Welsh solidarity, Canadian governmental inhumanity, toward refugees

Three-year-old refugee Aylan Kurdi, dead on a Turkish beach

By Luke James in Wales:

Cardiff MP opens doors for Calais aid

Friday 4th September 2014

Jo Stevens and councillors call for Wales to show its best spirit

LABOUR MP Jo Stevens has converted her constituency office into a collection centre for aid that will be rushed to refugees across Europe.

As Tory PM David Cameron continued to sit on his hands in the face of a humanitarian crisis yesterday, Ms Stevens threw open the doors of her office for donations.

The Cardiff Central MP issued an urgent call to residents of the Welsh capital for clothes, sleeping bags, tents, blankets and baby slings.

Two former Cardiff Labour councillors, Cerys Furlong and Siobhan Corria, are also running drop-off points in other parts of the city.

The political pals began the collection after seeing the distressing photo of young child Aylan Kurdi, who was found drowned on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey.

Ms Stevens told the Star: “I was chatting to a couple of friends and we thought what can we do that’s practical to help.

“All three of us are mothers so the photograph of the young boy was absolutely horrific to us.

“That photo has galvanized people into taking action.”

The plight of refugees, particularly from war-torn Syria, is something Ms Stevens has been passionate about since well before she was elected in May.

But with more than 922 asylum seekers in Cardiff — three times as many as nearby Bristol — the crisis is a major issue in her constituency.

By comparison, there are just 10 in the whole of Oxford where Mr Cameron is an MP, according to official figures obtained by Labour MP Paul Flynn through a freedom of information request.

“I have a lot of Syrian refugees who come to my surgery, along with people from other war-torn countries in the Middle East,” said Ms Stevens.

“So every week I’m seeing and hearing horrific stories — and that’s from people who have managed to get here.”

“We need some leadership from the government. This is a humanitarian disaster and we just need to something about it.”

Four sleeping bags were the first donation received by the MP yesterday, while “lots more” constituents had called to say they would be making deliveries.

One constituent had even contacted her on social media to offer their home to a refugee.

All donations must be received by Friday September 11 when they will be taken to Calais and distributed across Europe by aid agencies.

More details can be found at www.jostevens.co.uk.

Britain left humiliated by Cameron’s pathetic comments on the devastating humanitarian crisis. CAMPAIGNERS and MPs joined forces yesterday to condemn David Cameron’s shameful and “pathetic” response to the escalating refugee crisis: here.

This video from Canada says about itself:

Aunt of Syrian Migrant Blames Canada for Deaths

3 September 2015

The sister of a Syrian refugee who lost his family on a smuggling boat accident says she blames the Canadian government for the deaths. Teema Kurdi had applied to sponsor the family’s entry into Canada, but was denied because of paperwork.

Little Aylan Kurdi and his family had fled the Syrian town Kobani, destroyed by war brought there by ISIS terrorists. They tried to leave Turkey, where they were not in any way safe: Turkish soldiers had killed Syrian Kurds like them, including refugees like the Kurdi family, before.

However, that did not seem to move the Canadian Conservative government of Stephen Harper to show any humanity.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Canada shunned family of boy who drowned

Friday 4th September 2015

Refugee father tells how sons and wife died

CANADA refused an immigration request from the Syrian family whose two small boys and mother tragically drowned on Wednesday, an MP has revealed.

New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Fin Donnelly submitted a request on behalf on the boys’ aunt, Teema Kurdi, only to see it turned down by immigration officials.

The boys’ father Abdullah Kurdi described how the people-trafficker in charge of their overloaded rubber boat had panicked in the rough waters of the Aegean Sea and jumped overboard.

“I took over and started steering. The waves were so high and the boat flipped. I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realised they were all dead,” he said.

“All I want is to be with my children at the moment.”

The heartbreaking photo of the body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey after he died along with his elder brother Galip and mother Rehan, has encapsulated the horror of the Mediterranean refugee crisis.

