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Emily Yeh has lived in Newport for 18 months, arriving to seek sanctuary from Taiwan. She refused to be an intelligence officer for the Taiwanese government as she became morally uncomfortable with the work she was asked to carry out.
She was detained on Tuesday 10th December, “Human Rights Day”, and held at Newport Central Police Station. As soon as news came out that she was to be forcibly removed from the police station to a detention centre, some 25 friends turned up to show solidarity and kept a presence there for over 12 hours. She is now in imprisoned in Yarl’s Wood, a detention centre run by Serco, on behalf of the UK Home Office, who intend to forcibly remove her from the UK.
Since then, her friends and other activists have set up a campaign (originally referring to her as M.Y. to protect her identity) calling for her to be returned to Newport – where she can continue to build a new life for herself within the community where she has become such an important and valued member. In Taiwan she would face a very uncertain future. There is a website and a Facebook page with daily updated information.
Hundreds of emails and phone calls later – most during a phone blockade of EVA Airways, who were due to fly her out of the UK – Emily is still in the UK, but has been taken ill; with bad stomach pains, blood in her urine, and a diagnosis of kidney stones, and possible epilepsy.
Emily is incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support she has received, and, as she attempts to recover from her illnesses, almost definitely made worse by the stress of her situation, she is in talks with her solicitor, who is also fighting for her to stay in the UK, as is her right under the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Her friends have reported that Emily claims that staff at Yarl’s Wood had “pushed (her) off her seat” and that there were ”bad things said to her/about her”. If confirmed, this would be a serious allegation against the staff there, especially after when much controversy has already surrounded Yarl’s Wood, after hunger strikes, fires and the recent sexual abuse some of the woman detainees have suffered at the hands of its staff.
The campaign still hopes and plans to continue trying to persuade the airline not to take Emily, and for the Home Office to release her so that she can be returned to Newport where she belongs.
If you want to get in touch with the campaign, you can do so at email@example.com
We note the recent spat between Labour and Plaid councillors over claims of reporting Asian business’s to the UK Border Agency and over claims of racism by the UK Border Agency.
The polices of Border Agency, the UK Government and European Governments, mean that the UKBA focuses on business’s where they think they will find poorer people with darker skin. And this makes these polices racist.
In 2010 196,00 people migrated to the UK. The majority of these are from the Europe, but India and Pakistan account for 15% of those arriving. Of the top ten countries that send the most people to the UK, countries that are significantly poorer than the UK account for 26% of these people
According to the ‘The Migration Observatory at Oxford University’ in 2010 39,030 people were removed from the UK .
The top ten countries where people are removed to account for nearly 50% of those removed. Of these, there is a clear bias towards countries poorer than the UK. (India, Brasil, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam) Only 2 countries in the top ten (USA and Malaysia) are similar to the UK
No Borders activists have watched UKBA Officers at work on Queen Street, inviting the public to ‘discuss’ their immigration status with officers. In a period of 2 hours the officers only picked people of colour for their discussions.
The real story is that people in Riverside and all over Cardiff face uncertain futures, destitution and incredible hardship because of the policies of the UK Government and all European Governments. People have to work ‘illegally’ to survive and can be exploited by unscrupulous employers.
It may well be a councillor’s duty, as an elected government official, to pass on information to the relevant authorities about illegality and it’s great to hear councillors speak up about the policies and operations of the Border Agency.
But we think it would be amazing if wasn’t just at election time!
On the morning of 15th October, 39 people who had sought asylum in the UK were deported to Baghdad, Iraq on a chartered flight.
The Air Italy flight left from Stansted Airport, named “Operation Rangat” by the UK Border Agency. This was the first forced mass expulsion of people to southern Iraq from the UK.
An eyewitness told the International Federation for Iraqi Refugees “When my friends started shouting they couldn’t go back these big security guards handcuffed them and strong-armed them out of the bus onto the plane. They were treated like prisoners: it was like watching the footage from Guantanamo“
Violence and bloodshed continue in Iraq, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year. There are also widespread food shortages and lack of access to clean drinking water in many areas of Iraq.
