Socialist Worker

Solidarity with the victims of Section 9

by Mark Krantz chair, Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers
Issue No. 1967

Up to 5,000 refugees face eviction from their homes, all their benefits and support removed and their family split apart as social services take their children into care.

This is the new Section 9 legislation designed by Labour to help reach Blair’s “target numbers” for the removals of refugee people who have been refused asylum in Britain. But a 100 strong meeting in Manchester last week saw the beginnings of a rebellion which could sink this legislation.

“We fled the Congo because soldiers were looking for my dad,” explained 16 year old Florence Sukula. “He had to flee. We love living in England. It is not human to send us back. We will get killed and my brother will have to become a soldier.”

Her mother bears the scars of beatings at the hands of the government militia in the Congo. Now it is the British government that wants to tear her family of six children apart.

The Altaf family, and the Khanali family have joined up with the Sukula family to resist Section 9.

So far Bolton, Rochdale and Salford council have not gone ahead with evictions due to their responsibilities under the Children Act.

A rebellion is growing among those expected to implement the legislation. Social worker Florence Okolo, who won her own campaign to stay in Britain ten years ago, said, “We do not take children away when we see parents love their children.”

John, another social worker, said, “It was very easy to get agreement from my section to refuse to implement Section 9. We need to send a clear message throughout the union that we will support any worker who makes a stand.”

Campaigners are confident we can sink Section 9 before it is implemented across Britain.

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Article information

Sat 10 Sep 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1967
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