A report by the UN Human Rights Council said yesterday that more than 2,000 Syrian refugees had drowned while trying to reach Europe since the start of the civil war in their country in 2011.

In Hungary, police allowed refugees to board trains at Budapest’s Keleti station following a two-day stand-off, only to take them to a refugee camp in Bicske, 22 miles west of the capital.

Desperate and angry people who had been trying to reach the relatively welcoming destinations of Austria or Germany resisted as riot police forced them off.

Amid the scenes reminiscent of the second world war, one woman clutching her small child lay on the tracks in protest until she was forcibly removed.

Hungary’s bitterly anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban blamed Germany for the crisis, claiming: “We Hungarians are full of fear.”

In the Czech Republic, police said that they had ended the practice of writing identification numbers on refugees’ arms, which critics had said harked back to the nazi Holocaust.

The Greek coastguard reported yesterday morning that it had rescued 751 people in 19 separate incidents in the previous 24 hours, down on more than 1,000 the previous day.

18 thoughts on “Welsh solidarity, Canadian governmental inhumanity, toward refugees

  1. Friday 4th August 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    RECENT media images from Turkey, Hungary and the Czech Republic expose the reality of the refugee crisis in “Fortress Europe.”

    The tragic pictures of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi, drowned off the Turkish coast with his brother Galip when their boat capsized, are made even more painful when compared with the ITV News photo of the two smiling brothers, taken before their family was forced to abandon their home in Kobane.

    Like so many others, the family had been seeking to reach the Greek island of Kos, just a short sea journey from Turkey, but they had to do so illegally because of the European Union’s rules on migration.

    While so-called “free” movement of workers — more often, economically forced — within its borders is one of the basic precepts of the EU, the attitude to people seeking to enter from outside is quite different.

    Over the period 2007-13 the European Commission’s Directorate for Home Affairs allocated almost €4 billion to the Solidarity and Management of Migrant Flows Programme (Solid), almost half of which was for control of external borders. At the same time the EU has sought to outsource migration control, reaching co-operation agreements with countries such as Morocco, Turkey and Ukraine, to turn them into buffer zones around EU borders.

    As Greece, Bulgaria and Spain have drawn on the Solid funds to seal their external land borders, refugees have increasingly been forced to take more dangerous sea and other routes. In August 2013 European Press project The Migrants’ Files found that 30,000 refugees and migrants had died in their attempt to reach or stay in the EU since 2000. Over 1,900 have died so far this year in the Mediterranean.

    The bulk of the refugees seeking to enter Europe are desperate people fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa, or grinding poverty at home, both the result of the imperialist policies of Western governments. As a 13-year-old Syrian boy told police in Hungary: “Just stop the war. We won’t want to come to Europe.”

    While some politicians have focused on the criminal gangs making money from illegal migration, a few arms and technology companies have reaped windfalls from the EU’s immigration policy, in areas such as airtight surveillance, olfactory sensors and robotics.

    The crisis at the Budapest railway station stems directly from EU rules, which place the responsibility for assessing asylum claims on the country where the refugee first arrives. Understandably, because of the anti-migrant attitude of the Hungarian government many refugees there have been refusing to register in order to continue their journey to Germany, which has shown a much greater willingness to accept asylum-seekers.

    The action of the Hungarian authorities, in allowing the refugees onto a train merely to ship them to a transit camp, is sickening given what happened to Hungarian Jews during WWII. In a further uncanny parallel, Czech police have been photographed using marker pens to write numbers on the hands of asylum-seekers.

    Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right when he told BBC Question Time’s audience last week that “there has to be a much bigger, much stronger, global response to deal with the issue of instability and desperation of people all around the world” and that “Europe has to be prepared to accept more people [and] to do far more to deal with the issue.”

    David Cameron’s statement that Britain “will fulfil its moral obligations” is not enough. There needs to be a political response in ending direct and proxy Western military interventions in the Middle East, while assisting peoples of countries outside the EU to determine their own future, free of economic control by transnational corporations.