Prior to such charter flights, deportees and any legal representatives are not told the date or flight on which they are being deported. This frustrates migrants’ opportunities for legally challenging a deportation and makes it Read the rest of this entry »
This October, in a bid to stir up racial tension and increase religious intolerance, a group calling itself the ‘English Defence League‘ (EDL) intend to hold two protests in south Wales with a “march against muslim extremists” in Swansea on Saturday 17th October and an ‘anti-mosque demo’ in Newport on Saturday 24th October.
It seems that the EDL, which has close links with the British National Party (BNP), have reached out to the fantasist Jeff Marsh of Barry who has cultivated a shady reputation through authoring a number of Cardiff City Soul Crew football hooligan books. Marsh, along with a handful of impressionable young racists raised on a diet of boastful hooligan memoirs and hate-filled extremist internet forums, have formed a “Welsh Defence League” which is acting as a front for both the south Wales protests.
We will be joining the call out by <a href="http://twitter.com/NewportCAR"Newport Communities Against Racism to fill John Frost Square before the fascists arrive and show them that their bigotry is not welcome here! There is an event page on both Facebook and Myspace, as well as a page on Twitter, please invite your online friends and Read the rest of this entry »
There is a full programme of workshops, with a quite interesting talks, discussions and debates scheduled. As well as sessions like “Composting the capitalist state – how we can, why we must”, “The history of Non-Violent Direct Action in Wales” and “Start a group and take action in 4 weeks” there is a number of workshops dealing specifically with migration:
- Thursday at 4pm “Deportation flights: Stop Deportation Network on charter flights and deportations”
- Friday at 4pm “Migration and climate change: a discussion based workshop by Trapese Popular Education Collective“
Climate change is the single greatest threat to the world in modern times and increased levels of forced migration is Read the rest of this entry »
A “Let them Work” demo took place on Saturday in Cardiff city centre, organised by STAR (Student Action for Refugees). This was part of a national day of action by STAR around the issue of the right to work for people seeking asylum, there was singing from the Red Choir and several speakers including the CEO of the Welsh Refugee Council Mike Lewis, Labour MP Julie Morgan, Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson and Harris Nyatsanza from Oxfam. The campaign is also supported by Refugee Council, TUC and Brighter Futures.
No Borders South Wales activists were in attendance and we fully support the demonstration’s demand for the Right to Work. The way in which asylum seekers are forbidden Read the rest of this entry »
No Borders South Wales applaud the actions of Cardiff Students Against War who, inspired by actions at other universities across the UK, have occupied the Large Shandon Lecture Theatre in the main building of Cardiff University and issued a set of demands about the University’s complicity in the arms trade and the destruction of Gaza.
As well as demanding that the university make a stand on issues concerning Palestine and the arms trade, the students have also demanded that the university throw it’s considerable weight behind the campaign to Defend Yayha Al-Faifi. In fact Yahya will be giving a talk inside the occupied space at 3.15pm today, highly recommended! Get yourself Read the rest of this entry »
Between 4.30 and 6pm last night a number of us joined around 20 other people for a vigil at the top of Queen Street in the centre of Cardiff. The vigil was organised by the Anti Poverty Network Cymru and aimed to raise awareness and protest against refugee destitution. The event caught the attention of many passers-by who stopped to read the messages and find out what was going on. The reaction was very positive and people were truly shocked at the way that the government treats refugees and its use of destitution as a means of attempting to starve people out of the country.
The protest also provided a much needed opportunity for people to network with other groups who shared similar feelings about the terrible treatment of migrants by the government. With the prospect of even more draconian legislation in the form of the draft Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill and the further dehumanisation of migrants that this Bill, if implemented, will bring, it is even more paramount that we begin to work together and build a more coherent movement to fight against this regime.
We need to refute the artificial divisions imposed between different categories of migrants by the government and media. Between those that deserve (refugees) and those that don’t (‘bogus asylum seekers’ or ‘illegal immigrants’). It is only through standing in solidarity with all migrants, regardless of why they have come, that we will be able to build a truly powerful movement capable of bring about lasting and significant social change. Let’s hope some of the conversations had last night were only the beginning. Here’s to a stronger, more united fight for equality and freedom of movement for all!
Amey PLC, a company that provides ‘support services’, have been exploiting migrant workers. No Borders activists recently held a solidarity picket in Bristol to coincide with a protest in London organised by Campaign Against Immigration Controls, London Coalition Against Poverty and others.
