All women, whoever they are, wherever they come from, have the right to safe, respectful and dignified care in pregnancy and birth. Our government has promised this on the world stage.

Yet in England, Home Office policies and NHS regulations mean that women’s rights are being systematically violated, putting refugee and migrant mothers and their newborns at risk.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Add your voice to the campaign to demand the government drop new rules which impose identification checks and upfront charges for NHS care.

Health care professionals are saying that (amongst other vulnerable people) pregnant women and new mothers who have come to England as refugees and who don’t yet have the right documents will be scared away from seeking maternity care by costs and fears of deportation.

White Ribbon Alliance is a signatory to a letter to Jeremy Hunt, published in the Guardian on October 11th 2017, here.

You can help by amplifying this coverage and increasing our collective impact.

Signatories to the Open Letter

Over 300 doctors and 50 nurses have signed the letter, which also has the backing of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Midwives, the Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health, the Faculty of Public Health and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health. Sir David Nicholson, former CEO of NHS England has also endorsed the letter as have a wide range of civil society groups and human rights organisations like Liberty and Amnesty International UK; children’s charities like Coram and Children’s Society; race equality groups like the Runnymede Trust and Race Equality Foundation; refugee, asylum and migrant rights charities like the Refugee Council and Migrants Organise, as well as trade union, Unite, to name only a few.

The letter is available online here.

The letter has been sent to Jeremy Hunt and Labour frontbench MPs who we are calling on to pray against the regulations in Parliament. The release of the letter will also increase pressure on the Opposition to take up the issue and secure a parliamentary debate. In parallel, campaign partners have been approaching Peers and asking them to table a Fatal Motion. A Regret Motion has been tabled by Labour in the House of Lords but we are still looking to raise awareness among Peers and secure a Fatal Motion.

 

TAKE ACTION

You can write to and visit your MP or if you have contacts with any Peers, ask them to support the campaign as above.

In the meantime, please help raise awareness and build momentum behind the campaign as we only have a few weeks before they are due to come into force.

Join @WRA_UK and @WRAGlobal on Twitter, targeting @Jeremy_Hunt and using #PatientsNotPassports and #NHS.


SUPPORT OUR WORK IN THE UK

White Ribbon Alliance in the UK is fundraising to hold a series of Peer Journalism workshops, so that refugee and migrant women can take the lead in gathering the evidence for change which policy makers and media say is missing.

Since 2015, working with partners (including Birthrights, Maternity Action, City of Sanctuary, Refugee Council and Royal Exchange Theatre) we have often heard that policy makers and mainstream media need such evidence. However, the most vulnerable women in our society – often pregnant women and new mothers who don’t even know their rights - are not being asked for that evidence. Many of them are undocumented, and so by definition they are uncounted and living beyond the reach of official surveys. They may also be rightly afraid to speak out, given the risks of detention and/or deportation. So how do we make the hidden experiences of women visible, how do we safely make their voices heard?

 

PEER JOURNALISM WORKSHOP

For several years we have been gathering women’s stories through film and photography. We now propose to step that up with a number of ‘Peer journalism’ workshops for migrant and asylum-seeking women. Building on the model of White Ribbon Alliance’s ‘citizen journalism’ workshops in Africa and Asia, this is an effective way to empower women, to tell hitherto unheard stories to decision makers and opinion formers who have the power to bring about change, and to enable communities to hold leaders to account.

 

For more information contact bmcconville@whiteribbonalliance.org

To donate in support of our work, go to WRA UK's My Donate Page.


SPREAD THE WORD

Please see some suggested Tweets below:

  • Pleased to support call to @Jeremy_Hunt to reverse harmful changes to accessing #NHS care #PatientsNotPassports bit.ly/2gtw4vg
  • I’ve joined over 1000 orgs & health professionals calling on @Jeremy_Hunt to withdraw new #NHS regs #patientsnotpassorts
  • New ID checks & upfront charging in #NHS carry serious risks to individuals & society #PatientsNotPassports bit.ly/2gtw4vg
  • Will @UKLabour act to stop changes that undermine the founding principles of the #NHS? #PatientsNotPassports bit.ly/2gtw4vg

 

Thanks once again for your support and we will update this page to keep you posted.

Best Wishes,

Brigid McConville

bmcconville@whiteribbonalliance.org

 

For questions or queries, you can also get in touch with the below who are key drivers of the campaign: