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Council Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby

On World Refugee Day, Monday 20th June, Monmouthshire County Council’s Leader, Cllr. Mary Ann Brocklesby issued a statement reaffirming the council’s commitment to supporting refugees and honouring the bravery of those who have fled conflict and persecution.

Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “Just over two years ago, I was in the Rohingya camps on coastal Bangladesh talking to women about their experience as refugees. It was hard to hear stories of such brave people having to abandon their homes whilst losing many family members, and their sense of place. This is the experience of refugees from so many countries.  In Wales we are a proud Nation of Sanctuary. Here in Monmouthshire we are  committed to building strong, welcoming and cohesive communities. We are doing just this with refugees from Ukraine in their efforts to find a new safe place. And previously, we’ve helped Afghanis, Syrians and Iraqis find a place, find a home, and find a way with living with what will never go away.

“Just last week, I was talking to Ukrainian refugees and hearing about their sense of loss, grief and fear, but thankfully they had reached a place of safety in Monmouthshire. On World Refugee Day, we are thinking about how people can find a place where they are protected, where their dignity is upheld, where their fundamental right to feel safe, and to feel that they are part of a common humanity, is being upheld.

“That’s what we’re doing here in Monmouthshire. I am so proud that we have offered new homes and we have opened our hearts to people who need our protection. On World Refugee Day, we honour those people who have had to abandon their homes fleeing conflict to find a place of safety, hope, and somewhere they can feel helped and supported. I am so proud that so many residents in Monmouthshire have opened their homes to help these families.

“I would like to thank colleagues, volunteers and so many people in the community who have gone above and beyond in welcoming people into our homes and our hearts, making them feel safe and that this could be their home too. But why do we do this? Because everybody has a right to dignity. Everybody has the right to safety. And we have humanity in common, which says when those who are not safe, we will reach out and help them be safe. And we all have a role we can play in helping people flourish in Monmouthshire, no matter where they are from or what their story is.

“I’m proud that’s what we do in Monmouthshire, and  proud of the diversity and strength of communities we are establishing working side by side. That’s something I want to celebrate, and also commemorate, on World Refugee Day. I want to both honour refugees and the terrible journeys they’ve had to make, and the traumas that they have faced, and also honour all those who are reaching out to help those who need support, who need a safe haven.”

Council Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby outside County Hall in Usk
Council Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby outside County Hall in Usk

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