Dear IRR News subscriber,
Regardless of who will be in power for the next five years, it is clear from the horror stories coming from the Mediterranean and now also from land routes through the Balkans, that migration and asylum flight are global and not national issues; a reflection of the choicelessness that the fallout of wars, neoliberalism and ecological devastation have imposed on the majority in the world. But that does not mean we sit back and do nothing. The context may be global but the manifestations are local. Whether in Lampedusa or Brixton, inside British courts or outside Yarl’s Wood, there is resistance to state policies which lead to the death of migrants and to the discourse that dehumanises them.
Epitomised in Sun columnist Katie Hopkins’ recent description of migrants as ‘cockroaches’ and ‘feral humans’, this language, reminiscent of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide, was condemned by UN commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as ‘one of the more extreme examples of thousands of anti-foreigner articles that have appeared in UK tabloids over the past two decades’. Journalist Matt Carr, in an article we reproduce here, concurs that such media narratives are linked to concrete policies and practices.
And compounding the demonisation is the fact that so many potential social support services have been turned into sources of profit. Aisha Maniar, examining the provision of interpreting services in courts and tribunals, shows the implications of turning a vital public service into a consumer product. Capita took on a Ministry of Justice interpreting contract three years ago and what started off as a sharp decline in quality, she argues, may be turning into ‘a permanent loss with a severe impact on the rights of the vulnerable’.
Our regular calendar of racism and resistance, a fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlights key events in the UK and Europe.
IRR News team