As a part of Stand Up To Racism, RAPAR is leading on organising a representative delegation of people from the North West who will come together in Calais, from across the UK. This delegation will highlight the necessity for the refugee people who are in the Camp to become safe in the UK. Download a collection sheet here.
In response to the Paris and Beirut attacks and the incident at Gatwick airport, campaigners with Stand up to Racism issued the following statements:
Sabby Dhalu, Stand up to Racism Organiser said:
"We condemn the horrific attacks in Paris. We send condolences to and our thoughts are with and the loved ones of those that lost their lives and those injured. We must do all we can to root out such murderous attacks and hatred.
"We must also challenge attempts to portray all Muslims, refugees and immigrants as terrorists. President Hollande's statement regarding closing the borders in France implies all refugees are terrorists. There are almost one million refugees in the EU - if they were all terrorists there would be no one left in the EU. Terrorist attacks cannot be used to justify the refusal to take refugees.
"Too often the response to such attacks is to hold responsible and scapegoat all Muslims despite widespread condemnation of terrorism by Muslims, simply because a few carry out terrorist attacks in the name of Islam. Muslims are always portrayed as the perpetrators and never the victims of terrorism, even though many Muslims were also the victims in yesterday's attacks. This is the narrative that is leading to increasing anti-Muslim hate crimes. According to the West London Muslim Cultural Centre, already a Muslim woman has been attacked with a glass bottle today, following the Paris attacks.
"We must stand up to such attacks and also the racism and Islamophobia that follows. Don’t let the racists divide us."
Maz Saleem, Daughter of the late Mohammed Saleem who was murdered in 2013 in an Islamophobic attack said:
"My deepest sympathies and condolences go to all those that lost loved ones and were injured in the attacks in Paris and Beirut. I feel very strongly about such incidents because my father was murdered by a Ukrainian fascist terrorist and I am still struggling to cope with this tragic loss in my family.
"I also feel strongly about these events because my father was a Muslim and he was murdered by a fascist terrorist who bombed Mosques in the West Midlands and became known as "The Tipton Bomber". Quite rightly we do not equate all white people with this terrorist, but why are all Muslims treated as potential terrorists?
"My father and my family are Muslims and the victims of terrorism. In August Mushin Ahmed an 81 year old Muslim pensioner was murdered in Rotherham. I fear there could be more similar attacks if the approach of depicting all Muslims as terrorists continues."
Weyman Bennet, Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary said:
"Our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent terrorist attacks. It is crucial that politicians and the media do not concede to a narrative that portrays all Muslims as terrorists. Firstly because it is not true. Secondly because we do not adopt the same approach when the perpetrators are white racists and fascists. Scapegoating all white people for Anders Breivik's attacks in Norway seems ridiculous, but this is exactly the response when terrorist attacks occur in the name of Islam somehow all Muslims are held responsible.
"Thirdly this is the climate in which far right and fascist organisations grow. France is one of the most concerning countries with the growth in support for Marine Le Pen and the Front National currently topping the polls, who could use these attacks to build further support. We must also be vigilant about groups like the English Defence League and Britain First who could use these attacks to stir up Islamophobia in Britain."
Notes to editors:
1. Stand up to Racism has called a public meeting in Parliament in response to these attacks, Islamophobia and the forthcoming Extremism Bill on Thursday 26 November at 7pm.
2. For interviews and information please contact Sabby Dhalu on 07794 633 097 or Weyman Bennett on 07734 032 314.
From The Guardian website:
"A French court has ordered the country’s authorities to improve conditions at the giant “new jungle” migrant camp in Calais after NGOs called for immediate action over “serious human rights violations”.
The court in Lille in northern France ordered the department of Pas-de-Calais and the town of Calais to install 10 more water stations – with five taps each, 50 latrines and “one or several” more access points to emergency services at the overflowing migrant site where some 6,000 people are now camped out in the cold.
Doctors of the World and Catholic Relief Services, as well as other NGOs, appealed to the court to “end serious human rights violations” of the migrants living in the camp where the number of inhabitants has nearly doubled since the end of September.
The so-called “new jungle” camp, which is about an hour away on foot from the centre of the northern French city, has swelled in size over recent months as more and more migrants arrive, wanting to cross over to Britain.
Along with the new sanitation stations, the administrative court ordered the installation of garbage collection sites and general cleaning of the camp, with eight days to implement the new measures and a €100 ($110) fine for each day of delay.
The Pas-de-Calais prefecture must also begin in the next 48 hours to identify unaccompanied minors in distress and to begin the process of their placement.
The prefecture said in a statement that it will implement the measures in the time alloted.
Patrice Spinosi, the lawyer for the NGOs, told AFP that it was “a first victory”, but that there was still a lot of work to be done in the camp.
Some of the other requests by the NGOs, like using vacant houses to shelter migrants and upping the meal distribution to twice a day for all 6,000 people versus 2,500 meals once a day, were not approved by the court.
The Doctors of the World director for France, Jean-François Corty, called the decision “exceptional” because the court ordered the state to take emergency measures.
Last month the French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, ordered reinforced security and heated tents for women and children in Calais as migrants prepare to face the season’s bitter cold."
