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LETTERS—Migrants are being left to die in the sea while the EU watches

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Issue 2660
Refugees face dangerous sea crossings
Refugees face dangerous sea crossings (Pic: Fernando Calero/Irin)

Italy passed a law last week that allows it to fine any person who rescues refugees at sea up to £44,000.

People who continue to ignore this law risk having their boats taken off them.

It’s the latest shocking consequence of the European Union’s (EU) racist border policies, which deny people legal routes into Europe.

The news comes after it was announced that captain Pia Klemp of German charity Sea Watch could face up to 20 years in jail for rescuing people from drowning in the Mediterranean.

These laws have been passed despite hundreds dying at sea this year from dangerous crossings. Organisations such as Sea Watch can save lives, but are instead criminalised.

Alongside this, 75 refugees, half of whom were children, were rescued on 31 May. But they had to spend the next 20 days at sea as European authorities refused to let them dock.

It’s a disgrace the EU stands by and watches this happen.

Molly Docherty

East London

  • A number of cities around Germany have offered to take in a group of refugees who had been stranded in the Mediterranean.

Yet the central German state has closed the door on them.

What’s the real reason for the German authorities holding back? There is a lot of propaganda about how migrants are not “legitimate”. But the rise of the far right across Europe means forces to the centre have moved to the right.

And now mayors in the cities that offered to take the refugees in—the “Safe Havens” coalition—have received death threats.

And pro-refugee politician Walter Luebcke has been found murdered in his home in what investigators are treating as a far right attack.

In the face of rising far right violence against refugees and those who support them, what does the EU do? Nothing.

Ebony Kingston

South London

Fight to save NHS

For Trump the NHS is on the table, served up for corporate America to take their fill.

We have already seen NHS services sold off, from hip operations to sexual health services. But the prize for the healthcare industry is to cherry pick the £100 billion NHS market.

This will lead to worse services in our hospitals for most of us. Pledges from Tory leadership contenders to defend our NHS aren’t worth a sheet of Trump toilet paper.

We have to go further than parliament. We will need to organise in our workplaces and unions for strikes. We will need to build local campaigns to defend our NHS.

Nick Catlin

East London

  • Despite worries over Trump’s threat to the NHS, privatisation is already happening.

In Wales, the Unison union announced last month that two health boards were considering privatising outpatient pharmacy services. This would affect hospitals across Wales.

This is on top of health boards overspending in the last financial year, by £97.4 million.

Unison’s head of health in Wales, Paul Summers, said, “Patients’ needs will not be a first priority.”

The companies involved are focussed solely on profit, and current plans could lead to further privatisation later on.

Health workers in Wales need to be vigilant about privatisation and more joint campaigns should be mounted in defence of our health service.

Ian Thomas


Care system relies on people working for free

Five hundred people per day in the Britain leave work to become a stay at home carer for a loved one. A crucial aspect of this care work is that it is in the majority of cases unpaid.

It is thought that unpaid carers in Britain are being ripped off to the tune of £119 billion a year. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate.

The social care system is unable to meet demand, leaving the old and vulnerable by the wayside.

Families are forced to pick up the pieces. I have lived this reality for the past three years.

My 83 year old mother requires round the clock the care. I provide unpaid care to her despite having my own disability.

The care provided here in Northern Ireland relies on people working for free.

Katherine May

Northern Ireland

Facebook currency threat to economy

Facebook has just launched a new ­crypto-currency called Libra. If it gets its way it will be coming to our phones next year. ­Facebook’s crypto is a far cry from digital currencies like bitcoin.

These were held up as a way to take back control from banks. Regulators worry Libra could be so successful that it introduces further elements of instability into an already fragile financial system. It could point to the future of money under capitalism, with private companies issuing their own currencies.

Alexander Joseph

Address provided

Westminster’s housing shame

Westminster council is turning away homeless people by boarding up empty properties.

This is the borough where current housing minister Kit Malthouse used to be in charge. That should come as no surprise.

What kind of society do we live in when the most vulnerable in society are treated this way?

Many homeless rely on the goodwill of people to buy them something to eat or drink.

Westminster councillors should hang their heads in shame for deliberately boarding up a space in order to stop homeless people residing there.

After seven years of austerity is it any wonder homelessness has risen?

We need more social housing, not social cleansing.

Jan Sweeney

West London

Innovative Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion’s approach to the cops is pretty informative!

It explains why their book is a collection of anyone who agrees on the scale of climate action needed, regardless of their preferred strategies to achieve it.

Sel Dowd

On Facebook

What’s behind tanker strike?

Why the hell would Iran attack a Japanese tanker?

Japan is one of Iran’s best trading partners.

Also, the Japanese prime minister was in Tehran at the time of the attack.

And why would they attack a Norwegian tanker—another one of Iran’s main trading partners?

John Barrett

On Facebook

Strike to save manufacturing

What we need is a coordinated general strike across all sectors of what’s left of the manufacturing industry in Britain.

Before long we could become history like the mining industry.

Malcolm Clive

On Facebook

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