Scots stand up against racist US policies

Statue of Liberty USA
Statue of Liberty

US President Donald Trump has followed up on his anti-refugee, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric before the American election by, amongst other things, putting in place – on Holocaust Memorial Day –  a travel ban aimed at people from specific target countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

These countries are all experiencing conflict, instability or human rights abuses, often after Western foreign policy interventions. Many (and remember, more than half of refugees are children) people are forced to flee for their lives, leaving behind home and sometimes family.

 It is reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump to enlighten him about the rights conferred on refugees by the historic Geneva Convention.

There has been widespread resistance in America to his move, with people flocking the airports to safeguard detainees and protest this policy, as well as cities and states from New York to California coming out strongly against his actions.

Here in Scotland, there has been a strong sense of solidarity with people affected by unjust and racist policies in America.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reinforced the message that there must be no discriminating against people in need of sanctuary on the basis of “origin or faith”.

In response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s post saying that Canada would continue to offer a welcome to refugees, Sturgeon said that Scotland would do the same, saying “Welcome to Scotland”.

Another example is the story of Dr Hamaseh Tayari, an Iranian-born vet living in Glasgow who was left stranded after not being allowed to board her flight back from a holiday in central America, via the United States.

Scots who heard of her predicament crowdfunded to make sure she could afford to come home to Scotland another way, and generous donors meant the appeal raised far beyond the target amount.

Extra funds have been donated to us, and we are grateful and moved by the support that people have extended. In fact there has been an overall upsurge in support this week, no doubt in response to disturbing recent events. If you would like to donate to our pro-refugee advocacy work and services, you can do so here.

However, if you can’t afford to support financially, no problem. Just extend a welcome to those you meet and show that Scotland won’t stand for intolerance and racism.

You can also host a Cup of Tea with a Refugee event to bring your local community together, screen one of our short films, or send a photo in for the Welcome Wall in our new offices.

We are building our own wall. But it will be a welcome wall, built up of images of unity and solidarity – we’ve already got some fantastic ones but we would love you to send us some more to include!

Please send high-resolution photos of you, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your class or your community group saying “welcome” to info@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk

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