1. Refugees Welcome Here Public Rally 6.30pm Wed 4 Nov Camden Centre, Kings Cross London
2. Refugees Welcome Protest Vigil: Dont Let Them Freeze! 6pm Thur 12 Nov Downing St
3. Donate to Stand Up To Racism
1. Refugees Welcome Here Public Rally
6.30pm Wed 4 Nov Camden Centre, Judd St, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9JE
We are pleased to announce Jeremy Corbyn MP will be speaking at the Refugees Welcome Here rally this Wed 4 November. Please note that the event is FREE but is now ticketed to ensure we comply with building regulations. Register for tickets by clicking here. Please note in order to make the meeting more accessible we will have British Sign Language Interpreters.
Jeremy Corbyn MP Leader of the Labour Party
Diane Abbott MP Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Owen Jones Journalist & writer
Francesca Martinez Stand up comedian
Kevin Courtney Deputy General Secretary NUT
Lindsey German Stop the War Convenor
Shahrar Ali Green Party Deputy Leader
Rabbi Lee Wax
Shakira Martin NUS VP Further Education
Syrian Refugee speaker
Anna Musgrave Refugee Council
Talha Ahmad Muslim Council of Britain
Sabby Dhalu & Weyman Bennett Unite Against Fascism / Stand up to racism
Click here to join Facebook event and invite your friends
2. Refugees Welcome Protest Vigil: Dont Let Them Freeze! 6pm Thur 12 Nov Downing St
Refugees are currently living in atrocious conditions in Calais, at the borders of Hungary and other parts of the Europe. Cold, wet autumnal conditions mean new born babies are suffering with hypothermia and aid agencies struggling to cope, do not have enough blankets to give them.
With Winter fast approaching the situation is becoming critical. We must not let them freeze. The government can and must do more to help refugees. EU President Jean Claude Juncker has warned that Refugee families may freeze to death. Volunteers in camps in Greece have said this will start to happen in a months time. We cannot sit by and allow this to happen.
Activists, trade unionists, politicians, refugee and human rights charities agreed to hold a protest vigil outside Downing Street to light candles to recognise the refugees stranded in Calais and other parts of Europe and demand our government takes more refugees.
Join us at 6pm on 12 November at Downing St. Let’s send a strong message: #DontLetThemFreeze#WeCanDoMore #RefugeesWelcome
Please bring a candle or a light with you.
Click here to join facebook event and invite your friends
3. Donate to Stand Up To Racism
Over the last few months Stand Up To Racism has worked with others to bring a hundred thousand out on the streets of London for the "Refugees Welcome" demonstration. Our solidarity delegations to Calais have raised thousands of pounds for refugees living in the camp there. We are committed to building the broadest campaign to welcome refugees and pressure the government to do more. But the work of stand up to racism is only possible thanks to the contribution of its supporters. Your contribution is invaluable. Click here to donate
18th October 2015
Yesterday, to the strains of Reggae artist, Natty, a terrible beauty was born.
“The Jungle”, Calais, France is an open sewer on industrial wasteland. It is the name of the refugee camp where a reported 5000 plus people, including around 1000 women and some children, are living.
On the single roundabout that lies between “The Jungle” and the Calais Ferry Terminal - where upwards of 800 demonstrators had marched earlier and stopped Ferry crossing operations - a mellow interlude descended later in the afternoon. It was for just a little while, and in spite of the phalanx of suited, booted, and fully armed French police, stood, still and jealous, guarding the gap in the fence used by the earlier demonstration,
It was a truly international gathering.
“Jungle” residents, around 150 of its extraordinarily resilient, deeply sad, but determinedly hopeful, men, and two or three of its young couples with toddlers, mingled, danced, and simultaneous-translating-talked, with an equal number of UK based trade unionists and anti racist solidarity day-trippers.
Individual people who have come so far and now need somewhere to go - and people in small groups who can go anywhere - politically, emotionally and in some instances literally, reached out and touched one another.
Some had wanted to try and blockade the nearby motorway. It was poignant and charged, the ten minutes or so when the assembled worked out that there were not enough people there, not this time, to do this safely and so we must regroup, recognise that making Solidarity is a process, and find out out who and where each other are so we can grow in number.
One moment is the 20-something lesbian from Manchester’s 35-strong delegation who finds herself meeting the 18 year old from Iraq whose entire family is dead. She and he share the next hour or two as they walk the mile from the roundabout to the camp and he shows her where he is living. She just has the time for this before reuniting with her traveling companions to catch the 19.50 tunnel train back to Folkestone.
Another is the beautiful, shoulder length gray haired pensioner. She is dancing, hard and fast, in the circled clutch of young Kurdish men who whoop and clap, flashing incredibly white teeth when they break into big and joyful smiles for seconds at a time.
The flat bed truck is blasting out its music when Idris Najeeb approaches me with a smile. Idris is 20. He left Kirkuk six weeks ago. With a group of 18 others, he took a bus to Turkey, then a lorry to the border of Bulgaria. Then he walked for 22 hours before the police got them. They fingerprinted them all and “told us they were taking us to a camp but it was a prison - Sevellgrad prison in Bulgaria. In the prison, the guards set dogs on us.” They were there for 15 days and then released. Of the group of 19, four people have reached Calais.
”Why?” I ask Idris.
“I know the English language. I was a student in the English department of Dohuk university. My father was tired because of the bombing and my mother told me to leave before I was killed.”
My phone rings. Our van with goods needs to find the distribution centre. I spread out my map on the roundabout grass. Immediately, I am circled by curious youth. I cannot find Rue Marcel but the loaded van from Salford is here so I jump in and we drive.
