Created: Friday, 22 May 2009 10:44
Written by Newcastle FRFI
FRFI 195 February / March 2007
Resisting immigration snatch squads in Tyneside
On 20 January Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) held a militant march through Newcastle to protest against deportations of asylum seekers and to launch its Pledge of Resistance to snatch squads. A rally in the city centre was addressed by asylum seekers from Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia, together with speakers from TCAR, FRFI, Newcastle Stop the War and the Jesus Army. The Pledge of Resistance was read out and received enthusiastically. We reproduce an edited text of the Pledge below.
The Pledge of Resistance
Seeking asylum is not a crime! Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Legal aid for asylum claims has been cut back to a five-hour standard, which makes it impossible for solicitors to adequately prepare a case. The time allowed for submitting an appeal has been reduced to 10 days, with 10 hours legal aid, and the right to a second appeal to an immigration tribunal has been withdrawn. Under this system 81% of asylum seekers are being refused. Now the government proposes to withdraw the right even to a first appeal as long as asylum seekers remain in Britain. Under the ‘New Asylum Model’ applications are ‘fast-tracked’ to the point where as little as 1% of applications are successful, and the time limit for submitting an appeal is four days.
The asylum system will never be fair as long as it is managed by the Home Office of a racist and imperialist Labour government which has vested interests in every corner of the world. As long as Britain is dependent for its wealth on the movement of British capital around the world in order to loot the resources of oppressed countries, the British government will never be impartial on the question of immigration of those countries’ inhabitants to Britain. For example, the government is lying to us about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan so it can look like it is winning the war. The government is telling us that it is safe to deport Iraqis back to Iraq, and it has put Afghanistan on a list of ‘safe’ countries. Both of these things are lies, and the British Labour government is telling similar lies about other countries in order to serve its own interests, the interests of the British ruling class.
Because asylum seekers are refused a fair process for their applications, any deportation carried out at present from Britain must be considered unjust and illegal. Where the government of a country carries out actions which are against the principles of law and justice, then it is the duty of the people in that country to oppose those actions by any means necessary. It is the government that is acting illegally, not asylum seekers. Therefore, all asylum seekers and British people have a right and a duty to resist deportations!
We call on all those in Britain who support justice and democracy to sign a pledge of resistance against the snatch squads who are daily dragging away members of our community and forcing them onto planes back to countries where they face extreme danger, when their cases have been rejected without proper consideration and legal process, by a government hopelessly biased against those fleeing countries torn apart by imperialist plunder, war and corruption.
We have held demonstrations, petitioned MPs, collected signatures, and had cases publicised in the media, but still the government refuses to listen. The deportations continue. The black vans continue to be sent out from North Shields Reporting Centre to snatch families under cover of darkness and drag them screaming from our communities. We are committed to peaceful protest and the legal process wherever possible, but where the government continues to close its ears we will not sit back and allow them to commit these injustices.
Therefore we call on all the people of Tyneside to sign the pledge to stand together with asylum seekers in their area in active resistance to snatch squads. Snatch squads are a matter of life and death to asylum seekers. Once a family is snatched there is very little that can be done directly to prevent their deportation. The government wants to be able to snatch people quietly, in the early hours of the morning, when local people will not see. We will oppose them. We will expose them by all means at our disposal. We will make a noise. We will expose them in the press. When the snatch squads arrive in our local area we will arrive too, and we will stand between them and the family they intend to snatch.
Sign the pledge of resistance!
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