Socialist Worker

‘Going back isn’t possible’ —refugee slams new rules

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2545

Britain is responsible for destroying Iraq—forcing people to go back is rank hypocrisy

Britain is responsible for destroying Iraq—forcing people to go back is rank hypocrisy (Pic: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)


The Home Office quietly pulled the rug out from under thousands of refugees with new rules last week.

A “safe country review” five years after they are granted asylum could see them sent back to the place they fled.

Amyna, then aged 16, fled the Iraqi city of Mosul with her family and made it to Britain two years ago. The city was devastated by the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Amyna was finally allowed to stay last month. “After two years I can’t imagine going back,” she told Socialist Worker.

“In another five years what do they expect me to even remember about my country?”

People who have fled war and persecution don’t put their lives on hold forever waiting for the Home Office to make its mind up.

“I became a part of this community,” said Amyna. “I’ve made friends and built relationships. I spend my time studying and learning the language.

“But I don’t have any contact with anyone back there. For young people who come and live here it’s also very difficult to go back home now we have a different way of life.”

Theresa May announced the review in her speech to the Conservative Party conference last year and it was implemented last week.

Previously after five years of refugee status people could automatically get the right to settle in Britain permanently.

Repression

But May has made repression of migrants and refugees her defining policy—even facing down bitter opposition to block the “Dubs amendment” scheme for unaccompanied refugee minors.

The whole policy is built on a lie that immigrants and refugees are a drain on resources. In reality their labour is desperately needed.

Amyna said, “They should think about whether they will need those young people in the future. Most of us will study and work.”

The safe country review adds to the asylum system’s culture of disbelief. Refugees must prove they are in danger to officials who are trained to assume they are lying.

The rules are all stacked against them.

Amyna said, “If Iraq becomes a safe place for me to live in, I will voluntarily resettle there. But safety in that part of the world is selective.”

Britain deported dozens and denied asylum to hundreds of Iraqis last year—even as British troops return to fight in Mosul.

The hypocrisy is astounding. As a leading participant in the US-led invasion and occupation, the British state is responsible for creating the sectarian hell Iraq has become.

Amyna said, “Ever since the American invasion of 2003 Iraqis lost even the little freedom they had previously.

“Contrary to the American promise of democracy, I believe that their intentions from the beginning were to bring us to where we are now.

“I have no hope for Iraq, and no faith in American rhetoric. Things can only get worse. Too much blood has been shed and the stream will continue.”

Welcoming refugees is one of the key demands of the anti-racist demonstrations in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and cities across Europe this Saturday. The cruel safe country review is another reason to march.

Amyna said, “Going back is not possible.”


Protesting to end detention

Protesters rallied outside two notorious detention centres last weekend to demand that these migrant prisons are shut down.

The Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees protested at the Dungavel centre last Sunday.

The government dropped its promise to close Dungavel after campaigners blocked the building of a replacement.

Saturday saw a protest at Morton Hall in Lincolnshire following a series of deaths in custody there.


Racist murder by our border

A 20 year old man from Afghanistan was killed by Britain’s border regime last Saturday morning. He was trying to cross into Britain from the French port of Dunkirk.

When the lorry he stowed in went in the wrong direction, he jumped from it and later died from his injuries.

 


Acts love music and hate racism

Artists Ed Sheeran and Stormzy gave a boost to the relaunch of Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) on Monday.

It took place alongside a last push to build for Saturday’s Stand Up To Racism demonstrations.

A day of action last Thursday saw thousands of leaflets handed out. A 100-strong rally in west London rounded off a nationwide series.

Go to bit.ly/2mnfoGJ for more information about LMHR

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