Socialist Worker

Refugee killed by racist laws

Issue No. 1744

Refugee killed by racist laws

ANOTHER REFUGEE died on Thursday of last week trying to get into Britain in the face of New Labour's crackdown on refugees. The asylum seeker jumped on top of the Eurostar train as it passed into the Channel Tunnel and was electrocuted.

Desperate refugees are resorting to "illegal" routes into Britain like hiding in trains or lorries travelling from France because New Labour has shut down other options. Many of them have come from the holding centre for asylum seekers in Sangatte, five miles outside Calais port.

Tory shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe wanted to use a visit to the centre last week to raise the profile of the Tories' anti-refugee campaign in the run-up to the election.

But her plans were scuppered after the French authorities cancelled her visit. Widdecombe's trip shows that the Tories are totally ignoring their pledge to keep racism out of the election.


Bodies in the desert

THE TORIES claim refugees head for Britain because it is a "soft touch". The real reasons are war and poverty. People trek through the Sahara desert to escape poverty in Africa. Ken Umoli, a Nigerian refugee, described in last week's Observer how he and other refugees were forced to leave a fellow traveller to die when he ran out of water. "There are a lot of bodies in that desert. They are all Africans heading for Europe," said Ken.

Some 3,000 people are estimated to have died over the last three years trying to get into Europe in tiny boats across the Straits of Gibraltar. There are rows of unmarked graves in the public cemetery in Tarifa in Spain for corpses washed up on the shore.

Nigerian refugee Ossas Osula is one of the lucky few who managed to get to Tarifa alive. "I don't want to be a millionaire. I don't want to be a billionaire. I just want a job and to live like other people live-to live life like a human being," he said.


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News
Sat 21 Apr 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1744
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