09 August 2003
THE JURY was still out in the trial against the Yarls Wood refugees as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday. The five defendants left at the end of the three-month trial faced prison terms if found guilty. They were charged after the fire that swept through Yarls Wood centre in Bedfordshire on 14 February last year.
26 July 2003
THE TRIAL of the men charged after last year's fire at the Yarls Wood refugee detention centre has already exposed the myth that refugees have an easy life in Britain. Yarls Wood was Labour's flagship centre, built to hold 900 men, women and children. But it was destroyed by a fire last year. In a document presented at the trial, a custody officer claimed he and his colleagues were ordered to lock the refugees in as the fire swept through the building.
19 July 2003
REFUGEES WHO hoped to find peace and justice in Britain have been grilled by prosecution lawyers in the Yarls Wood trial taking place at Harrow Crown Court. Yarls Wood is New Labour's refugee detention centre in Bedfordshire. After a fire destroyed most of the centre on 14 February last year the refugees were arrested and faced charges including violent disorder. They could be sent to prison.
05 July 2003
PRESSURE FROM local campaigners in Lewisham, South London, has won Tham Sarki, an asylum seeker from wartorn Nepal, a temporary reprieve from deportation. Over 750 letters were written to David Blunkett in support of the Lewisham College student.
28 June 2003
OVER 80 people joined a "free the refugees" rally at Haslar immigration removals centre in Gosport last Sunday. The rally was organised by Portsmouth Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers and supported by campaigners from Southampton, Oxford, Yarls Wood and the No Borders group in Brighton.
21 June 2003
OVER 170 people packed into St Alfege school hall in Whitstable in Kent to hear George Galloway speak on Wednesday of last week. He received warm applause after describing the witch-hunt against him by Blair and the Daily Telegraph. Other speakers included Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition and Aram, an Iraqi refugee.
21 June 2003
OVER 300 people marched in Manchester last Saturday to mark the opening of Refugee Week. They demanded the end of the war on asylum seekers and an end to their destitution. Zeesham Mirza, ten years old and originally from Pakistan, told the rally, "On Wednesday we will be out of our house, there will be no social or anything. My dad is not allowed to work. We have nothing."
14 June 2003
THERE ARE many hundreds of people who could help solve the chronic staff shortages and long waiting lists in the NHS. They are not being used because the press and politicians treat them with hatred and suspicion. They are refugee doctors. The waste of doctors' talent, skills and energy is just one example of how the skills and willingness to work of all refugees is thrown away by government policy.
31 May 2003
ANYONE WHO believes that the government's assault on asylum seekers leaves the most desperate "legitimate" refugees untouched, should look at Abas Amini's face. The Home Office is appealing against a decision to give him asylum in Britain. He is so desperate he has sewn up his own eyes, mouth and ears in protest.
17 May 2003
"THERE ARE schools, but there's no equipment in them. The shops are open, but there is nothing on the shelves. Afghanistan is a lawless country."
12 April 2003
THE OPEN statement condemning racist hysteria in the media about asylum seekers received a massive boost this week when more than 140 delegates to the National Union of Journalists annual conference backed it unanimously.
05 April 2003
LAST YEAR some 15,000 people from Iraq fled to Britain and applied for asylum. At last count, only 700 had received refugee status. In early March the Home Office deported to Spain an Iraqi family that had come to this country in 1999.
29 March 2003
AN OPEN letter condemning racist hysteria from the media and politicians against refugees will be published as a half-page advert in the Mirror on Tuesday 29 April. This is two days before the May local council elections, where the far right and Tories hope to do well.
22 March 2003
THE FINANCIAL Times carried a report on Wednesday of last week that David Blunkett is trying to reduce the number of people from Iraq who are granted asylum in Britain. Apparently Iraqis make up the largest group requesting asylum. This is hardly surprising given the present situation.
15 March 2003
CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown and home secretary David Blunkett last week competed to fawn over a newspaper editor who has been in the frontline of whipping up anti-refugee feeling. The New Labour duo appeared at the Media Society awards in London's plush Savoy Hotel last week.
01 March 2003
THE LIE that refugees are living a life of luxury in "soft touch" Britain was exposed in the High Court last week. Judge Justice Collins ruled that New Labour was forcing refugees to face destitution in Britain or return to the persecution they fled from.
22 February 2003
THE SUN newspaper is putting people's lives at risk. Billionaire Rupert Murdoch's rag ran a scare story about refugees "bringing deadly diseases into Britain" on Friday of last week. It says the rise in HIV/AIDS and TB cases is down to refugees and immigrants. The Sun is trying to make cheap, racist propaganda out of serious diseases.
15 February 2003
TONY BLAIR wants to force the victims of war on Iraq back into the path of bombs and bullets. He announced last week that he wanted to halve the number of refugees coming to Britain by September. Iraqis are the single largest group of refugees who come to Britain.
08 February 2003
Helen Shooter went to Salford in Manchester to talk to refugees and find out what their lives are really like.
25 January 2003
THE MEDIA have whipped up hysteria against refugees from Algeria after last week's killing of a police officer in Manchester. They paint a picture that those coming here from the North African country are all potential killers, linked to a dangerous network of Islamist terrorists. This is racist nonsense. And the real reasons people are fleeing Algeria are rarely even discussed.