- Rubber bullets being fired on the “bunch of migrants” in Calais
- “[The last time] 400,000 prisoners were in camps [in Europe] it was during the period of Nazism... no other period in all of history… The refugees are not prisoners, they have rights.”(Greek Migration Minister, Yiannis Mouzalas)
- “The use of tear gas, rubber bullets and physical force, such as I experienced, is insupportable when dealing with people who are dispossessed." (Julie Ward, North West Labour MEP)
Last Thursday, the day after Holocaust Memorial Day, one of the Prime Minister’s “bunch of migrants” in Calais, Mohamed, an Afghan father of a toddler girl, sent RAPAR photographs (attached) of rubber bullet wounds that he described as sustained by Calais Refugee Camp residents, AKA “the bunch”. Mohamed had already signed the Stand Up To Racism Pledge, for the Refugee Voice of the camp, http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/2015/12/843/, alongside Julie Ward Labour MEP for the NW England, Ali from the European Lampadusa Network and Islington Councillor Micheline, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/show-solidarity-with-refugees-uk-calais-and-europe.
Then, the Greek Migration Minister, Yiannis Mouzalas reminded us all (20.41 minutes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06z8fm6/newsnight-26012016)
“400,000 prisoners in camps, period of Nazism... no other period in all of history…the refugees are not prisoners, they have rights.”
On Sunday, RAPAR received more photographs (attached), this time of a rubber bullet case picked up by Mohamed near the motorway bridge entrance to the Camp between 2-3 pm, and the hand of an 18 year old, injured during that shooting spree. This now forms part of the ‘squalid and dangerous conditions’ described on the Pledge, that are being endured by 6000 children and adult refugees living in this white-asbestos riddled, open sewer, bordering Britain.
Cllr. Obaid Khan, 41, London Borough of Newham, who added his signature to the pledge on 23rd January, the same day as opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott MP visited Calais, explains:
"I spoke to many young refugees aged between 10 to 15 who were unaccompanied, exhausted and terrified. They said that they wanted to live, go to school to learn… just like any young children. They also told me that they had no access to doctors, dentists or hospitals, very limited access to food… shocking for me to see all this in 21st century Europe.”
Developing her commitment as a Pledge signatory - to redouble her efforts in calling for the British Government to intervene, to stop further camp deaths, and allow the people there to make their refugee claims in the country where they want to be - is an example of
An anti-racist campaigner who, as a NW England Labour candidate, replaced Nazi Nick Griffin in the European elections in May 2014, Julie is now the European Parliamentary Labour Party's spokesperson on Culture, Education, Arts, Sport and Citizenship.
During Stand Up To Racism’s visit to meet refugees in December 2015, Julie was physically prevented from leaving the Calais camp by armed riot police. The incident is now being referred to the French authorities. Julie says:
"If a democratically elected official - such as myself - receives such appalling treatment at the hands of the riot police, what are they prepared to do to the camp inhabitants? The refugees should be protected from the extreme right wing who lurk on the fringes of the camp, and vulnerable camp inhabitants should be given the humanitarian assistance they need.
The use of tear gas, rubber bullets and physical force, such as I experienced, is insupportable when dealing with people who are dispossessed."
Trade Union delegate from the original Pledge launch at the camp’s “Dome” on 13th December 2015, Umjum Mirza, ASLEF, Assistant Branch Secretary, Victoria Line, London Underground, reacted as follows:
“We need to learn the lessons of history and let the Refugees into Britain immediately.”
Political scientist and Holocaust historian, Raul Hilberg, traced that the phrase 'Never Again' first appeared on handmade signs put up by inmates at Buchenwald in April 1945, shortly after its liberation by US forces. We must all honour their slogan.
See follow up news articles here: