International Migrants Day 2018

Today is International Migrants Day.

This day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 18th December 2000, in response to a large and increasing number of migrants across the world. With the so-called “refugee crisis” ongoing and dramatically influencing politics across the world, International Migrants Day is more prevalent today than ever.

“Migrant”- a person who moves from one place to another. Expats. Refugees. Workers. Students. Holidaymakers. Asylum seekers. People.

“Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.” – United Nations.

This week, 164 countries signed the UN’s Global Pact on Migration in Marrakech, although this has been eclipsed by the refusal of key players such as the USA, Australia, Hungary, Austria and Italy to agree to the deal. Protests against the migration pact in Belgium over the weekend turned violent, amid fears drummed up by far-right movements that the deal could lead to more migration into Europe. MSF’s rescue operation in the Mediterranean was forced to cease earlier this month. Over 2000 people have died or gone missing in the Med this year, and the loss of MSF’s rescue mission means that Europe is complicit in these deaths and the countless more which will follow as a result. Hungary made the act of helping migrants illegal in June. In the UK, the hostile environment rages on, with Brexit providing a comfortable mask for anti-immigration beliefs and policies. A recent report on police brutality at our border was largely ignored. And this week's Immigration White Paper reveals that, post-Brexit, “EU migrants” will be expected to earn over £30,000 – in an attack on supposedly “low-skilled migrants”, the likes of which includes doctors, nurses and teachers.

Here in Glasgow, we are exposing a worrying distrust in the asylum accommodation system, among dispersal communities and those it is supposed to be protecting. A damning report finds that the system is degrading and may not be fit for purpose, and that some stretched local authorities are considering withdrawing from the dispersal scheme.

Our CEO Sabir Zazai says: "The Committee is right to describe the ‘deepening, systemic distrust’ that local authorities and communities have towards the Home Office on this issue. For almost ten years now, the Home Office has operated this service through large private sector companies who have shown themselves to be unaccountable to the communities within which they operate. This distrust has deepened to such an extent that community-based dispersal has been imperilled by Home office neglect.”

This evening at 6pm, at the steps of Buchanan Street, and across the UK, activists will stand in solidarity with the Stansted 15, a group of people who stopped a secret charter flight from deporting precarious migrants to destitution, persecution, and death. They face obscure terrorism charges and potential life imprisonment, despite the Home Office attempting to deport people on that flight whose asylum claim was still being processed, and people who have since had their right to asylum from persecution recognised. The Stansted 15 were convicted on International Human Rights Day, and so on International Migrants Day, we stand with them.

Helping migrants is not a crime. Being a migrant is not a crime. No one is illegal.

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