From the TUC

Stand up to Racism demo: refugees welcome

18 Mar 2016, By

On Saturday 19 March thousands of people will join the Stand up to Racism demonstration and rally in Central London to voice their opposition to inhumane way that the government has dealt with the refugee crisis and show their support for refugees fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world.

The demonstration and rally is being held under the slogan ‘Refugees Welcome’ is part of a major mobilisation in London, Scotland and Wales joining cites in Europe and other parts of the world to mark the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and related intolerances that was initiated following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 apartheid South Africa.

This year’s event is the third annual march and rally that has been held to mark the 21 March UN day against racism and serves as an important reminder that the UK has international obligations to tackle racism and xenophobia.  The UK is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination and signed up to the Declaration and Programme of Action at the World Conference against Racism in 2001 as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality.  These international agreements not only commit the UK to fighting individual and institutional discrimination but also to have an action plan to proactively work to banish racism from our society.

The aggressive racist and xenophobic rhetoric that has surrounded the debate on the immigration bill and more generally in the press in the European referendum campaign, and the increasing hysteria over national security especially in relation to the UK’s Muslim communities is resulting in people from Britain’s Black communities being made to feel that they do not belong or are the enemy within their own country.

The TUC and Britain’s trade unions are supporting the rally because of their concern about the increasingly toxic debate about migrant workers and the lack of a coherent and humane government response to the refugee crisis which is continuing to escalate in Europe. The TUC is appalled at the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding across Europe and the death toll among people fleeing war, persecution, sexual violence and destitution. People are fleeing from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other war zones in numbers not seen since the end of the Second World War. Conflicts in the Middle East & North Africa have created the largest refugee crisis in generations.

The lack of safe and legal routes to claim asylum means that people will continue to risk their lives to escape resulting in the needlessly loss of life. In the spirit of dignity, respect and solidarity, the trade union movement welcomes refugees. All people have the right to safety, economic security, religious and political freedom with access to health and education facilities within a society which protects those freedom.

The TUC and Britain’s trade union will continue to fight to defend and uphold these rights for all workers irrespective of colour race religion or nationality through their support for the UN Day of Action and everyday work to fight racism and discrimination in the workplace and society.