  2. Friday 4th September 2015

    Stand up to the press and politicians by joining the day of solidarity with those fleeing war and fear, urges SABBY DHALU

    ATTACKING refugees, immigrants and Muslims dominated the government’s agenda this summer, with the global refugee crisis hitting the headlines.

    The British government is failing to respond and take responsibility for the most recent developments of desperate people fleeing war, poverty and persecution, despite pictures of Syrian babies drowning going viral on social media, refugees camped outside Budapest’s main station and refugees on the Eurostar train tracks in Calais desperately seeking a safe haven.

    This is a grotesque dereliction of duty by the government of one of the world’s richest countries, particularly following the discovery of 71 people dead in an abandoned lorry in Austria and hundreds of people drowning off the coast of Libya last week.

    In Budapest the people camped outside the railway station are some of the world’s poorest people escaping war, who paid hundreds of euros for tickets, only to be banned from making the journey to Austria and Germany. In Calais the explanation for the suspension of Eurostar services was described in the mainstream media as fresh “migrant activity,” not desperate refugees, and ironically much is made of the disruption caused to passengers who were provided with a “rescue train” with hot food and drink awaiting them at St Pancras while the refugees get little or no support and no coverage of the devastation and disruption to their lives.

    However, across Europe people are demanding that we learn lessons from history and refugees should be welcome to seek a safe haven.

    About 20,000 people took to the streets of Vienna under the slogans “refugees welcome” and “I don’t want Europe to be a mass grave” to demonstrate against poor treatment of refugees. In Germany welcome parties were organised for refugees, hundreds of football fans held up banners saying “Refugees welcome” and polls show half of Germans think their country should welcome more.

    In Britain, Stand up to Racism, Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts, Stop the War Coalition, the Migrant Rights Network and others have called a national day of action on Saturday September 12 including a demonstration in London under the slogan: “Refugees Welcome Here.” Stand up to Racism has also organised aid convoys to Calais tomorrow and on Saturday October 17.

    We must send a clear message: Britain must welcome refugees. This so-called “crisis” is deliberately whipped up when in reality the problems for refugees would be easily resolvable if the British government had the will. Of the 3.9 million Syrian refugees, Britain has only taken 183. Germany takes in around four times as many refugees as Britain does, and for every Syrian asylum-seeker received by Britain, Germany gets 27.

    In fact, in a global context the EU accepts a small proportion of refugees. The majority are hosted by some of the world’s poorest countries. Syria has overtaken Afghanistan as the top place of origin of refugees. Most are living in neighbouring countries, with more than two million in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq and another 1.7 million in Turkey. Last year asylum applications to EU countries totalled less than 700,000, not so large a figure in comparison with the countries surrounding Syria. The Middle East and Turkey have a refugee crisis, not the EU.

    There are only an estimated 5,000 people living in makeshift camps in Calais. This is a small number of people compared to net migration into Britain of over 300,000 last year.

    In order to understand why we are led to believe there is such a crisis, one has to understand the political context. David Cameron and Phillip Hammond’s much criticised dehumanising description of refugees as “swarms,” “marauding” and threatening people’s living standards, is a shameful barefaced attempt to blame refugees and immigrants for the devastating attack on living standards that the government is imposing on the majority of people through austerity. The government cannot implement austerity without lining up its scapegoats, for it refuses to accept responsibility for a fall in living standards of a severity not seen since the 19th century.

    Since the general election the government has waged an unrelenting racist offensive with countless speeches directed against Muslims, EU, black and other immigrants. Refugees are the latest target.

    We must take inspiration from the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the US. The majority of refugees are black, their lives matter and they should be welcome in Britain. We must not allow the government to scapegoat for its austerity measures refugees, black people, Muslims and immigrants. We must stand up to this Tory racist offensive. Join us on Saturday September 12 for the “Refugees Welcome Here” day of action.

    Sabby Dhalu is an organiser with Stand up to Racism and joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism. More information on the day of action and how to take part can be found at http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk.



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