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The scandal of asylum detention in Britain
As the G8 discuss the problems of poverty, corruption and dictatorship in Africa in their ridiculously expensive fortress in Gleneagles, UK immigration powers are being used to imprison and deport some of the very people who are fighting these things back to their home countries to probable imprisonment, torture or death.
25,000 asylum-seekers were detained in Britain last year under immigration rules, according to Amnesty International. Many are not even accused of any crime, yet they are imprisoned with less rights than convicted criminals. Some, in despair, turn to suicide - like Ranzan Kumluca, a 19-year-old Kurdish man from Turkey, who hung himself in Campsfield detention just over a week ago after apparently being detained for six months.
The government claims to support the right of asylum, yet every year many thousands of refugees fleeing persecution & torture have their asylum claims turned down arbitrarily by the Home Office. This includes torture victims who have medical evidence to back their claims. It is criminal that it has taken a hunger strike by around 100 Zimbabwean detainees to force a temporary halt to deportations to Zimbabwe.
The dictatorship of big business
The G8 countries and their corporations have the world in a stranglehold. What matters to them is their profits & power. They will back corruption & dictatorship as long as they think it serves their interests. The British government is still backing KBR, the British arm of Halliburton, even after the company admitted that a British lawyer acting on their behalf paid millions of dollars to Nigerian officials via Swiss bank accounts in a corruption scandal over a large gas plant.
The G8 want the rest of the world to "open up" their economies to the world market, so that they can be looted by the multinational corporations. Massive hidden subsidies to exports equivalent to $6.6 billion in the US and $5.2 billion in the EU, according to Oxfam, are destroying local industry and agriculture across Africa and the rest of the neo-colonial world.
Yet political refugees who flee because their lives have been put at risk by their opposition to the system or their government, or economic refugees who try to move to the West in order to increase their living standards, are treated like the scum of the earth.
Stop the scapegoating of asylum seekers
New Labour, the Tories and the media have been stoking up prejudice and lies against asylum seekers and migrants for years. They have used asylum seekers as scapegoats for everything from the housing shortage to increases in council tax bills. But these problems are not the fault of asylum seekers - they are the product of New Labour's pro-big business policies, coming after years of the same from the Tories.
Unite & fight for better life for all
We believe that to stop the current scandal of refusals, detention and deportation, asylum seekers' & refugees' campaigns need to link up with local communities, trade unions etc to build a mass campaign to defend the right to asylum.
Such a campaign must also be prepared to answer the lies & scapegoating of asylum seekers by the government and media, including pointing out who is really responsible for collapsing public services, homelessness & poverty in Britain. By linking the attacks on asylum seekers to the attacks on public services, education and rights at work faced by the existing population, we can help stop the government dividing us and fight together for a better life for all.
Don't let the bosses divide us
New Labour is also using many migrants as cheap labour. They hope that by refusing benefits to the vast majority, migrant workers will be prepared to accept low wages and worse conditions at work, making more profits for the bosses. 80% of the registered immigrant workers from new EU countries working in the UK last year were earning only between £4.50 and £5.99 an hour.
If the government & bosses are allowed to get away with this, they can try to force the rest of us to accept the same conditions. Like young people, who are given a lower minimum wage by the government, migrant workers are being used to try to push wages & conditions down for the rest of the workforce. The trade unions need to organise migrant workers & young workers.
Support struggles against exploitation & oppression
Youth against Racism in Europe campaign in solidarity with those who oppose dictatorial regimes, privatisation, poverty and exploitation all over the world. We defend the right of asylum, but we also campaign for an end to the system that forces millions of people every year to leave their homes because of repression, war, poverty & environmental disaster.
Until we get rid of capitalism, the profit system, we will never solve the refugee crisis. YRE is fighting for a society run for need not profit, where the resources of the world can be democratically planned for the needs of all. Join us!
Youth against Racism in Europe is campaigning for:
Amnesty report on unlawful detention:
G8 protests & fighting for your rights at work (International Socialist Resistance): www.anticapitalism.org.uk