The phone GIS kicks in and 10 minutes later we are pulling into a pot-holed warehouse yard where, through the grey drizzle, vans and cars are unloading tents, blankets, shoes, jumpers, toiletries, food and cash. Extraordinarily calm helpers direct the arrivals to different sections of the warehouse where they add their contributions to the high piles that are gradually being sorted for later trips into the Jungle. The days are growing darker and colder and wetter now.
More keep on coming but I have to find my group. Our minibus is near the entrance to the Jungle, in a stewarded area. Dropped off there, I drive up to the Jungle entrance. All along that road, people are walking in both directions. I pass a group of about 10 African men who are shepherding a precariously balanced set of wooden planks on top of a trolley. They will build more makeshift shelter with this. Others, in one or twos, are carrying bags with clothes and food.
Earlier in the day, on this same stretch, I had approached four women. They are from Eritrea. They are late teens and early 20’s. They tell me it is very hard for women on the camp. “There are about 1000 women there.” They don’t want me to take photo of them: “It could make trouble for us”. For a few minutes we talk about how to make change happen. They know that people need to be made aware of the truth of their lives, but they are not sure about how yet.
As I walk onto the camp to try to gather together the people who must leave with me, I catch the eye of Safe. He is from Sudan. He is very tall and his companions, like him, and including some Eritreans, are smiling strongly. One explains “many people did not know about the demonstration today, but now we know, for next time.” The phones they pull out for us to exchange numbers are ancient. But they work.
This report is from a member of the Greater Manchester contingent of the National Stand Up to Racism Solidarity Delegation to Calais of 17th October 2015. Delegates came from Birmingham, Black Country, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridge Cardiff, Essex, Glasgow, Kent, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Portsmouth. Over 500 people in and over 50 cars, vans, minibuses and coaches.
Also See this report from London’s demonstration yesterday: https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/
Dr Rhetta Moran, Manchester and Salford NUJ Branch, RAPAR Matron and Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary
The text below has been taken from the TUC's Briefing on the governments Immigration Bill.
Briefing on the Immigration Bill
The new Immigration Bill builds on the Immigration Act (2014) and has been similarly introduced with rhetoric that scapegoats migrants for social and economic problems caused by austerity and bad employers. The TUC adopted a position against the Immigration Act at its Congress in 2014 as it would increase the discrimination faced by BME and migrant groups, fuel unregulated employment and turn public sector staff into border guards. The new Immigration Bill will exacerbate these problems by introducing measures to criminalise undocumented migrant workers; restrict migrants’ access to services; increase document checks; and withdraw support for failed asylum seekers and their children.
The TUC believes that public concern about undercutting can only properly be addressed when undocumented workers have the legal right to work and a strong voice through a union to claim their rights at work. This would allow all workers to claim decent treatment and fair pay. Instead of this, however, the Bill will only fuel divisions between workers and tensions in society.
Criminalising work and wages
The TUC is concerned by the Bill’s measures to make it a criminal offence to work without leave to remain, or beyond the restrictions of a visa, and classifying wages earned in such employment as the proceeds of crime. We believe this will result firstly in an inequitable situation where those with a legal right to be in the country could face a sentence of up to 51 weeks in prison simply for working slightly beyond the restrictions on their visa. This is particularly likely to affect students who, in most cases, are only permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours a week.
Criminalising undocumented migrants simply makes it harder for bad bosses to be found out. Undocumented migrants are unlikely to report an exploitative employer to the authorities when they know they are likely to face a criminal charge for being found out. Bad employers can also threaten to report undocumented workers to the authorities if they complain about bad treatment or try to join a union and claim their rights.
This fuels unregulated employment, as employers are able to employ undocumented workers informally on a cheaper rate and on worse terms and conditions than workers they would employ legally. Encouraging unregulated market working not only increases exploitation but is also a drain on the economy, as workers are not as able to contribute to taxation through their wages.
Furthermore, forcing one section of the low-paid workforce to accept worse conditions has a negative impact on terms and conditions for all workers employed in low paid sectors.
Undocumented migrants should be provided with employment rights separate from their immigration status so they can report bad employers and be treated on equal terms with local workers.
This principle is enshrined in Article 23.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states ‘everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment’.
Director of labour market enforcement
The new Director of labour market enforcement must work closely with unions in order to accurately identify and tackle abuses in the labour market.
The TUC is concerned that in the UK migrant workers are often hired on worse contracts and pay than local workers, allowing bad bosses to use them to undercut other workers which simply fuels concern about immigration. Such abuse can only be tackled comprehensively through the extension of collective bargaining arrangements and rights to representation for unions because inspections and acting on complaints will only capture a sample of problems, whereas collective bargaining and union representation are continuous processes. The law on employment status should also be reformed to ensure that migrant workers and other vulnerable groups do not lose out on basic rights at work.
It is imperative that any centralisation of the work of the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, HMRC’s National Minimum Wage team, and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority does not reduce the powers or remit of each agency. The TUC was concerned that the scope and powers of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority were reduced in 2013. In order to tackle exploitation the government should instead expand the resources of these agencies. It is vital that the GLA licensing scheme which has successfully improved working conditions for migrant workers in agriculture and fresh food processing is retained and indeed extended to cover more sectors with vulnerable employment such as care, construction and cleaning.
These employment enforcement bodies must also not be used as a means of immigration control but rather be neutral agencies to which vulnerable workers, whether documented or not, are able to report exploitation and seek redress.
