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One criteria necessary to becoming a Council of Sanctuary is for a local authority to pass a motion setting out a commitment to being a place of sanctuary.

The reason why motions are so important is that they show political leadership in recognising that asylum seekers are entitled to claim asylum under the law, that they have fled persecution and that they deserve our welcome and support.

Many Councils have already passed motions of support  and you can see some examples of this below. UNHCR has also asked Local Authorities and Mayors to sign its Statement of Solidarity for World Refugee Day 2018.

Working with your council to get a pledge of support

Sheffield City Council has led the way by being the first Council to pledge support to becoming a City of Sanctuary.  The pledge of support that a local authority will depend on context. It can be as simple as a short statement committing the city council to supporting the idea of welcoming those who have fled persecution and violence or a more detailed pledge which outlines the practical actions they intend to take. Some councils have also passed motions of support for campaigns, such as the #LiftTheBan, these pledges are welcomed but whilst they demonstrate a commitment to welcome they should not be confused with a pledge of support to becoming a Council of Sanctuary.

See the links below to some of the Council motions that have been passed by other cities.

Example motions of support

In 2007, Sheffield became the first City of Sanctuary with a motion of support from Sheffield City Council. In 2017, the Council passed another support motion to mark 10 years.

In 2008, Swansea City Council voted unanimously to pass a motion pledging support for plans to make Swansea a ‘City of Sanctuary’

Cllr Christopher Stewart's speech at the Council meeting

In 2012, Ipswich Borough Council passed a resolution of support towards Ipswich becoming a “Town of Sanctuary”.

In 2013, Bristol City Council passed a city of sanctuary motion condemning the UK Border Agency’s policy of forcing people seeking asylum into destitution.

Birmingham City Council passed a resolution of support for City of Sanctuary in 2015.

In 2015, Newcastle City Council have signed a motion in favour of becoming a City of Sanctuary

In 2016,  Wolverhampton Civic Centre to pledge their support to make Wolverhampton a City of Sanctuary.

In 2016, Reading Borough Council has unanimously agreed to support refugee families into the town.

In 2017, Hastings Council unanimously-voted to work to implement the City of Sanctuary pledges through its actions and policies.

In 2017, Southampton City of Sanctuary presented to the full Southampton City Council chamber asking them to recognise and endorse that Southampton is a City of Sanctuary

In 2020 Royal Borough of  Greenwich passed a Sanctuary motion commuting the local authority to welcoming people of sanctuary seeking  background 

On the 28th of June 2021,  Shrewsbury Town Council voted unanimously to embed the City of Sanctuary vision and principles in council policies and practices.

On the 8th of July 2021Islington Borough Council passed a motion signalling the commitment of the council to embedding sanctuary principles in their work.