detained, forbidden from working and given just $35 a week to live on.

Could you live on $35 a week?

Is this freedom?


Any other ideas, please email them to me , and Ill send them around! Elle to contact Oxhub poster making person, anyone else with graphic skill, please get involved!



6)Campsfield Protest next Sunday,. It would be really goof to have a student turn out. We will have a stall next Friday on Broad Street to persuade people to come. Elle to bring banners from rally. Sara to do cheap photocopying at OUSU of the anti-detention leaflets (if that’s okay Sara?- I will send you the leaflet)


7)Mobilising meeting for Calais No Borders Camp in July

Room booked in Wadham from til 10.


8)Project with female refugees. Laura has been given some money to put together a publication focused on the experience of female refugees and asylum seekers in this country. STAR will be involved in this in Michealmus. Email to be sent out to mailing list to gage interest.

meeting, refugee forum at the union, committee training, refugee week and more!

E-mail sent by Sara Bainbridge, Thursday, 21st May 2009 @ 12:18am

Hello hello

(Please look at this in HTML - it's prettier that way)

Here's a reminder about a STAR meeting, today, Thursday 21st May at 6pm in the KA pub. Please do attend if you want to get involved! We need committee members or just friendly faces who want something to do...


STAR minutes! Sorry for lateness...

E-mail sent by Eleanor Mortimer, Monday, 18th May 2009 @ 6:48pm


Please find below the minutes from last weeks meeting....

See you again on Thursday 6PM in KA




-Meeting with Close Campsfield and London No Borders to promote the Calais No Border camp in June. This will hopefully happen on 25th May in Wadham refectory.

OLLY to check out room


-Football tournament: SARA needs helium, and cake donations. RICHARD to draft letter asking for donations.


-Richard’s idea for a campaign this term: Comparing facts and figures. Ie. How much an MP has claimed on expenses for a luxury pot plants, and how much an asylum seeker is given to live on. These will be a poster campaign as well as giant banners stuck everywhere




Letter writing event- joint with amnesty/liberty



Other ideas


Social event with Amnesty at the beginning of 8th week? To mark the beginning of £35 week. Need someone to organise this!


Cage. For use in raising awareness. ELLE will make/find

Oxford Student Action for Refugees

Networks: Oxford University, Oxford Hub

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