UK: Parliamentary candidates must end "hateful and inflammatory rhetoric" against migrants


Candidates in this week's general election in the UK should shun "hateful and inflammatory rhetoric" against migrants and support policies for "digital sanctuary," says a letter signed by 37 organisations, including Statewatch. Providing "digital sanctuary" for people means "ending the hostile digital environment, establishing robust privacy protections for migrants’ data and promoting inclusive digital policies," says the letter.

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Image: TheFriendlyFiend, CC BY-SA 2.0

The letter was coordinated by Open Rights Group, who are also asking people to email their parliamentary candidates to support digital rights for migrants and everyone in the UK.

Open letter calling on MP candidates to use humanising and respectful language when talking about migrants and refugees.

In the run up to the 2024 General Election, immigration and the treatment of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum and sanctuary have become focal points in our political discourse. As human rights, migrant and justice rights organisations, we call on all parliamentary candidates to stop using migrants as scapegoats for the challenges the UK faces, and to refrain from propagating hateful and inflammatory rhetoric against some of the most vulnerable people in the UK.

Whatever our background, everyone deserves to feel safe and have our dignity upheld in public, at home and in the workplace. We should all have access to health and support services, know that our personal data will be kept safe, and that our privacy will be respected. We should all be able to pursue justice, defend our rights and hold the government to account. We urge candidates to commit to upholding these rights and ensure safety for those seeking sanctuary in the UK

Our rights in the digital spaces are just as important, especially for those whose safety depends on keeping data secure from the authoritarian regimes they have fled. We, call on all candidates to protect and support the concept of “Digital Sanctuary” for migrants to the UK, which includes ending the hostile digital environment, establishing robust privacy protections for migrants’ data and promoting inclusive digital policies.

As candidates for public office, your words and policies carry significant weight in shaping our collective future. We urge you to lead with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to our collective and individual human rights. We hope that you recognise your duty of care and responsibility for the language you use, to not further sow fear and division but strive for a society where everyone is valued and afforded the dignity and belonging they deserve.

Signed by:

African Rainbow Family
After Exploitation
Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK)
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)
Choose Love
City of Sanctuary UK
Croydon Cycle Theatre
Daaro Youth Project
Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK)
Freedom United
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
Humans for Rights Network
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Jesuit Refugee Service UK
JustRight Scotland
Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN)
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
Migrant Democracy Project
Migrants Organise
Open Rights Group
Our Second Home
Pan-African Workers’ Association (PAWA)
Racial Justice Network
Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
Refugee Action
Safe Passage International
STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
Student Action for Refugees
Ubuntu Women Shelter
Voices in Exile
West London Welcome
The William Gomes Podcast
Women for Refugee Women

Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

Further reading

27 February 2024

UK: Law changes will make it harder to hold police to account for illegal data access

An office for West Yorkshire Police, based in Leeds, has been convicted of breaches of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, after using police databases to search for information on people she knew with no legitimate reason. The case highlights the risks posed by forthcoming changes to UK data protection law.

27 June 2023

UK must protect global digital security and safeguard private communication

An open letter signed by over 80 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, is calling on the UK government to protect digital security and private communications by removing provisions from the Online Safety Bill that would require communications service providers to add "backdoors" to encrypted messaging services, undermining safety for all.

29 July 2021

UK: Home Office data strategy: digital infrastructure for 'law and order'

The UK Home Office plans to maximise the gathering, matching and processing of personal and other data, making it possible to deploy "automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence" for the purposes of law enforcement, border control, customs and various other activities.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error