Tamil youth under the banner of ‘Refugees Right’, a campaign initiated by Tamil Solidarity, marched alongside tens of thousands of people in central London in a demo organised by ‘Solidarity with Refugees’ – an umbrella organisation of various organisations, campaigners, actor and actresses. It was a highly energised and youthful demo that had a variety of colourful placards and slogans of “No-one if illegal”, “stop the drowning”, etc. Amongst these slogans, the banner of ‘Refugees Rights’ and the demands of ‘Allowed to work’, ‘stop deportation’ and ‘Free the refugees’ stood out.
The current governments across the globe are continuing to treating refugees as criminals and denying them of basic human rights. In the UK, there is an increase in the number of refugees being arrested, and put in detention camps. There is also no official statistics on the number of those being deported suddenly with no time for them to appeal their individual cases. These individuals, including many political refugees, are then deported back to the same countries they were fleeing from because of war, repression and poverty. This is effect is sending them to their death.
For those that are not yet deported, their lives are put on a hold until the Home office decided their fate. They are denied the right to work which exposes them to being exploited by businesses that employ them on an illegal wage. They are also closely watched and in some cases they are asked to report every monthly or even weekly.
UNHRC global trends reports that there are a 65.3 million people displaced across the globe the by the end of 2015 – when measured this against the world population, one in every 113 people are either asylum seekers, internally displaced or a refugees. UNHRC reported that the primary cause of increase is because of wars and repression. The Syrian war alone has left 4.9 million refugees in 2015.
These wars are a direct result of the foreign policies of countries that puts their own self- interest above the interest of innocent lives.
British government, for example, have voted to Iraq war and to bomb of Syria against the wish of millions of people, who have marched and protested against imperialist intervention. Vast amount of money is then spent on invading and bombing countries that is fuelling this crisis. Instead of stopping the bombing the UK ministers have now decided they are going to spend a further £17 million pounds to build a big Calais wall in to stop refugees coming in to Britain. These cruel policies are not going to solve the refugees’ crisis or going to discourage desperate individuals trying to save their lives. With wars, repressive regimes and poverty increasing, the number of refugees is going to continue to increase.
In 2015, a million people have tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea and 4,000 of them died in the dangerous journey. This year more than 3,200 migrant have already died and the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000 by the end of the year. It is outrageous that the British government continue to oppose rescue mission in the Mediterranean saying that this would encourage more to cross the sea. The death toll has been rising by a huge amount since the rescue missions were ended in October 2014.
For the refugees that have managed to make through the journey alive they are then faced with the reality of the new situation they are in. They might have escaped the violence they face at home but they are then faced with lack of jobs, home and services available. Huge austerity measures across Europe mean they will struggle to get a decent life. They are also now subject to anti-migrant attack that the right wing governments and media are fuelling to create division amongst communities. They are trying to blame migrants and refugees rather than their policies and austerity.
Next week, US president Barack Obama will host a leaders’ summit, to which Theresa May is going, intended to raise funds for refugee initiatives and expanded resettlement programmes. These leaders might get together to discuss this but they will not be able to come up with long-term solutions. The fact that this ‘leaders’ meeting includes the president and prime ministers of countries that are at the forefront of bombing Syria is an indication of this.
We have to put pressure of the government to stop spending money on bombs and walls that are killing people and to spend them on resources and services needed to make sure that a decent life is given to all.
Tamil Solidarity supports refugees’ rights and demands that they are stop treated as criminals. We demand that they are given the right to work and to stop deporting. We also condemn the British government bombing in Syria.