We echo this No Borders Bristol statement and call for working class unity:
“We are aware that this is a tricky time to defend migrant worker’s right, as many fear losing their own jobs and the media stir up talk of putting limits on immigration to protect ‘British’ jobs. But we think this is the right time to be making the arguments that we will not be divided by bosses and governments. This is ultimately more than just a matter of rights and fair treatment for migrant workers – it’s about the “race to the bottom” that determines deregulation, worse pay and standards for all workers in the UK. Migration controls are a weapon against the whole work force. They divide us and are a tool of discipline the workforce. If there are workers with less right or no rights, this undermines the position of workers as a whole. The answer must be to oppose immigration controls. EQUAL RIGHTS ARE IN THE INTERESTS OF ALL WORKERS!”
There are set to be more protests against Amey PLC later this week. To get a handle on the way in which the taxpayer pays for the exploitation of migrant workers and profit of corporate shareholders, follow the money in this diagram:
On Thursday, No Borders Manchester activists attended an event at Manchester University where the recently appointed Minister for Borders and Immigration, Phil Woolas was speaking. They first asked him for his passport, presented him with the very 1st ‘No Borders eco-nationalist award’, and then proceeded to chuck a cream pie in his face!
Since becoming Border and Immigration Minister, despite remarking that;
“when immigrants get here I think we’re cruel to them as a society” and “the asylum processes has caused untold human misery and division within our communities.”
Phil has come out with some incredibly draconian and reactionary comments;
“I think [the immigration system] has been too lenient and I want to make it harder”
“We need a tougher immigration policy and we need to stop seeing it as a dilemma. It’s not. It’s easy. ”
“We have to have a population policy and that means at some point we will be able to set a limit on migration. This Government isn’t going to allow the population of this country to go up to 70 million.”
We’re not sure if the last quote, pandering to the overpopulation myth means Phil wants to put a limit on the number of births in the UK (perhaps with a Chinese style ‘One Child policy’), but it is hard to see how else the government is going to be able to fully control the size of the population.
Between 20th -25th September the Labour Party will be holding their annual national conference in Manchester. To coincide with this there will be a demo organised by Stop the War and a counter conference organised by The Convention of the Left. Due to the way in which the UK government has overseen an unprecedented increase in social control, No Borders Manchester will be hosting a number of events.
There are coaches to the stop the war demo from around the country.
Friday 19th September
The demo follows serious attacks on Roma people in Italy including physical attacks on camps, threats of fingerprinting of the Roma population (including children) and right-wing/fascist manipulations by Italian politicians & press that are linking Roma people to ‘crime’ and ‘illegal immigration’ which is increasing popularist calls for their expulsion from Italy and destruction of Roma camps. Manchester Indymedia
Saturday 20th September
Freedom of Movement Block
12:30pm. Meet at All Saints Park, Cavendish Street. Manchester M15 (map)
For a World without Borders, States and War! Block on the Stop the War demo with the Anarchist Federation. Look out for the red and black flags.
The Stop the War Coalition have called for a march through Manchester on Saturday 20th September. We invite all anti-authoritarians, anarchists and all those against states, nations and borders to join the ‘freedom of movement’ bloc, and to play a trick or two on those clowns in the Labour Party circus.
Let’s collectively imagine a world without borders and wars and fight together to realise this! Manchester Indymedia
Sunday 21st September
No Borders tour of Manchester
11am. Meet outside the Mechanics institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester. (map)
An alternative insight into the Capital of the North, taking in the physical outposts of the government agencies and corporations involved in the UK asylum and detention system.
Punk and Poetry!
7:30pm – late. Downstairs at the Saki Bar, 2 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M14 5TP (map)
Manchester No Borders presents an evening of music, magic and poetry. Donation.
Tuesday 23rd September
Imagining a World Without Borders
7pm – University of Manchester Student Union
Manchester No Borders hosts a series of talks discussing the history of migration and resistance, power and borders, and how we can begin to imagine a world without them.
A demonstration was held on saturday 19th April in Cardiff, Queen Street in memory of Ama Sumani who died on March 19th after being deported from hospital in Cardiff during treatment for myeloma, a cancer affecting the bone marrow. Ama leaves two children aged 16 and 7.