Family snapshots can capture moments of fun, love and togetherness which last a lifetime. From chasing the dog around the garden to playing games with grandad, from family Sunday roasts around the table to relaxing with a takeaway in front of the TV on a Saturday night.
Now families across the country are being invited to share their photographs – recent and old – to create the UK’s biggest family photo album and celebrate the importance of family life. Throughout October, families across the UK are expected to contribute their snapshots. However serious, however silly.
The project is being run by Amnesty International UK who says that these moments – the first day of school, a childhood holiday, time spent together across the generations or a candid moment of love – are the kind which refugees living in the UK, separated from their closest relatives by restrictive family reunion rules, miss every day.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty UK, said:
“The UK is a country that values the family in all its wonderful variety of set-ups and sizes. Although many of us take hundreds of photos of our loved ones each year, we still cherish a special handful because they remind us of the happiness that family life can bring.
“Devastatingly, for refugees who have lost everything, these photos can often be the closest connection they have to their family, which may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Current UK rules are forcing people who have fled conflict to make impossible choices: to remain in the UK but stay separated from their nearest relatives or return to a place of danger.”
Amnesty, as part of the #FamiliesTogether campaign, is calling for the easing of restrictive UK rules – helping refugees who have lost their homes and been separated from their families be reunited. The public will be joined by celebrities and MPs backing the campaign. The UK’s Biggest Family Photo Album will be a celebration of family life today in all its glory. It will be presented to the Home Secretary as a call to help the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who have been torn apart – giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and look forward to safe, happy futures together.
Earlier this year MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of changing the rules keeping refugee families apart. Sajid Javid has the power to change these rules with the stroke of a pen.
#FamiliesTogether is a coalition of over 20 organisations working to secure refugee family reunion in the UK including Amnesty International UK, British Red Cross, Oxfam, Refugee Council and UNHCR. Visit amnesty.org.uk/familiestogether for more details.
This campaign is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The family photo competition launches 27 September and closes on 21 October 2018. Families are being asked to send their photo to their local or regional newspaper at the appropriate weblink or to visit www.amnesty.org.uk/family.
Virgin Experience Days is offering entrants the chance to win one of 13 Family Segway Rally prizes worth £140 each at locations across the country as well as one national prize, a Tiki Lodge Family Adventure Week on the Gower Peninsula in Wales worth £950. For full T&Cs please visit the Virgin Experience Days website.
Current UK rules are forcing families fleeing conflict to make impossible choices. Children separated from parents or siblings, with no means to reunite.
Easing the restrictive rules will help refugees who have lost their homes, been separated from their families and all that they know. Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who have been torn apart, lost everything and experienced so much, deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and have safe, happy futures together.
The Families Together coalition brings together more than 20 organisations including Amnesty International, British Red Cross, and the UN Refugee Agency to call for:
- Child refugees in the UK to have the right to sponsor their close family so they can rebuild their lives together and help them integrate in their new community.
- The definition of who qualifies as family to be expanded so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their families in the UK.
- The reintroduction of legal aid so refugees who have lost everything have the support they need to afford and navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families.