Blog Archive

Friday, 2 September 2022

BARAC UK co-organises National protests against Rwanda Deal, Sunday 4th of September

 



BARAC UK is part of the Action Against Detention and Deportations group. We have organised solidarity protests at detention centres over the coming days and weeks.


Please see press release below for more info.



Action Against Detention and Deportations Press Release 

2nd September 2022

*For immediate release*

Hundreds are expected to attend the demonstrations at immigration removal centres (IRCs) across the UK to show solidarity with people in detention threatened with removal to Rwanda. The demonstrations will take place on the weekends before and after the High Court judicial review hearing on the Rwanda policy, which begins on 5th September. 

  • Demonstrations will take place on 4th September outside Colnbrook IRC near Heathrow Airport and at the Short Term Holding Facility near Manchester Airport. 

  • On 10th September a demonstration will take place at Yarl’s Wood IRC, which has been used historically to detain women but since 2020 has been used primarily to detain people arriving by small boats across the Channel. 

  • The demonstrations will all begin at 3pm. Further details can be found on the Action Against Detention and Deportations website.

The demonstrations are being organised by Action Against Detention and Deportations, a coalition of groups and individuals, committed to ending the “inherently unjust practices” of detention and deportation, and dismantling the wider “hostile environment” against migrants [1]. 

The coalition, which includes groups such as All African Women’s Group, BARAC UK, Global Justice Now, and SOAS Detainee Support, has decades of collective experience campaigning against detention and deportation and for refugee and migrant rights. They state the Rwanda policy is a “racist, punitive, and illegal move by the Conservative government” [1]. They believe that alongside ongoing legal proceedings, public opposition is urgent and crucial in light of reports that new Rwanda removal notices are being handed out and that the Home Office is planning another flight [2].

Demonstrators, including women asylum seekers at risk of being detained and removed to Rwanda, will describe their experiences and express their outrage at the policy [3], which targets women and men seeking sanctuary from persecution, conflict, rape and other life-threatening situations, including climate displacement. 

The government’s attempt at an initial flight to Rwanda on 14th June was grounded after widespread protest, condemnation, and an eventual injunction from the European Court of Human Rights [4]. Those forced onto the plane were treated with appalling brutality. Surrounded by security escorts, they were handcuffed, restrained, and utterly terrified [5]. Demonstrators will demand that this traumatic process never happens again. Further protests took place at seven detention sites across the UK in July after rumours emerged of a planned second flight [6].

QUOTES

A detainee who has been given removal notice to Rwanda* said: “They tell me I must go to Rwanda. Believe me, if I thought Rwanda was a safe option I would have gone there. And if I thought I would be safe in my country I would go back there in an instant.” 


Gloria Peters, a member of All African Women’s Group, said: As African women, we know that Rwanda isn't safe. The genocide has left an indelible mark. Many of us are survivors of rape and other torture and our lives will be at risk there. Our countries have been bombed, our lands and homes destroyed, our wealth stolen. We have a right to be here.”


Zita Holbourne, National Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, said: "This vile policy of targeting vulnerable people who have already had to flee for their lives and dumping them in Rwanda is inhumane and breaches international human rights laws. It is also racist in intent, targeting Black and Brown people, who have found themselves with no other choice but to arrive in the UK by small boats, already experiencing post traumatic stress because of the reason they had to flee and the perilous journeys they have encountered. We have a collective responsibility to resist and stand up against such systemic racism and injustice."


Joseph Maggs, Coordinator of SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), said: The Rwanda plan is the British state’s latest attempt to dehumanise and marginalise people who have fled persecution, war, poverty, climate catastrophe and other forms of life-threatening violence. Seeking sanctuary and a better life, the government wants to permanently expel them to a country they have never been to. This policy is a violent attack on the asylum system, an expansion of the Hostile Environment, and aims to stoke divisions in a deeply unequal society. Despite ongoing legal proceedings, the Home Office is reported to be planning another Rwanda flight. We stand with our migrant brothers and sisters and will not allow anyone to be deported under this brutal plan, which is rooted in Britain's ongoing history of racism and colonialism."

Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive Director of Migrants Organise, said: “We have had enough. The Rwanda sham is the latest cruel expansion of Britain’s Hostile Environment immigration system. It undermines the most basic principles of refugee protection. This year marks ten years since the Hostile Environment was embedded into policy, building on a colonial legacy of state racism to criminalise migrants and deny us our dignity and freedom. But the state’s legacy of violence is matched by our legacy of resistance. We know that when we take action together, a better world is possible. We need every person who believes in dignity and justice to take solidarity action now - there can be no bystanders in the face of this cruel, inhuman and shameful Rwanda sham.


ENDS


For requests or more information, contact:

Joseph Maggs, SOAS Detainee Support (SDS): s.det.sup@gmail.com. Tel: 07810158502. 

Cristel Amiss, Global Women Against Deportations: Email: gwad@allwomencount.net. Tel: 07456525227.

Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK: Email: barac.info@gmail.com. Tel: 07856181953.

SOURCES 

[1] Action Against Detention and Deportations, Statement, 2 September 2022.

[2] Diane Taylor, “Home Office planning new deportation flight to Rwanda”, Guardian, 25 August 2022.

[3] Home Office, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and Rwanda, 14 April 2022.

[4] Diane Taylor and Rajeev Syal, “Day of drama and despair before Rwanda flight called off”, Guardian, 15 June 2022.

[5] May Bulman and Bel Trew, “‘Like I was going to be executed’: On board the failed Rwanda deportation flight”, Independent, 16 June 2022. 

[6] Bethany Rielly, “End the brutal Rwanda policy, protesters demand”, Morning Star, 15 July 2022.


NOTES TO EDITORS 


*Name has not been given to protect identity 


ABOUT ACTION AGAINST DETENTION AND DEPORTATIONS


Action Against Detention and Deportations is a coalition of groups and individuals committed to ending detention, deportations and the wider “hostile environment” against migrants. Our members stand in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary in the UK, and some are at risk of being removed to Rwanda themselves. Members of our coalition have decades of collective experience campaigning against detention and deportation and for refugee and migrant rights. 


The groups involved are:


Monday, 9 May 2022

BARAC UK call to action: Jamaica mass deportation 18th May - model letter for MPs

 


Please use and feel free to adapt the model letter below and send urgently to your MP asking them to take action to stop the mass deportation flight to Jamaica scheduled for 18th of May 2022.


If you do not know how to contact your MP or who they are, use this link .

You just need your postcode to hand. 


Follow us on social media @baracuk on twitter and @baracukoriginal on instagram.


We are using the hashtags #Jamaica50 and #StopthePlane 


Model Letter to MPs 

Dear [Member of Parliament],

I am writing as a constituent to ask that you urgently oppose the mass deportation by charter flight to Jamaica, scheduled by the Home Office on 18th of May. Mass deportation flights are a breach of human rights. There is evidence that the Caribbean community has been targeted disproportionately for deportations in addition to the horrific impacts of the Windrush scandal.

Amongst those targeted for deportation on these flights are young people who have been victims of modern day slavery, people who have made their home in the UK for decades, , who came to the UK as children, who are parents of British born and young children, who came to the country as refugees, including people who have had to flee persecution. Most are the children and grandchildren of the Windrush Generation and they are their families have contributed to the UK economy and wider society over many decades. Invited here to help the UK recover post World War II.

 

Over the past two years there have been outbreaks of coronavirus in detention centres in and those detained have reported a woeful and unacceptable lack of PPE and wider safety measures. People being deported are transported in packed vans, often handcuffed to escorts, on long journeys to airports, where they then are chained to their seats and to two guards. Given that black and minority ethnic people have contracted and died of covid disproportionately, this is irresponsible to put people who are at high risk already, in this position. This has included people with serious medical conditions.

