PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As the government today narrowly averted defeat in the House of Commons on an amendment attempting to restart the Dubs scheme for child refugees, a major national demonstration is set to take place on March 18th calling for the government to accept more refugees. With the argument that councils do not have space for refugees clearly in tatters, campaigners believe the government is under increasing pressure to reverse its decision and accept more refugee children under the scheme.
The March Against Racism, which coincides with UN Anti-Racism Day and anti-racist demonstrations across Europe, is intended to send a powerful message that Britain must play its role in providing a haven for those fleeing war and persecution and that the scapegoating of refugees and migrants by politicians and sections of the press must end. As the pressure mounts on the government from all sides to reverse it’s decision to drop the scheme, the demonstration is aimed at mobilising the already significant ‘Refugees Welcome’ movement to influence government policy and force a u-turn.
Stand Up To Racism, the organisers of the event which is supported by the TUC, Unite, UNISON and many other trade union, faith and community groups, have called on all those who oppose racism, whether they voted leave or remain, to come together and show unity against racist scapegoating and the denial of basic rights.
A facebook event for the march has already attracted interest from over 10,000 people and coaches have been booked from across the country where rallies have been taking place.
Reacting to the vote, Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary and Stand Up To Racism President said:
“The decision is actually quite shameful. We have both international legal and moral obligations to refugees.
“These are among the most vulnerable children anywhere, and are subject to appalling exploitation on their journeys seeking safety. We lost this vote. But I’m certain this fight will continue.”
Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up To Racism Co-convenor said:
“The decision to drop the Dubs amendment had nothing to do with councils lacking capacity and everything to do with pandering to anti-refugee rhetoric.
“Thousands of children are stranded in Europe in appauling conditions and the government must act now to help them. We are marching on the 18th March to welcome refugees and stand up to racist scapegoating. Together, we can make a difference.”
Weyman Bennett, Stand Up To Racism Co-Convenor said:
“Stopping the dubs scheme at around 350 children is a disgrace. Although the government narrowly won the vote today, its argument that councils do not have capacity is in tatters. We must use this opportunity to force the government to reverse its decision and protect some of the most vulnerable children in Europe from destitution and worse.
“We must also challenge the racist rhetoric coming from Theresa May’s government, who are stealing UKIP’s racist clothes on immigration. We all have a role to play in making the government reverse this decision, and we believe we can win. “
Stand Up To Racism is organising national demonstrations against racism in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday 18 March, UN Anti-Racism day, supported by the TUC and others, details here facebook event here
For further information and quotes email info@standuptoracism.