Refugees’ Voices – REAP Campaigns
REAP Position statements and campaign process
At Board of Trustee Meetings REAP’s Management Committee agrees priority areas for REAP’s campaigning activities that will work towards our mission, for the 1-2 years ahead. Current and ongoing campaign work is around:
Community Interpreters – Terms and Conditions – Statutory bodies’ use of commercial agencies and discriminatory impact on migrants and refugees;
Funders’ practices and requirements disadvantaging refugees and migrants;
Process: REAP campaign work starts with a period of research, briefing, discussion and debate, working towards the trustees agreeing a REAP position at MC level, then by trustees, staff and key members actively raising awareness of these concerns in particular, and promoting debate and networking to explore possible solutions and influence decision- and policy-makers at Borough, sub-regional, pan-London and higher levels.
For all issues
- Research/gather personal experiences from members, refugees and migrants
- Train and brief REAP staff and active members, encourage discussion and debate
- Feed into existing campaigns with and by other organisations;
- Persistently raise the issue at appropriate forums, networks, opportunities including producing and distributing ‘Position’ and ‘Learning from Practice’ papers;
- Encourage members and other refugee and equality bodies to take up campaigns and create joint resources and activities to lever wider influence.
Trustees’ Statement regarding Community Interpreters’ Terms and Conditions:
Community Interpreters provide crucial services for many asylum-seekers and refugees as they start to rebuild their lives in the UK. Community Interpreters assist people in accessing the services they need and play a valuable communication and cultural role beyond simply translating languages.
REAP believes that the terms and conditions community interpreters are required to accept are exploitative if compared to comparable professions and that exploitative structures are created and reinforced by statutory bodies which almost all manage their interpreting needs via commercial agencies. This exploitation in turn undermines good quality community interpreting, which hurts the refugees that need it. As community interpreters are almost always from ethnic minorities, this is institutionally discriminatory against ethnic minorities and new migrants which includes a high proportion of refugees.
- statutory bodies should employ interpreters on their payroll, to ensure they have fair terms and conditions, opportunities for career development and advancement, and effective quality control;
- statutory bodies that continue to use agencies for languages in less demand or for emergency cover should ensure the agencies they use provide:
- adequate terms and conditions,
- welfare support,
- training and development opportunities,
- effective support that ensures interpreters understand and cope with the complications of being self-employed eg. book-keeping, tax returns.
- there should be support for community interpreters to create structures that will protect themselves and their professional peers.
Trustee’s Statement regarding Funders’ over-dependence on written English
REAP believes that:
- Funders and commissioning bodies’ dependence on written applications discriminates institutionally against AS&R as well as other ethnic minorities where English is the not the first language and for whom education and work experience has not been British.
- Funders/ commissioners should start a process of close self-scrutiny and re-examine their assumptions and processes, particularly where assessment depends primarily on the written word.
- Funders/commissioners should have direct contact over time with small groups, if they are to understand and assess groups’ value fairly and effectively.