27 March 2002
A 350-STRONG conference in support of refugees took place in Manchester last Saturday. Suresh Grover from the National Civil Rights Movement summed up the mood at the opening session. He said:
16 March 2002
Italian Prim Minister Silvio Berlusconi stands accused of letting more than 50 refugees drown when their ship sank off the ItaIian coast last week. The right wing Berlusconi is Tony Blair's closest political ally in the European Union.
09 March 2002
New Labour immigration minister Lord Rooker congratulated the government last week for driving away refugees fleeing poverty and persecution. Vicious measures have stopped people finding safety in Britain. A glance at those who do make it shows that it is the most desperate people who try to get here.
09 February 2002
Coincidence? You decide. Elie Hobeika was blown up by a car bomb in Beirut, Lebanon, three weeks ago. He was a leader of one of the Lebanese fascist groups which massacred over 2,500 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut in 1982. Hobeika had agreed to give evidence to a Belgian inquiry into the role of current Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in the atrocity.
02 February 2002
Murder, mutilation, robbery and starvation-that is the reality of life for those Afghans who survived George W Bush's war on terrorism. The US bombing and the turmoil that has followed has moved hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Many now cling to life in refugee camps. Starvation stalks the country. One camp is home to 150,000 destitute people. International aid organisations admit they are overwhelmed. In the southern city of Kandahar revenge killings and mutilations have become common.
19 January 2002
TWO ISRAELI bulldozers rolled into the Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Thursday of last week. Guarded by Israeli soldiers, they crushed the homes of 112 families, leaving over 600 people homeless, around half of them children. The Israelis also tore up the runway of Gaza airport.
19 January 2002
THE TREATMENT of Zimbabwean asylum seekers has underlined the inhuman way Britain treats refugees. For months, while top government figures denounced Zimbabwe's human rights record, Zimbabwean asylum seekers were sent back to torture and death. Now, after an intense campaign and under huge pressure, the government says it will temporarily halt deportations to Zimbabwe.
12 January 2002
THE GOVERNMENT quietly pushed through changes to immigration rules last week. Now when an appeal against deportation has been dismissed only the home secretary will be told of the decision. Before last week the asylum seeker and his or her representatives or solicitors were also informed.
15 December 2001
Alem is 14. He is both Eritrean and Ethiopian, and Eritrea and Ethiopia are at war. Alem's father finds that his family is unwelcome in either country. He brings Alem to Britain and leaves him there, where he thinks he will be safe. The book follows Alem as he gets to grips with England, the weather and the immigration system. He suffers many major setbacks.
01 December 2001
George W Bush apparently requested a special screening of this film. But don't let that put you off seeing Kandahar, by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. His concern for the suffering of the people of Afghanistan goes back to at least 1987, with his film The Cyclist, which featured Afghan refugees in Iran.
01 December 2001
Activists from seven campaigns against refugee detention centres met in Oxford last Saturday to discuss government plans to quadruple the number of asylum seekers locked up in camps.
17 November 2001
The No Place in Burnley for the BNP campaign was launched at a press conference last week in the run-up to the council by-elections set to take place on Thursday 22 November. A representative from Burnley Football Club signed up to the statement, as well as local trade unionists, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, clergy, residents, and a visitor to Burnley who was a refugee from Nazi Germany.
17 November 2001
Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Liberal-National (Tory) coalition won the general election last Saturday, giving him his third term in government. Even in August few people were predicting Howard could win. His government was deeply unpopular. It had driven through massive attacks on workers, privatisation in the benefits system and education cuts. His supporters claim his popularity increased because he opposes refugees and is a vocal supporter of the US war on Afghanistan.
03 November 2001
New Labour finally caved in to pressure over one of its key policies towards asylum seekers this week. The home secretary, David Blunkett, announced the government is planning to scrap the voucher scheme that forces refugees to live off just £26.54 a week, plus £10 cash.
27 October 2001
NEW LABOUR'S plans to step up its draconian attacks on asylum seekers are even worrying the Metropolitan Police. The government is to unleash "snatch squads" across London next month to round up asylum seekers whose claims have been refused. A pilot scheme in east London is already seeing people snatched from their homes in the middle of the night and bundled off to be forcibly deported. Refugee campaigners in the area have told Socialist Worker they are receiving reports of at least two people a day being snatched. They are then deported on a plane chartered by the government.
29 September 2001
Over 100 protesters demonstrated last weekend outside the Dungavel detention centre in south Lanarkshire, Scotland, calling for the closure of the camp. Many of the protesters had travelled from Glasgow, where they had taken part in an anti-war rally
22 September 2001
AMAZINGLY, Tony Blair launched a vicious attack on refugees at the very start of the speech he refused to give to the TUC. In the week when we faced the prospect of a war that could create thousands more refugees, Blair attacked those trying to flee persecution and repression. At the same time his friend John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, was still refusing to let hundreds of refugees, who have suffered the most life threatening conditions at sea, land in Australia.
08 September 2001
THE AUSTRALIAN government has set new standards for callous treatment of refugees. Its attitude to the 460 desperate refugees rescued by the Norwegian freighter Tampa from their sinking boat on Sunday 26 August was "let them drown". John Howard, the Liberal (Tory) prime minister of Australia, has ignored the refugees' pleas to be allowed to come to Australia.
11 August 2001
AS NEWSPAPER editors and politicians ignore the tragic consequences of their anti-refugee statements, some of our best dramatists are responding with brilliant plays about the experiences of asylum seekers. The latest drama to combine great theatre writing with a commitment to telling the truth about the asylum issue is Hannah and Hanna by Company of Angels. The play was a huge hit at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
11 August 2001
AROUND 70 people protested outside Liverpool prison in Walton last Saturday in solidarity with refugees detained there.