Imperial War Museum
(Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park)
"For Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay"
This message issued by JCWI on behalf of the October 7th organising group
In an echo of recent actions in the US, the UK's migrants are coming out of the shadows and demanding that their rights are recognised. Saturday October 7th 2006 will see a march through London demanding equal rights for all. The organisers are calling on migrants, asylum seekers and their friends, families and colleagues to join the demonstration and build a movement to change conditions for migrants for the better.
For many people migration is essential to escape human rights abuses, conflict and poverty. In turn people from all over the world help fuel UK prosperity, with London's diversity an important ingredient in its successful bid to host the Olympics. However, many migrants are deprived of their full rights in employment and access to public services, while at the same time being vilified as "illegal" by politicians and media and living in daily fear of detention and deportation.
The march on October 7 2006 will start at 12 noon from the gardens of the Imperial War Museum (Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park) and proceed through south London towards the city. On Sunday October 8 2006 10am-5pm a conference will be held at Queen Mary University where migrant communities, activists and specialists in the field will discuss the possibilities and implications of a regularisation in the UK.
Anita Ceravolo, spokesperson for the October 7th organising group, said:
"There is no such a thing as an illegal person. It is the migration control system that produces illegality. It creates an underclass of people who will then go on to be cheap labour, to be exploited in various ways by unscrupulous bosses, and landlords and others.They live in fear, afraid of looking for legal protection, and effectively banned from using public services.
"The exploitation of migrants only helps to drive down wages and working conditions for the domestic workforce. It is in the interests of some bosses to deny migrants their full rights, and this is what undermines social justice for all. This is why the fight for migrant rights is in everyone's interest."
October 7th activities will take place in various cities across Europe and in Africa, forming the Third International Day of Action on Migration. This action results from the Migration Assembly which took place at the European Social Forum in Athens in June. It builds up on the appeal launched by various organisations during the World Social Forum in Bamako, Mali, in January and will lead to a major European Assembly on Migrant Rights and Regularisation in 2007.
Taking their lead from the ESF manifesto, the various groups organising the October 7th March are calling for:
* Regularisation for the migrants who are in the UK irregularly because they are refused asylum applicants, trafficked people or visa overstayers
* The right of all present in the UK to work and to be protected from destitution
* The closure of all detention centres and an end to the 'externalisation process' through which detention centres and other forms of migration control are established outside the borders of the EU
* Social justice and security of livelihood for all
* UK sign up to the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers.
One of the people at the march will be Anthony Seifah, a Ghanaian cleaner 'People want to be secure," says Anthony "They need to work, they can't starve. What everyone is crying out for is a work permit; they are not criminals, all they need is a work permit to do the jobs that need to be done.
Please join our march on October 7 and help to make life better for migrants and everyone who lives in the UK."
What: March for Migrant Rights - 3rd International Day of Action for Migrant Rights
When: October 7th, 12pm
Where: Assembly point at the Imperial War Museum (Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Southwark). Tube: Waterloo, Elephant & Castle.
What: Conference on Migrant Rights and Regularisation
When: October 8th from 10am to 5pm
Where: Queen Mary's University, Geography Department, Main Lecture Theatre, Mile End. Tube: Mile End, Stepney Green.
Facts about migrants in the UK
Refused asylum seekers and many asylum applicants, who are normally from the global south, are frequently detained and/or electronically tagged
They are frequently deprived of the right to work meaning they, together with visa overstayers and trafficked people, are forced to work in the informal economy and/or in jobs which are dirty difficult and dangerous for the lowest wages.
Failed asylum seekers, overstayers and trafficked people are effectively denied the right to access justice, full employment rights, and non-urgent health and maternity services. They are also denied the right to marry in a civil ceremony.
Many regular migrants who have entered the UK using "legal" routes or via Accession are denied full employment and social rights. Non-EEA migrants will be subjected to the ID card before UK nationals and to surveillance at work and when they use public services.
For many developing countries such as Ghana and Bangladesh remittances from migrant workers including those in the UK are very important to their national countries' economies and local people's survival.
Many migrants who are well-qualified are forced by their immigration status and visa conditions to work in jobs that are not commensurate
with their skills and qualifications
Capturing lost taxation and other revenues could net the Treasury up to £1 billion a year more when set against the potential £4.7 billion cost of deporting the entire irregular migrant population (IPPR: 2006)
The UK is already holding more than 2500 people who have not been convicted of any criminal offences, in immigration detention centres at a cost of more than £2 million per week. It costs £812 to hold a person in detention for one week, excluding overheads. Source: Asylum/Immigration [Cost of detention] House of Commons 16/06/06 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060616/text/60616w1000.htm#06061625000025
The number of persons who were removed or departed voluntarily (either as a result of enforcement action or under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes) from the United Kingdom (UK) in 2005 was 58,215, a decrease of 5 per cent on 2004 (61,160).
Of those removed or departing voluntarily in 2005, 56 per cent were removed after having been initially refused entry at a port, 37 per cent were removed as a result of enforcement action, and 6 per cent left under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration.
Asylum removals: (including assisted returns and some voluntary departures) rose by 9 per cent in 2005 to 13,730, excluding dependants. Including dependants, 15,685 failed asylum seekers were removed in 2005, 5 per cent more than in 2004 (14,915).
3,655 persons left under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration, 35 per cent more than in 2004 (2,715). This includes 2,905 principal asylum applicants, 330 dependants of asylum seekers and 420 non-asylum cases leaving under the Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants Programme.
Of the total number of principal asylum applicants removed or known to have departed voluntarily in 2005, 30 per cent were from Europe, 27 per cent were from Asia and 23 per cent were from Africa. The nationalities with the largest numbers were Serbian and Montenegrin (1,690), Afghan (1,155), Iraqi (1,040), Turkish (860) and Pakistani (675).
Signatories of the October 7th Call as of 5th August 2006:
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