English language requirement for public authorities
The TUC believes the Bill takes the wrong approach to improving English language skills at work. Rather than introducing penalties, the government should support employers and trade unions to deliver workplace based English language classes, for example, through Unionlearn. A recent study by the European Commission highlighted that English language classes delivered by trade unions in Leeds were important to enable migrant workers to improve their performance at work.
The TUC believes measures in the Bill to require public authorities to ensure each person who works in a customer facing role speaks fluent English are likely to increase discrimination. Unions already have considerable experience of dealing with disciplinary and grievance situations in relation to discrimination against workers whose language ability is questioned because of their accents.
The TUC questions the necessity of this provision as the government has not produced evidence to suggest those in customer facing roles in public authorities do not have an adequate level of English. In fact, evidence from unions shows adequate English language skills are already a requirement to be employed in customer facing roles in the public sector.
Requirements for document checks by landlords and banks
The TUC has concerns that the Bill’s requirement for landlords to check the immigration status of tenants and banks to check the immigration status of current account holders will encourage everyday discrimination against anyone who doesn’t ‘look’ British. These document checks will make it harder for migrants and BME groups to have access to essential services and turn staff in banking and housing into border guards. It is already too difficult for people - especially young people - to open back accounts, including the children of British citizens living abroad.
Closing off support for failed asylum seekers and their children
The TUC is opposed to government proposals to close off support currently available to failed asylum seekers via Section 4(1) and 4(2) of the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act and for asylum seekers with children via Section 95 of the 1999 Act.
While asylum seekers and their children remain in the country, local authorities have a duty of care towards them as stipulated in the Children’s Act (1989) and the Human Rights Act (1998). The government’s decision to withdraw support from asylum seekers will place additional costs on local authorities at a time when they are already spending £3.364bn on children in need of care and are suffering cuts dictated by the government’s austerity programme.
We believe these proposals will increase poverty amongst asylum seekers and their children which is already high. These proposals are also likely to compel more asylum seekers into unregulated employment to survive, fuelling the exploitation and undercutting discussed above.
The TUC believes the government must reverse cuts to local authority budgets so there are resources for them to fulfil their duty of care to failed asylum seekers and their children. We believe asylum seekers should be allowed to work so that they are able to provide for themselves and their families adequately and contribute to society.
Other updateIssued: 8 October, 2015
Theresa May's speech made last week during the Tory party conference laid out a number of home office policy positions relating to immigration and asylum in the UK.
The speech (found here) makes a number of claims regarding the economic effect of immigration and asylum in the UK whilst also laying out new plans for border controls and crackdowns.
Dr. Rhetta Moran, speaking for RAPAR on BBC Radio responded to the key points of the home secretary's speech and can be found below:
Click Here to access the MP3
Join us in Calais. Refugees are welcome here.
RAPAR will be joining Stand up to Racisms delegation to Calais showing refugees that they are welcome here in England counter to the words of the Home Secretary. If you would like to help there are a number of ways to do so:
Government Guidance on Sudan and the Treatment of persons involved in ‘sur place’ activity in the UK
The Home Office has released a new document detailing the governments guidance to home office decision makers. The document details the likelihood of claimants being granted asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave. It also clarifies whether, in the event of a claim being refused, it is likely to be certifiable as 'clearly unfounded' under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
To access the document, please follow the link below.
Country Information and Guidance - Sudan: Treatment of persons involved in ‘sur place’ activity in the UK
COURT VICTORY YESTERDAY BUT WOMAN, 17, HAS DISAPPEARED SINCE MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL USED COURTS TO BREAK UP ST ANNE’S SQUARE HOMELESS CAMP
Homeless Movement challenging Manchester City Council
“Having being involved in the homeless camps from day one, today as given me hope! However, we are very worried about Shanice Romanienko.”
(Wesley Dove, 30, born in Beswick, Homeless)
“You don't even pass the starting gate…There are nine inches of paperwork beside me... A wholly inappropriate way to proceed in litigation that seeks to deprive citizens of their liberty.”
(Judge Gore QC to Barrister Arron Walthall for Manchester City Council (MCC))
“Now, can I stop worrying about facing jail? I didn’t choose to be homeless and don’t want to be punished for having nowhere.”
(Nathan (Stretch) Cary, 29, born in Moston, Homeless)
“The Victory, though glorious, is Pyrrhic. Do MCC intend to issue a fresh application to commit my clients to prison? If yes, legal arguments must be properly aired. If no, by 10am tomorrow, they should apply to County Court for the injunction order to be discharged immediately. We are waiting.”
(Ben Taylor, WTB Solicitor acting for three of the seven Defendants)
When they created their camp in Albert Square seven months ago (April 2015), the isolated, homeless people who gathered together, away from doorways, alleyways and pavements in Manchester’s City Centre, felt safe for the first time.
Previously, as overwhelmingly young and individual homeless people, they had not been able to protect themselves but, once they formed a group, they began to look out for each other, and the passing public began to see them differently: offering solidarity from food and money, to kind words and active caring.
Around seven of the young people who have joined the camps at different times have been teenage women. One of them, Shanice Romanienko, 17, turned up and stayed on the camp in St Anne’s Square for three or four weeks. Wesley explains:
“She told us that she had a step dad who kept battering her mum and that was why she left home. She was safe with us on the camp. We think she was from Preston. When the camp got broken up she disappeared straight away. We haven’t been able to find her. Last week, Lifeshare posted her picture as a missing person in their offices in Houldsworth Street. We ask anyone with any information about Shanice to contact us through RAPAR.”
