IRR News 1 – 14 April 2022
Announced today, the deal with Rwanda (whose authorities British officials accused last year of killings, disappearances and torture), to relocate asylum seekers there, spells the end of the Refugee Convention in the UK and a return to the 1930s and ‘40s, when desperate refugees from Nazism were forced to seek sponsors and prove that they would not be a charge on public funds in order to get visas. The 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, declaring the universal right to ‘seek and enjoy asylum’, and the 1951 Refugee Convention, were meant to put an end to that, recognising the need for refugees to flee without papers. But the deathly Australian ‘offshoring’ model, which until now only Israel and Denmark have sought to copy, inverts the meaning of asylum – and makes a mockery of the parliamentary process, where the Lords are fighting tooth and nail to preserve asylum rights.
The continued erosion of human rights and the impunity of government and its agencies is the subject of Frances Webber’s article in the latest April issue of Race & Class, now available to order. Marking fifty years since the radical transformation of the IRR, from a policy-oriented establishment institution to an anti-racist ‘thinktank’ under the leadership of A. Sivanandan, the issue is framed by an editorial written by Jenny Bourne. Other key contributions include a reflection by Leah Bassel on the London Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in 2018 which put the ‘hostile environment’ on trial, and an ethnographic article on the conditions for Jamaican seasonal migrant workers in Canada.
Asylum and migration continue to be a key theme in our calendar of racism and resistance, which documents how many British citizens are experiencing for the first time in their lives the shambolic and hostile bureaucracy that is the Home Office, as they attempt in vain to speed up the glacial process of obtaining visas for the Ukrainian refugees they are sponsoring; local authorities are given inadequate or inaccurate information; the opportunities for trafficking and sexual exploitation in the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme are causing alarm to NGOs. Back in Ukraine, meanwhile, migrants are still held in a detention centre near Belarus despite the Russian invasion.
IRR News team