British government loves wars, hates refugees from those wars

This video from London, England says about itself:

Libya: Stop the War Coaliton protest at Downing Street 19.04.11

As Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama escalated the attack on Libya to a regime-change war, Stop the War Coalition joined with CND and War on Want to protest at Downing Street, London, calling on the British government to end its bombing campaign. Video by Anupam Pradhan and Keith Halstead.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars

Rt Rev David Walker, bishop of Manchester, says it is ‘unworthy’ for politicians to label displaced migrants as criminals, and country should take in ‘fair share’

Mark Townsend

Saturday 25 April 2015 20.33 BST

One of the country’s most senior bishops has said that Britain has a moral imperative to accept refugees from conflicts in which it has participated.

After a week in which the death toll of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe grew to 1,700 so far this year, the bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said there was a duty to treat the survivors with compassion.

In a piece for the Observer published online, he writes: “They are pushed, not pulled, towards the EU, forced out of their homelands by war, terrorism and the persecution of minorities. A political rhetoric that characterises them as wilful criminals rather than helpless victims is as unworthy as it is untrue.”

The UK’s pivotal role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq prompted a sectarian war that the UN said had forced two million Iraqis to flee the country, an involvement that ran alongside the 13-year Afghanistan war and was followed by the 2011 attacks on Libya, both of which precipitated significant regional instability and migration.

According to the UN Refugee Agency in 2013, one in four refugees was Afghan, although most were in neighbouring countries, while the ongoing instability in Libya was credited with making the north African state a haven for people smugglers.

Walker writes: “The moral cost of our continual overseas interventions has to include accepting a fair share of the victims of the wars to which we have contributed as legitimate refugees in our own land.

“I want my country to be governed by those who are prepared to look at the faces of the desperate, be it the desperation of the asylum seeker or of the food bank client, and to look at them with compassion.”

He also criticised the language of mainstream parties on issues such as immigration and suggested that politics needed a new moral compass in the context of the growing number of deaths in the Mediterranean. “I want my political representatives to show they have values beyond expediency and appeal to the muddled middle. Only such politicians will I trust with the wellbeing of my family, my community and my nation.”

Despite the huge numbers of migrants heading north, only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe have been offered to refugees under an emergency summit crisis package agreed by EU leaders, with the rest sent back as irregular migrants under a new rapid-return programme coordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex.

“Welcome though it was that European leaders sat down to talk about the situation this week, their conclusions seem more directed at making the symptoms less visible than at tackling the disease,” said Walker.

EU ‘humanitarian’ response to hundreds of migrants drowning – a war on migrants: here.

From Europe, to Asia, to the Americas, the world is witnessing growing numbers of refugees and a corresponding wave of state repression and violence directed at denying them their fundamental democratic rights: here.

THE Easterhouse Baptist Church in Glasgow, which I attend, befriends and is strengthened by local asylum-seekers. It also supports a Baptist couple, David and Ann McFarlane, who are located in Reggio Calabria on the southern tip of Italy. This is a port where boats from Africa and Syria attempt to land refugees. Not all make it and drowned bodies float in. David and Ann join with others to welcome the penniless arrivals and provide food, clothes and shelter: here.

36 thoughts on “British government loves wars, hates refugees from those wars

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  25. Tuesday 5th January 2016

    By Steven Walker

    VULNERABLE migrant children have just received another kick in the teeth from this Tory government. Thousands of vulnerable migrant teenagers leaving care homes and foster families could be denied access to state support as soon as they turn 18 under government plans designed to get them to leave Britain.

    In proposed last-minute changes to the Immigration Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, ministers have suggested withdrawing the normal standards of support for young people leaving care whose asylum or other claims to stay in the country have failed.

    The changes have been challenged by Keir Starmer, a Labour MP and former director of public prosecutions, who said it could affect “those with no immigration status, those who arrived as children and sought asylum and were granted unaccompanied asylum-seeking children’s leave, and those who came to the UK at a young age but were never helped to regularise their status.”