The human cost of MCC’s legal approach cuts very deep. Judge Gore reminded those present yesterday that, by pursuing the issue through the courts, MCC was just “...moving the problem from Albert Square to .... Mancunian Way“.
Ben Taylor, WTB Solicitor for three of the Defendants - Wesley, Ross and Nathan(aka “Stretch”) - who were facing committal to prison yesterday for allegedly breaching the terms of the injunction order, was delighted that His Honour, Judge Gore QC dismissed the application:
“The application was so flawed that the judge felt that he had choice... The degree of incompetence displayed by the Council in issuing such a cack-handed application is breath-taking.
The injunction remains in force. Because of the Council’s ineptitude, my clients have been denied their opportunity to challenge the order. My clients’ liberty was at stake. These are serious matters. The Council should have treated it as such.”
One of those clients, Ross Irving, 27, and originally from Wythenshawe describes:
“Our first victory and about time. Now let’s see if everyone can pull together and END homelessness in Manchester once and for all.”
Another homeless young man who was in court yesterday, but not named on the injunction, is Michael Coughlan, 26. Born in Wythenshawe, in and out of care as a child and prison as an adult, he is reflecting on the result and calls upon the public to:
“Support housing for the homeless today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.”
This morning, longstanding homeless camp supporter Salford UNISON pledged:
“Salford City Unison will continue to stand with the oppressed until we get a compassionate response to this housing crisis. I would all who support the homeless to demonstrate on Sunday 4th to say No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights.” (Ameen Hadi, Treasurer)
And today Wesley, having spent yet another night on the street, says:
“The Council can’t keep punishing the homeless. Let’s end homelessness once and for all. We need to help each other. I want my name off this injunction order and I will not stop until that happens.”
RAPAR notes that Manchester Evening News is carrying an ONLINE ONLY report in which Councillor Murphy, MCC executive member for neighbourhoods, is quoted as saying: “We’re now working with our partners to develop our strategy around homelessness in the city.” (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/councils-bid-jail-people-living-10171163)
RAPAR is aware that MCC is working with a number of charities, and has even found the money to employ someone, to talk about how to deal with homelessness in the city. We are dismayed though that, at no point, did the Council see fit to formally approach either any of the street homeless camps people themselves - or us - for involvement.
The order that District Judge Matharu of Manchester’s Civil Justice courts approved on Friday 31st July 2015 forbids people from “erecting and/or occupying tents or other movable temporary forms of accommodation for the purposes of or in connection with protests or similar events arising from or connected with the Claimant’s [Manchester City Council’s] homeless policy on land”, within a specified area of the city “without the Claimant’s consent or the consent of the lawful occupier of the land.” The order goes on to define what is NOT INCLUDED AS MOVEABLE TEMPORARY FORMS OF ACCOMMODATION i.e. ACCORDING TO THE ORDER, ANYONE IS ALLOWED TO SLEEP IN THE CITY IF WE USE:
a. Sleeping bags / blankets; b. Cardboard boxes; c. Benches; d. Doorways; e. Bus shelters; f. Hostel accommodation; g. Overnight charity accommodation (Claim Number BO2MA238)
For further information contact Dr Rhetta Moran: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07776264646 Please keep your eye on www.rapar.org.uk for updates
Four out of the seven people charged, currently represented
“Sunday’s March is an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with the homeless in Manchester, in Calais... wherever they are!”
The first hearing of Manchester City Council’s application to commit homeless individuals to prison has been listed to be heard on 30th September 2015 at 10.30am at Manchester County Court.
Unlike the last hearing in September, the matter has to be heard before a Circuit Judge (a higher ranking judge than the District Judge who granted the injunction order in the first place).Manchester City Council has agreed that the trial cannot proceed on that day and that the hearing on the 30th should be used as a directions hearing only. This hearing will occur just before the National TUC Demonstration against Austerity and Racism that will take place in Multicultural Manchester on 4th October.
That march will pass the site of the latest physical confrontation when Bailliffs, acting under City Council instructions that had been backed up by the courts and the management of Manchester Metropolitan University - and condemned by the University’s Union UCU (http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2927) - attempted to break up one of the camps on Oxford Road that has become known as The Ark. In fact,
the homeless peoples’ tents are now pitched up at the fence under the Mancunian Way, on both sides of Oxford Road, where British Citizens live on the street alongside Eastern Europeans.
RAPAR chair, Manjeet Kaur is seeking asylum from Afghanistan and has successfully fought against being made homeless in Manchester herself (http://www.rapar.org.uk/manjeet-must-stay-in-the-uk.html). RAPAR will be part of a national Stand Up To Racism delegation to Calais on 17th October (http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/) and Manjeet says:
“The homeless people in tents in Manchester are, like the homeless people in tents in Calais, fighting for the right to live with dignity and respect. Sunday’s March is an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with the homeless in Manchester, in Calais... wherever they are! We must Stand up To Racism.”
The homeless trial is likely to be heard in about 6 weeks time and will take two days of court time. Four Defendants are represented and have been granted Legal Aid. One of the lawyers acting for two of the Defendants, Ben Taylor of WBT solicitors, says:
“The clients intend to defend the proceedings and they will vigorously dispute the Council’s application in every aspect. This is a very serious matter as it could result in the seven defendants being committed to prison for any period up to two years.”
