Socialist Worker

No refuge here for Iraqi victims

Issue No. 1829

THE SUN and Daily Mail were cheering this week at the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp in France. The same papers that attacked the striking firefighters also run hate campaigns against refugees.

They don't care that refugee families, desperate to flee persecution and war, will again be forced to sleep rough on the streets in France. David Blunkett, the home secretary, boasted that the deal would solve the 'problem' of the Sangatte refugees.

He wants to prove how brutal New Labour is to refugees. The deal 'effectively pushes our border controls across the Channel to the French coast', he said in parliament, to ensure that New Labour can hound refugees in other countries. Blunkett has echoed all the lies about refugees pumped out by the Sun and Daily Mail.

These papers automatically brand refugees as 'bogus' and 'scroungers'. Yet the majority of refugees in Sangatte are from Iraq and Afghanistan. Refugees from Iraq still make up the single largest group coming to Britain. New Labour was eager to show graphic videos of the persecution Iraqis have faced under Saddam Hussein's regime to justify a war on Iraq. Jack Straw said that 'Iraq is a terrifying place to live'.

But the government does not want to offer Iraqis any escape from that torture and a right to asylum in Britain. Instead Blunkett has said the 1,200 refugees from Sangatte will only be allowed into Britain on temporary work permits. The government is happy to exploit them as cheap labour or use them to plug a hole in the job market.

But it won't stop fuelling the witch-hunt against refugees which the right wing press and Tories eagerly join.

A VICIOUS racist attack in the Sighthill area of Glasgow on Friday of last week left Iranian refugee Masood Gomroki badly injured.

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Sat 7 Dec 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1829
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