A Demostration Called by:
Help4Refugee Children, Syria Solidarity Campaign & Calais Action.
Sixty years ago, the Refugee Convention defined rights for refugees, and most countries signed up to it. The first principle was that refugees should be treated decently. A little later, the world refugee year of 1959-60 was an attempt to get counties to face up to their responsibilities.
Since then, the situation of refugees has got steadily worse. Today their rights are everywhere disregarded, eroded, and trampled on; governments think they can gain popularity by treating refugees in an inhuman way. We say that this is unacceptable. No one is illegal; no one is inhuman.
WE ARE SEEING A GENERAL DEHUMANISATION OF REFUGEES - AND WE DEMAND THAT THIS MUST STOP, AND THAT WE BEGIN TREATING THEM AS HUMANS, WITH THE SAME RIGHTS AS OUR OWN.
The countries of Europe in particular have been trying to evade acknowledging the basic humanity of refugees, and the rights which they should respect. They have deliberately avoided:
1. Their responsibility for the wars in Syria, Iraq, and vast areas of the Middle East which have caused people to flee;
2. Their continuing responsibility for ensuring a safe passage to Europe (in particular across the Mediterranean) for thousands of refugees, as though they had no duty to protect them. Thousands have drowned through a deliberate state policy of neglect.
Worse, once the refugees arrive in Europe, no country will accept them although by the terms of the Refugee Convention once arrived in Europe they can apply for asylum. (Their situation is viewed from a frankly racist perspective - as though they represent an army of foreigners aiming to pollute a pure white Europe.) There is an increasing drive to make life impossible for them wherever they are, closing down what refugee camps there are (particularly in France).
The refugees are housed in shocking, subhuman conditions such as the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais, where they are constantly harassed by police and threatened with eviction by the State. Indeed, this camp (home to 7000 people and 500 (unaccompanied children) is now threatened with another demolition; which will rob these homeless people of the little they have. The camps already have almost no facilities and are run by hardworking overstretched volunteers relying on donations, not official agencies.
The people who have reached the camps, after difficult and dangerous journeys, have clearly not done it from choice. Our failure to treat them with decency and humanity shames us.
We are demonstrating to demand a new start, based on respect and human principles.
TREAT REFUGEES AS HUMAN BEINGS WITH FULL RIGHTS, ON EVERY STEP OF THEIR ROAD!
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