"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Partners and families of British citizens in Syria

Readers will be familiar with the stories of Christine and Shafik. Christine's husband Ziad, and Shafik's fiancee Nusrin, are both in Syria - family migration rules are keeping them apart from their partners, and putting the lives of the partners of British citizens at risk.

BritCits supporter @salcardiff has prepared the following template letter for MPs, requesting urgent action on behalf of those affected.

Please consider writing to your MP. You can find your MP's contact details using this tool :

Dear <salutation>,

I am a supporter of the BritCits group, formed in direct response to the attack on British citizens and residents with non-EEA family members.

Recently, BritCits has heard from a number of British citizens whose partner is stranded in Syria. We are aware that the effects of the family migration rules can be very heartbreaking and distressing for families separated by them, however these cases are particularly urgent as the very life of the partner of British citizens is in danger.

I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are many families affected in this way given that there have been indications that in the last three years only two settlement visas have been issued to Syrians applying from Syria and more recently, Lebanon since the British embassy in Damascus was shut down.

Having a spouse in the UK means that the Syrian national in question has a home to go to with ties to the UK. I hope you will agree that it is imperative that such families especially be reunited and removed from what is universally agreed to be a dangerous and potentially fatal situation.

I am particularly concerned that where a couple has recently made an application and fail to meet the rules only due to the financial requirement, such an application will now be on hold while the Home Office considers whether it will appeal the recent decision of the MM & Ors vs. SSHD case by Justice Blake. For most couples affected in this way, this will be a particularly frustration time due to delays and uncertainty, but for those couples where one partner is caught up in the situation in Syria, the frustration becomes a matter of life and death.

There may also be cases where families originally from Syria but settled in the UK may have elderly dependent relatives in Syria. Such families will have no hope of bringing their parents here as the route for elderly dependents is now effectively closed and has been dubbed 'a ban masquerading as a rule'.

I plead with you to as a matter of urgency, assist Syrians with family ties to the UK to be brought out of danger and reunited with their loved ones.

Given that the UK could even consider military intervention, it would not be appropriate for the government to deny such a proposal with the dubious excuse of protecting the public purse.

Even in this day and age, there is and must remain, space for basic decency, humanity and respect not just for family life, but human life.

Yours sincerely,

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