RAPAR’S call of 18th August 2015 for the Council to disclose what housing stock they actually have remains unanswered. Further, at this time, the instructions under which council workers are being directed to operate and who is issuing them remains unknown.
The order that District Judge Matharu of Manchester’s Civil Justice courts approved on Friday 31st July 2015 forbids people from “erecting and/or occupying tents or other movable temporary forms of accommodation for the purposes of or in connection with protests or similar events arising from or connected with the Claimant’s [Manchester City Council’s] homeless policy on land”, within a specified area of the city “without the Claimant’s consent or the consent of the lawful occupier of the land.”
The order goes on to define what is NOT INCLUDED AS MOVEABLE TEMPORARY FORMS OF ACCOMMODATION i.e. ACCORDING TO THE ORDER, ANYONE IS ALLOWED TO SLEEP IN THE CITY IF WE USE:
a. Sleeping bags / blankets
b. Cardboard boxes
e. Bus shelters
f. Hostel accommodation
g. Overnight charity accommodation
(Claim Number BO2MA238)
Manchester City Council’s (MCC) latest court application aims to commit people in Manchester to prison for protesting about the housing crisis that is effecting every major city in the country. They want the courts to enforce the injunction order.
On Friday 29th August, having been informed by the City Council that they “consider the camp on the Land to be a continuation of protests against MCC’s homeless policy... since 19 April 2015”, Manchester Metropolitan University(MMU) issued a Notice to “All Persons occupying the tents on land...adjacent to Oxford Road underneath the Mancunian Way in the City of Manchester” telling them “leave the Land (HM Land Registry Title No GM688237) forthwith” or MMU will “commence court proceedings”. This document, dated 27th August 2015, is signed by Addelshaw Goddard LLP on behalf of MMU.
For further information contact: Dr Rhetta Moran: email@example.com/ 07776264646
Please keep your eye on www.rapar.org.uk for updates
Join RAPAR during Tory Party Conference week and help us stand up to racism with a week of events.
Friday 2nd October - 7pm to 3am
A celebration of musical diversity with spoken word, live performances and djs playing soul, disco, hip hop, reggae and drum and bass.
Sunday 4th October - 12 Noon
Join the stand up to Racism contingent on the TUC and Peoples assembly anti-austerity demonstration.
Starts 12 Noon
For more information on the rally including where to meet, click the link below.
Tuesday 6th October, 5:30 PM
Stand up to Racism protest at the Tory party conference.
Tueday 6th October, 7PM to 10PM
Stand up to Racism Rally. Dancehouse Theatre, Oxford Road.
AND MANCHESTER’S RESPONSE....
“I am the Daughter of a Migrant - who was the Daughter of a Migrant. I Stand Up to Racism.”
Moss Side’s Hideaway Youth Project, Zahra Alijah, Chair
“Manchester’s Stand Up to Racism Group provides a forum for all those working to oppose different aspects of racism in Manchester.”
National Trade Union Congress, Wilf Sullivan, Equality Officer
“This is an immense humanitarian crisis and all the Tories can offer is insult, fences and extra security.”
Salford UNISON, Ameen Hadi, Treasurer
“It is vital that we continue to learn about and challenge the racism that violates our human rights
In Calais.... And Here in the UK.”
RAPAR, Mohamed Al Halengy, Refugee
National Equality Officer, Wilf Sullivan (pictured 2nd from right of leading SUTR banner at the top of Market Street) has pledged Trade Union Congress (TUC) support for Manchester’s Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) movement that is planning a series of high profile activities in the run up to, during, and beyond the forthcoming Conservative Party Conference being held at GMEX from 4th to 7th October (https://conservativepartyconference.com/index).
In a statement to SUTR Wilf said:
“The TUC supports the formation of the Manchester Stand Up to Racism Group which provides a forum for all those working to oppose different aspects of racism in Manchester. The TUC welcomes its work to highlight support for asylum seekers and opposition to racism by organising an anti racism block at the TUC’s national demonstration at the Conservative Party Conference on Sunday 4th October 2015.”
In specific reference to the refugee crisis, Wilf explained:
“The outrageous disregard for human life shown by European Governments - including our own - in the face of refugees fleeing form war and disaster in the middle east and Eastern Africa demonstrates more than ever why we need to stand up to racism.”
His comments have been amplified by the Chair of the Hideaway Youth Project, one of the cities oldest resources for our young people that stands at the heart of Moss Side. Manchester University lecturer, Zahra Alijah observes:
“It is history that judges us. How do we want to be judged when we look back on the greatest displacement of human beings since the second world war? How do we want to be judged when we mourn the loss of so many innocent children, women and men drowned or suffocated because they wanted to live a life free of torture and conflict? When we struggle to live on an ever more meagre pension and pay for health care because there are not enough people of working age in this country, what will we think?”
At a packed meeting last night in the City Centre, (picture attached), an overwhelmingly young gathering discussed coordination of its future anti-racist work to expose the treatment of refugees here and in Calais, as well as the cuts in general. This includes plans for Manchester’s anti racist feeder march that will move off from Moss Side onto the national demonstration on the 4th.
Listening to a description from one young Mancunian who has recently returned from front line work to aid refugees reaching Turkey, the meeting decided to send a Manchester delegation on the next National Stand Up to Racism Calais trip, scheduled for 17th October (https://www.facebook.com/events/414416915416326/). This call for Solidarity has come from the Calais refugees themselves.