In addition, the vast majority have British children, partners and wider family here. Tearing parents apart from loved ones including children is inhumane and causes distress and trauma to children and is unlawful, breaching the human rights of children and families. 

The fast turnaround of deportations leaves inadequate time to access legal advice and representation which has been made worse because access to the computer rooms at detention centres have been closed or with limited and restricted access. There have also been reports of fax machines and computers not working meaning that people detained cannot communicate with legal representatives. Access to legal support is a fundamental human right.

Once deported, people face destitution, trauma and persecution, with some having fled persecution in the first place, this impacts severely on both physical and mental health. We know that some people have sadly been killed or taken their own lives subsequently. 

 I am asking that you take urgent action, including writing to the Home Secretary calling for this flight to be cancelled and to call for an end to charter flight mass deportations. 

 

 

Regards,

[Your Name]

 

 

Please add your full postal address to confirm you are a constituent. 

 

Find your MP here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/






 

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Campaign Victory! Government officially withdraws pushback of small boats policy . Thank you

 Campaign Victory! Government officially withdraws pushback of small boats policy . Thank you



https://actionstorm.org/petitions/stop-the-government-turning-away-small-boats-of-migrants-6148cb336d5cf#updates


Dear Supporter 

I am very pleased to let you know that we have a victory in this campaign and our  campaigning has resulted in the government doing a u-turn on their inhumane and  illegal push-back of small boats of refugees  into the English Channel sea.

It is through  collective action and joint working against this horrendous racist  policy  that we succeeded. Thanks to everyone  for signing this petition, the legal challenges and for taking part in campaigning activities. 

The policy on push-back of small boats was withdrawn days before a judicial review  court hearing was scheduled to take place in the High Court.

The Royal Navy has been given responsibility for Channel operations and the Ministry of Defence has confirmed  in a letter that it has no jurisdiction to push back boats of refugees. This is what we pointed out when we started this petition last Autumn, that it was in breach of International laws. 

Whilst this is a clear victory for all of us who campaigned and kept up pressure on the government to reverse this wicked policy we cannot afford to he complacent in relation to the attack on refugee and migrant communities  as the  racist and draconian  Nationality and Borders bill which we have also been campaigning  against and which has twice been rejected in the House of Lords reaches its final stage.  Also the government  has recently announced a deal to offshore processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda, another inhumane policy, contradicting the Refugee Convention.

 https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/apr/25/uk-refugee-pushback-policy-withdrawn-judicial-review-priti-patel

https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/home-office-backs-down-refugee-pushbacks-policy-face-legal-case


So as we celebrate this victory on small boats , the campaign against racist immigration policies continues. 


Thank you for your part in the success of this campaign which has been achieved through people power and collective actions and campaigning. 


Solidarity and Thanks.


Zita Holbourne 


National Chair  and Co-founder BARAC UK

Saturday, 2 April 2022

MAKE A DONATION TO BARAC UK, TO BARAC HUMANITARIAN AID AND / OR AFFILIATE TO BARAC UK


 

BARAC AFFILIATION and DONATION FORM

 

To affiliate or make a donation to Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK please complete and return this form together with a cheque or alternatively pay directly into our account bank account.

 

Donations to BARAC Humanitarian Aid, which provides food and essentials to refugees in Northern France and people with no recourse to public funds here in the UK, you can donate using the bank details below or make your donation via our crowdfunder:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/help-raise-funds-for-food-essentials-for-refugees

 

 

 · I wish to affiliate to BARAC UK annually;

£10 Individual concession

£20 Individual waged

 £50 Local organisation

 £100 Trade union branch or Trades Council

£200 National trade union or organisation

 

 · I wish to give a donation towards BARAC’s work; £250 £100 £50 £35 £25 £10 Other

 

 £ .….….….….….

 

·        I wish to make a donation to BARAC Humanitarian Aid;

 

 

£……………….

