May 24, 2022
From Stand Up To Racism (UK)

Tueday 24 May 2022

PRESS RELEASE: PCS union, Care4Calais, and refugee rights campaigners protest to launch campaign against offshore detention in Rwanda

TOMORROW – Wed 25 May – outside the Brighton Centre – 8.30am

Mark Serwotka, leader of PCS, the civil service union, and refugee rights campaigners from Care4Calais and Stand Up To Racism are set to protest together outside the PCS union’s conference in Brighton on Wednesday 25 May morning to launch a campaign against the government’s plans for offshore detention in Rwanda.

The protest will highlight anti racist opposition to the government’s Nationality and Borders Act which threatens the nationality rights of 6 million people and the ‘Rwanda Plan’ to offshore asylum seekers. The PCS and Care4Calais recently jointly won a legal challenge against Priti Patel’s plans for dangerous channel ‘push backs’ of refugee boats.

The PCS general secretary will gather with delegates and refugee rights campaigners outside the Brighton Centre at 8.30am on Wednesday, around a simulation of one of the flimsy dinghies that have been used by refugees to make the dangerous channel crossing in recent months. 

Care4Calais and Stand Up To Racism are also organising a major bloc on the TUC’s upcoming ‘We demand better’ protest in London on Saturday 18 June. 

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said
“PCS believes that the government’s Rwanda plan is unlawful. In the past five years, we have lodged five judicial review applications against the government where they have breached the law. We are determined to hold them to account over this latest scheme. 

“It appears this government have learned nothing from the Windrush scandal, among others. Our members are sick of clearing up the mess resulting from ministerial incompetence. PCS is not prepared to countenance our members being put in potentially dangerous and traumatic situations, where they may be asked to act illegally and be liable to prosecution. 

“PCS is determined to work for a more humane environment on asylum and immigration. This would give our members the time, space and resources that they need to carry out their jobs properly and would improve the experience of refugees. This latest judicial review application is key to that endeavour.”

Clare Moseley, Care4Calais CEO, said
“The one thing that all refugees have in common is that something truly terrible has happened to them.“Now they are facing the further trauma of being sent by force across the globe. Sending them to Rwanda will abuse their rights, cost taxpayers millions and break international law.“We’re fighting it, and we believe the public will support us.”

Diane Abbott MP said
“From the disgraceful treatment of refugees, outrageous deportation flights and the widening of stop and search this government is engaged in an all-sided attack on the rights of Black and Asian people and other ethnic minorities. We have to prepare to fight back on all these issues and more.”

Weyman Bennett, co convenor Stand Up To Racism, said
“Johnson, Patel and the government are hellbent, despite the incredible growth of an anti racist movement in the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and opposition to racism, to intensify their racist hostile environment for refugees and migrants and make people in the most desperate situations seeking safety into the scapegoats for a crisis and attacks on living standards that they did nothing to cause.”

“The PCS and Care4Calais did brilliantly in their joint legal challenge against Priti Patel’s horrifying ‘pushbacks’ in the Channel that would undoubtedly lead to more needless deaths.

“Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Act threatens the citizenship of some 6 million people in Britain. The act’s assertion of a two tier system defines anyone arriving via ‘illegal’ routes – the vast majority – as undeserving refugees and removes their right to asylum. The Act represents a step change in racist borders policy, and a full scale assault. As many charities and organisations have pointed out, it is in breach of international human rights law.

“That’s why Stand Up To Racism is joining PCS and Care4Calais in challenging the unthinkabley cruel, callous and deeply ideological plans for offshore detention in Rwanda, and why we are intensifying our fight and organising the wider anti racist movement across Britain to scrap the Nationality and Borders Act.

“One year one from the magnificent mass action in Pollokshields, Kenmure Street, we have seen similar mass actions in Edinburgh and Hackney. We are organising to prepare in every area for this kind of response to the Home Office and its attacks on out neighbours.”
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