Mohamed Al Halengy is a leading member of RAPAR, the Manchester based human rights organisation already committed to the 17th October delegation to Calais. In 2001, one of its founding members - Abdullah Rahmatullah - who was himself a refugee, reached Britain from Afghanistan on a lorry via Calais. Mohamed, a Sudanese refugee himself says:
“Now we are seeing hundreds and thousands of people like Abdullah, fleeing from everything and everyone they know and love. Their countries are in turmoil because of destructive forces that have been mobilised to protect the interests of the 1%. The push factors that create refugees and economic migrants are essentially the same.”
Ameen Hadi, Convener of Manchester Stand Up to Racism and Treasurer of Salford Unison that has also already committed to the 17th October Calais delegation says:
“This is an immense humanitarian crisis and all the Tories can offer is insult, fences and extra security. If even a fraction of that effort was put to supporting these human beings they would not be dying in leaky boats, suffocating in vans and being treated like criminals at Calais. That is why Stand up to Racism is supporting the TUC protest in Manchester on Sunday 4th October and has called a protest on Tuesday 6th October at 17.30 outside the Tory Party Conference. We will demand that the Government let these people in and stop further racist policies that seek to attack Muslims and migrants. For these reasons we will be supporting the National Day of Solidarity on October 17th.”
For further information contact Ameen Hadi on 07557281471, Nahella Ashraf on 07988572976 or Dr Rhetta Moran on firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, RAPAR's Vice Chair, Abiola Famakinwa, spoke at Manchester's Refugees Welcome Here rally in Piccadilly Gardens organised by Stand Up To Racism...
In 2001, Abdullah Ramhatullah was an Afghan man from a working family of mechanics who lived in downtown Kabul. He was the youngest son, and his family sold their garage to get the money together to get him out. He walked and was trucked overland and, eventually he got into Britain on a lorry via Calais. When he claimed asylum, he was forcibly dispersed to the flats in Salford Precinct.
In the October of 2001 he came to RAPAR’s first meeting and he became a founding member of RAPAR.
In early 2002, Manchester Immigration Officers snatched him off the Salford Streets, kept him in Manchester Airport for 5 days, along with 14 other men and women who were there at the time, with no natural light and no natural ventilation. Then they deported him to Austria - which is where they had their first record of his fingerprints in Europe.
But we refused to let go of Abdullah.
When they took him off the plane in Vienna to transport him to a camp in the mountain, people in Vienna - who we had made contact with when he was snatched - managed to get a phone sim card into his hand as he was escorted from the airport terminal to the camp bus.
We never let go of him.
Our newly formed contacts - in Vienna - kept on visiting Abdullah and managed to get him transferred into the City. Abdullah Rahmatullah eventually became an Austrian citizen.
That was almost 15 years ago.
Now we are seeing hundreds and thousands of people like Abdullah, fleeing from everything and everyone they know and love. They are coming from countries that are in turmoil because of destructive forces that have been mobilised to protect the interests of global multinationals and a tiny ruling elite - the 1%. The push factors that create refugees and the push factors that create people who are labelled as economic migrants are essentially the same:
A history of occupation by colonisers who, when they eventually were forced to leave, failed to honour any of their promises to the countries they had occupied and ravaged
The ongoing systematic exploitation of natural wealth for profit - the blood diamonds of Congo for example.
The geopolitical value of where there country physically is in the world, so that Western dominators can have bases and launchpads and intelligence centres.
As we move forward together from today, stronger in the connections that we are making with each other through this movement’s Multicultural Manchester launch, it is vital that we continue to learn about, expose and challenge how the racism that is violating our human rights is being rolled out.
This is happening - using information technology - through:
the housing, children’s services, healthcare, policing and education that are being delivered through the media management of misinformation that tries to make us hate the stranger and - if we are in work - through laws being introduced that say we must become quasi immigration officials on top of everything else that we are supposed to do when we work. For example, financial incentives are being introduced for hospital trusts to identify people’s immigration status. They will be financially rewarded if they do finger people - and fined if they don’t.
WE SAY THAT THE REFUGEES WHO ARE ON THE BORDERS OF THE UK ARE WELCOME HERE,
and at the same time, in the same breath, we say
STAND UP TO THE RACISM THAT IS VIOLATING THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES WHO ARE ALREADY HERE.
”It’s a vital part of standing up against Austerity.”
BAFTA nominee, Nico Mirallegro
“It means Unity, not Division... Understanding and Empowerment rather than Fear and Hatred.”
Coronation Street Star, Julie Hesmondhalgh
“I’m saying No!”
Radio One DJ and Actor, Cel Spellman
“Look at the recent Refugee Crisis. Why have the Tory Party been so adamant about the lack of support and help? For me, it boils down to Racism.”
- Coronation Street Stars and Crew donating to Stand Up to Racism for Calais Refugees. ITV studios, Salford Quays, 1pm, Thursday 10th September.
- National Day of Action in Support of Refugees. Saturday, 12th September, 1.30pm, Manchester Piccadilly Gardens (Rallies all over UK).
- Plans for Calais delegation, 17th October, include Manchester refugees.
In the run up to the Tory Party Conference in Manchester during the first week of October, Greater Manchester based actors have Stood Up to Racism and backed this coming Saturday’s (12 Sept) launch that is part of a National Day to Support Refugees.