 

· I enclose a cheque for a total of £ ..........

 

made out to BARAC UK or Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

 · I have paid the following amount £……….. into the BARAC Bank Account:

 

BARAC UK Bank details:

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK

Barclays Bank

Sort Code 20 67 90

Account No. 53317803

 

 

Signature:

 

 Date:

 

Name of Organisation (if applicable)

 

Name:

 

Position:

 

Address:

 

 Tel no.:

 

 Email:

 

 

 

 

Please return affiliation form (and cheque) to:

 

 BARAC UK C/O Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK PCS HQ 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN

 

 Alternatively email to: barac.info@gmail.com

 

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK Web: www.blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.com

 Twitter: @baracuk

Facebook: BARAC UK

Instagram: BARACUKoriginal

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

STOP the charter flight mass deportation to Zimbabwe on 2nd of March 22 - write to your MP using our model letter and sign the petition

 Please take urgent action and write to your MP using the model letter below - feel free to adapt.


Sign our joint  petition here: https://www.change.org/p/uk-home-office-stop-the-charter-flight-deportations-to-zimbabwe


Share our updates and actions on social media - we are using the hashtags:


#Zimbabwe150  #StopthePlane


Model Letter to MPs 

Dear [Member of Parliament],

I am writing as a constituent to ask that you urgently oppose the mass deportation  by  charter flight scheduled by the Home Office on 2nd of March 2022.   This comes after a disproportionate targeting of black people  for deportation over the last year. Mass deportation flights are a breach of human rights.

Amongst those targeted for deportation on these flights  are young people who have been victims of modern-day slavery, people who have made their home in the UK for decades, who have contributed to the British economy and society, who came to the UK as children, who are parents of British born and young children, who came to the country as refugees, including people who have had to flee persecution. This is the case for the vast majority of people who left Zimbabwe, where individuals and their families had no choice but to flee for their lives and who are in grave danger if they return to Zimbabwe.

Tearing parents apart from loved ones including children is inhumane and causes distress and trauma to children with no regard for the human rights of children. 

The fast turnaround of deportations leaves inadequate time to access legal advice and representation which has been made worse because access to the computer rooms at detention centres have been closed or with limited access. There have also been reports of fax machines and computers not working meaning that people detained cannot communicate with legal representatives plus covid spreading through detention centres meaning it is not safe for people to fly.

Those targeted  face destitution trauma and persecution  once deported,  impacting on physical and mental health. We know that some people have sadly  been killed or taken their own lives subsequently.  There is also an impact on the families they are torn apart from, with children experiencing trauma.

I am also concerned that the Windrush Lessons Learned recommendations are yet to be implemented, two years down the line.  The report found the Home Office to be institutionally ignorant of racism.  It is irresponsible to target black  and minority ethnic people for deportation when no lessons have been learned.

 I am asking that you take urgent action, including writing to the Home Secretary calling for these flights  to be cancelled and to call for an end to charter flight mass  deportations. 

 

 

Regards,

[Your Name]

 

 

Please add your full postal address to confirm you are a constituent. 

 

Find your MP here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

 

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Take action against the Nationality and Borders Bill - join the protests and complete the online actions

 


We are campaigning against the Nationality and Borders Bill which if passed, could create a new Windrush Scandal on an even larger scale.  Given that the Windrush Lessons Learns recommendations have not been implemented since publication almost two years ago, it is clear that the government do not plan to learn lessons as they are intent on new legislation which further reduces and breaches the human rights of  migrant communities and their descendants and families  and those seeking asylum for those who are displaced, fleeing the impacts of climate change, conflict, persecution and poverty. 

We oppose many aspects of the bill, including the impact on refugees on small boats trying to get to the UK, reducing their rights and access to asylum, push back of small boats into the sea breaching human rights and maritime laws, removing support from survivors of human trafficking and stripping citizenship from people, including those born in the UK but with a parent born abroad.

