Now more than ever we need a huge response to the refugee crisis to counter the racist rhetoric across Europe trying demonise and disenfranchise victims of war, oppression and poverty.
Some of the largest mass movements in Britain have joined together with major trade unions to show solidarity.
If you can give aid of any sort, material or financial, for our Convoy to Calais please do. Better still come on the convoy yourself. Any vehicle will do: lorry, bus, coach, van, minibus, car, taxi, motorbike or scooter!
This is practical aid but it is also a huge moving protest at the way governments across the continent are failing refugees.
This is the time to come together and say: stop the scapegoating, solidarity with the refugees.
Refugees are welcome here: For more information email email@example.com /
A boat carrying more than 400 people has capsized in the Mediterranean and all are feared drowned. The overloaded boat was travelling from Egypt to Italy, carrying refugees largely from Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The current policy of the British and other European governments will lead to further such deaths.
Weyman Bennett of Stand Up to Racism said, “These horrific deaths show the grim reality of the Fortress Europe policy. No refugee should be ignored whether they are from Syria or Somalia. The government has got to change its policy. We need policies that will rescue desperate people, not leave them to die.”
Sabby Dhalu of Stand Up to Racism said, “People are risking dangerous journeys across seas because they are desperate. There is a real danger of refugees drowning becoming normal – it is not. The continuation of refugees drowning is a sign that current EU and British government refugee polices are not working. The British government must urgently reinstate search and rescue operations, work with the EU and other countries in implementing safe routes to Europe and take a fair proportion of refugees.”
Exactly a year ago, on 18 April 2015, some 850 people died in a similar tragedy brought sympathy from the public which forced the government to temporarily change its policy to rescue migrants. Since then it has done everything in its power to turn that sympathy to hostility—specifically saying that people who have had the enterprise to make the journey should be sent back and only those who have not travelled should be allowed into Europe.
The government argues that rescuing people is a pull factor, but a recent report shows that the desperate people will come anyway. But more will die if they are not rescued. About 60 people died in the first four months in 2014, but that rose to 1,687 in the first four months of last year. The figure is likely to rise again this year as the crisis worsens.
The deal between the EU and Turkey treats refugees appallingly, but even this only talks about refugees from Syria. This week’s tragedy is a reminder that the refugee crisis is much deeper.