As we face the largest refugee crisis since World War Two, Manchester’s Stand Up to Racism launch event this Saturday will be concentrating on how people from here can reach out to the refugees who are already here, alongside those in Calais.
At the People’s Assembly rally last night in the city centre, hundreds gathered to hear speeches urging everyone to get onto Multicultural Manchester’s streets next month and make it crystal clear to the Tories that this city is against both the Austerity and the Racism that goes hand in hand with it.
Sol, who will be at the Stand Up to Racism launch this Saturday, and who lives in Whalley Range, explains:
“I hope that Saturday will really drive home that racism and the ongoing refugee crisis are an intrinsic part of government policy to deliver austerity and so, Manchester, we must Stand Up To Racism.”
In the run up to Saturday, the cast and crew of Coronation Street will be donating to Stand Up to Racism’s next trip to Calais trip, scheduled for 17th October and which will include a Manchester delegation.
'In Calais we are working with L'Auberge des Migrants and Secours Catholique,' explains Ameen Hadi from Stand Up To Racism. 'They have specifically requested men's shoes, sizes 6 to 11 (trainers or walking) and men's clothes: sweatshirts,
jackets, trousers, socks and ask people to think camping! - sleeping bags and tents - Candles or camping lights – backpacks – Bikes. They do not need clothes for women or children, except shoes (trainers) sizes 4-6 . And they need cash so they can buy food as needed.’
Saturday’s Speak Out and Protest on Saturday will be followed by a meeting to coordinate future support and protest against the racism that is used to justify the treatment of refugees here and in Calais, as well as the cuts in general.
For further information contact Ameen Hadi on 07557281471, Nahella Ashraf on 07988572976 or Dr Rhetta Moran on email@example.com
Tweet #Migrant Lives Matter Speak Out
THE widow of a murdered Nigerian journalist hopes to begin a new chapter of her life in Wigan after her family was granted the right to stay.
Abiola Famakinwa has been given temporary leave to remain in the UK following a desperate battle to claim asylum.
She fled her African homeland with her three children after her husband, one of Nigeria’s top investigative reporters, died in suspicious circumstances while investigating a story in the northern Nigerian state of Borno.
She and her family now have the right to stay in the UK for two and a half years, and at a time when asylum seeking is a hot topic which has been criticised by the public and elected officials - with Greater Manchester mayor Tony Lloyd claiming last week the region was taking too many asylum seekers - the Famakinwas’ story is a reminder both of the perils that drive people to flee their homeland and the difficulties they face in staying in a new country.
Abiola spoke of how well her children have settled in the borough and her gratitude towards Wiganers who have supported her campaign.
Abiola said: “I am excited and happy. All along it has been a challenge to really settle in the UK but this brings a kind of relief because the threat of deportation is no longer there.
“Wigan people are very friendly, although some have found it hard to welcome us. My children don’t want to move, they have integrated into the school system and have made friends here. I didn’t want to uproot them as we have made Wigan our home. I want them to be happy because they have lost the most important man in their life.
“I wish the right to remain could have been longer but this is a starting point for me and my children. We have been given this opportunity and we want to maximise it and contribute.”
Abiola claimed asylum after studying biomedical science in Surrey because her application for a work permit was refused, with the family being allocated to Wigan to await the outcome of their case.
Abiola and other Nigerian reporters believe Samuel, a newsman for This Day, was murdered for his investigative journalism, with researchers uncovering the Borno governor’s links to extremist group Boko Haram. The family had previously been threatened and their home broken into.
As asylum seekers are forbidden to work Abiola has been volunteering with human rights organisation Rapar, which has supported her campaign to remain, and as a receptionist at a Hindley care centre.
However, being granted temporary leave is creating challenges of its own for the Famakinwas, as Abiola is currently searching for somewhere to live and trying to get into employment. She said: “We’re looking for somewhere else to live as we will have to move out of the temporary accommodation we were given when we moved to this community.
“I am also actively looking for a job. I’m a medical scientist so I’ve contacted most of the agencies I know and I’m also applying to the NHS.
“I really enjoy the volunteering, I get to meet people who otherwise would be working but have to care for their loved ones or friends. Their whole lives have been changed and when I help out and see their smiles it gives me joy in my heart.
“In the future I want to be able to contribute to national health care. I don’t know what the future holds but that’s my aspiration.” Abiola says she is currently concentrating on building her family’s new life in Wigan rather than dividing her attention between the UK and any attempts to bring Samuel’s alleged killers to justice back in Nigeria.
She said: “It’s difficult to think of the future at the moment with the restrictions we still have. My daughter will be sitting her GCSEs and hopes to go to uni, so it’s going to be a very sensitive time for her.
“Hopefully she will be assisted with that as she may have to pay international fees with the limited leave to remain.
“I want to move on with my life for these few years I have been given here. I want to look forward rather than going back to what I ran away from and bringing back what is emotionally traumatic for me.”
Abiola’s campaign for asylum has been backed by groups including the Wigan branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Wigan Diggers Festival as well as Manchester-based organisation Rapar, which paid tribute to her determination.
Charity matron Dr Rhetta Moran said: “At this time there are so many people seeking asylum who are being very badly treated outside the borders of this country. There are so many people inside the borders who have also suffered along with their families at the hands of the British state.
“Abiola and her three children have endured terrible experiences and their courage has never faltered. They are a great example of never giving up, believing in themselves and finding people who would show solidarity with them.”
See the original article here.