These are just some of the draconian and racist aspects of the bill which  if passed would create another Windrush Scandal on a much larger scale and breach a range of international human rights laws.

The measures the government wish to introduce will disproportionately impact on black and brown people.

We are actively campaigning to oppose the bill and working in coalition of various groups to do this.

Firstly we are co-founders of the Citizenship is a Right coalition which brings together a range of civil society and race equality groups  in opposition to the bill.

 

Here are some actions you can take:

1. The bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords and so we are lobbying members of the Lords around various amendments including Clause 9 which relates to the stripping of citizenship. We have held one protest outside parliament recently and we are mobilising for another protest to take place on Sunday 27th of February at 12 noon, assembling at the Home Office in Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF  and marching to Parliament Square.  Nearest tube stations are St James Park, Victoria and Westminster. 

If you are able to, we would appreciate you joining us on the day.

2. We also encourage you to write to your local MP to ask them to take action against the bill when it comes back to the House of Commons. Plus your local councillors and candidates in forthcoming elections. 

You can contact your local representatives via www.writetothem.com  which will  provide you will a template to write to your MP, Assembly members and local councillors and also provides details of how to write to a member of the House of Lords.

3. We are also supporting and speaking at a demo called by Another Europe Is Possible to coincide with the return from recess for parliament  on Monday 21st of February at 5.30pm, more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/524500899048750

We are  co-signatories of a letter and petition led by After Exploitation which is in opposition to part 5 of the bill which seeks to reduce support for survivors of human trafficking and modern day slavery: 

Read the letter here; https://afterexploitation.com/open-letter-scrap-part-5-to-protect-survivors-of-modern-slavery/

4. Join the e-action and right to your MP here using the template letter - you just need your postcode: http://afterexploitation.eaction.org.uk/scraptheplan

We are using the hashtags: #citizenshipisaright #killthebills #refugeeswelcome 

You can follow the campaign and keep up to date with action  as follows:

Facebook    Citizenship is a Right

Twitter and Instagram   @citizenshipIAR

 

Together we can fight the attacks on our civil liberties and human rights proposed in this bill. 

Thank you for your support. 

 Zita Holbourne

National Chair, on behalf of: 

 BARAC UK 


 

artwork copyright Zita Holbourne; Poet~Artist~Activist 

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Support BARAC UK and other good causes supported by trade unions - Union Lotto launched

In association with the General Federation of Trade Unions GFTU, BARAC UK has launched a union lotto page. Play the lottery with a 1 in 50 chance of winning and at the same time raise funds for BARAC UK . Tickets cost just £1 per week. 






Playing the lottery

Union Lotto is an exciting weekly lottery that raises money for good causes in affiliated Trade Unions. All good causes supported by the lottery will benefit affiliated Trade Unions and its residents.

Play the lottery, support affiliated Trade Unions - it’s that simple!

Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 a week. Each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance to win a prize each week, with a top prize of £25,000! That’s a better chance of winning than the National Lottery or the Health Lottery.

Each ticket has six numbers and each number is between 0 and 9. There will be a draw every Saturday night when a six digit winning combination will be picked. Prizes will be given to players with tickets that match the first or last 2 to 6 numbers from the winning combination. Match all six and you win the jackpot!


Find out more and purchase a ticket for just £1 here 



BARAC UK provides a much needed  and valued service for communities, workers and service users, campaigning  for equality  and justice, including  against the disproportionate impacts of cuts and the pandemic on Black, Asian and minority ethnic and migrant communities  for justice for the Windrush Generation and their descendants and for human rights. We organise  regular solidarity and humanitarian  aid missions to support  refugees  and displaced people in Northern France who have fled the impacts of persecution,  climate change, poverty and conflict. and people with no recourse to public funds. 

We need your help so we can continue to offer and even expand our  campaigning,  solidarity and support.

Thank you for your support and good luck!

Yours sincerely,

BARAC UK



https://www.unionlotto.org/support/barac-uk