    Such young people could be “denied support under this provision,” Starmer said.

    He added that the government’s proposal “cuts across the thrust” of the Children Act 1989, which sets out the level of state support for teenagers leaving the care system at the age of 18.

    Another recent amendment to the Immigration Bill passed in the House of Commons means desperate families whose appeal rights have been exhausted, and whose circumstances are not deemed “exceptional” enough to be supported by the Home Office, will no longer receive a children-in-need assessment.

    These assessments take place under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, and have been used by social workers to champion the cause of families seeking asylum, offering the chance to keep families together.

    Jonathan Price, a researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, said this change could reduce support and create an inconsistent system for vulnerable children.

    “By taking the support for many families with no recourse to public funds outside of the Children Act framework and replacing it with immigration legislation, it takes the focus away from safeguarding issues. The assessments of need are likely therefore to be more limited in scope.

    “A breadth of safeguarding issues at play for vulnerable children and families— exploitation, domestic violence, neglect — could go unnoticed under the new assessment framework,” Price added.

    Families with no recourse to public funds as a result of their immigration status are restricted from accessing mainstream benefits including welfare and housing.

    Price said it was unclear what level and type of support would be provided to meet the needs of children since the case law discussing what will be provided for this group, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, would no longer apply.

    The intention of the Immigration Bill is clearly to reduce the numbers of families receiving vital support, thereby acting as a deterrent to asylum-seekers. Assessments could be undertaken by non-social work staff in local authorities without the skills or compassionate values needed to determine what support is needed.

    Provisions under immigration legislation, unlike under the Children Act 1989, define need by basic measures such as the amount of money in your bank account and could miss complex areas of need like exploitation and neglect. Campaigners have said that these new measures would not ensure vulnerable children were safeguarded.

    Councillor David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “There is a question of whether these changes are realistic. Are MPs genuinely intending to vote through Parliament a Bill that says certain children, because of their immigration status, will be uniquely disadvantaged?

    “It is highly unlikely Parliament really wants to do this. We are extremely clear we have an unambiguous duty of care under UK law and it is likely children would have to be supported anyway under other areas of legislation.”

    Children traumatised by war, terror, homelessness, the death of a parent and fleeing persecution with their families are clearly eligible for support under the Children Act 1989. This is why the Tory government wants to exclude them from its provisions.

    Asylum-seeking children are clearly at risk of developing social, emotional and psychological problems as a result of their recent experiences. They probably require the most intensive levels of support of any group of children in Britain.

    Britain was one of the last countries to sign up to the UN Convention on the of Rights of the Child 1989 and has a poor record of supporting families compared to other developed countries.

    The convention goes beyond the principles contained in the Children Act 1989 and is likely to be used by social workers determined to ensure children in asylum-seeking families are not neglected.

    The Children Act established that courts have to regard the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration. But under article three of the convention the child’s welfare is a primary consideration across a wider range of settings where decisions about their welfare are made. So decisions about school exclusion or asylum hearings could be appealed under this article.

    UN convention rights are categorised into general rights to life, expression, information and privacy. More specifically the child should have protective rights against being exploited or abused. Civil rights are highlighted, including the right to nationality and personal identity, along with the right to stay with the family.

    Alongside these is the acknowledgement that children should be in an environment which encourages development and offers a foundation for welfare. Special circumstance rights include children in war zones or other challenging situations where needs for safety have to be considered. The Tories’ plans ride roughshod over this.

    A recent Unicef survey ranked Britain 16th out of 29 developed countries for the welfare of children, behind Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. The report warned that spending cuts to youth and children’s services could lead to a reversal of improvements in recent years. Britain has the second-worst mortality rate for children in western Europe and the highest levels of mental illness in under-25s. Poor children are twice as likely to die as the more affluent.

    This abysmal record can only be worsened by the proposed changes, and migrant children will suffer more than ever.

    Steven Walker is a Unicef Children’s Champion.


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