In just over six weeks, we'll wake up to a new Parliament. Immigration will doubtless be a prominent and divisive issue in the run-up to the election. What does this mean for the refugees that will come to Britain fleeing war and persecution over the next five years? The welcome we give to refugees to Britain during the next Parliament depends not on the outcome of the election, but on what happens once it is over. Whoever wins we need to impress on them, and on the public, that a fair and just asylum system is the right thing for Britain and the right thing for the asylum seekers that need our support and protection.
If the government wants to prove it's serious about justice and protecting vulnerable people, then it will recognise that the detention estate is a product of the dark ages. Instead of tinkering with processes, Ministers should focus their efforts on consigning the whole system to the history books where it belongs.
Britain can and must provide asylum seekers and refugees with the protection and support they deserve. Its political parties must outline their proposals for an efficient and fair immigration and asylum policy, which reflects our national self-interest and the rights of those feeling war and persecution.
In 2014, the fourth year of the conflict in Syria, a bleak humanitarian situation deteriorated even further. To date, there have been over 200,000 fatalities and one million casualties. Three million people have sought refuge across borders and more than seven million people have been displaced. More than half of the country's population - including five million children - require some form of humanitarian aid. Not only has violence increased, but access to aid has also been restricted. Needs are greater than ever but the aid system is not meeting them. Today, Syria remains the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world.
Mhere is no reason at all for which people should risk their last hopes and often die at sea. The time has come for the EU institutions and Member States to step up their collective action to strengthen rescue operations, provide swift access to asylum procedures to those in need of international protection and increase legal alternatives to prevent people from having to undertake these dangerous sea crossings.
Migration is a fact of life. Humans have moved around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. It's hard to blame someone for wanting to improve his or her circumstances. My parents made the same decision when they realised I had polio. After he came to London my father never saw his parents again. My mum and dad made huge sacrifices for which I will always be grateful.
The rarity of these new, liberal democratic nations is illustrated by the speculation in the media and elsewhere that a newly independent Scotland would have a lot to learn from three-year-old South Sudan. The inference is clear: Establishing a fully functional government and the apparatus of the state is a phenomenally difficult task.
These bones from arid countries that have walked, run, climbed, crawled, sailed, clung on and hidden for two years on the journey from Africa and the Middle East to reach their promised land, the United Kingdom... when winter comes, having made it this far, if it is an unkind one, some will almost certainly die.
While politicians agree to bomb ISIS and arm other groups in the Middle East, no protection is offered to those fleeing the conflict. Instead Ministers appear on TV shows claiming that UK towns are "under siege" from migrants. Not only do these words stir up tensions, but they are also an insult to those who know what it's truly like to be under siege as their lives are ripped apart by civil wars across the Middle East... Instead of working with international partners and organisations to set up mechanisms that not only share the burden between countries but that also offer people safe, legal opportunities to travel, the UK will refuse to help rescue those who are drowning. We should all be ashamed.
While the eyes of the world rightly look towards global crises in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa, there is a serious and worsening humanitarian disaster almost going unnoticed in South Sudan. It is deeply saddening to see a country that was once so full of hope for the future, now embroiled in such a painful and destructive war with itself. When I first visited South Sudan less than two years ago I was struck by the optimism and hope that filled the air but today it is an entirely different story.
Kamal's story, and many others, makes it clear that the seizure of Mosul by the IS has manifested into a threat on human rights. This includes the right to practice whichever religion one chooses, should one choose to practice religion. Now, many hope that the new regime in Iraq will follow a path of statesmanship and pluralism, and not mindless sectarianism.
Many of the people we work with are relying on food parcels, crisis grants from the Red Cross and the kindness of the local community. After the 28-day transition period, the state no longer provides housing. Some people sofa-surf if they have friends. If they don't, sleeping rough is the only option. And what makes it even tougher to stomach is that it is entirely avoidable.
Following the horrific killing of the US photo-journalist James Foley, international anti-Islamic State rhetoric has gone up a notch. World leaders are all inveighing against the group. But in truth it's still not really clear what's being done to help the Yezidis, the Christians, the Shi'a Turkmen, the Shabaks, and indeed anyone in Iraq (including Sunni Muslims) threatened by the Islamic State and other armed jihadi groups.