“When people are driven from their homes in the most desperate of circumstances, we must always stand with them and provide sanctuary.” - Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
“The threat to force boats in the English Channel to turn back puts already vulnerable people at even greater risk… The whole idea smacks of political posturing.” - Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale and one of the first Parliamentarians amplifying the calls for #StatusNow4All
RAPAR began when young Afghan men were dispersed to Greater Manchester in 2001. Twenty years later, and the scenes from Afghanistan and from the boats in the English Channel carrying people from there, alongside other countries, tell us that there are many, many lessons that remain unlearned.
The racist xenophobia underpinning all, including the latest, refugee-rejection manoeuvre by the Home Office - this time declaring that they will use governments powers to command workers to turn back boats carrying refugee people - is always, and only, about attempting to ferment division, and thereby rule, everyone on this side of the English Channel.
In response to this latest government announcement Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and supporter of RAPAR’s work over many years says:
“This country has a long and proud history of welcoming those fleeing conflict and persecution. Our rich and diverse society would be considerably poorer were it not for the contribution of refugees and immigrants.
However, this Government appears intent on pursuing a deeply hostile and unpleasant attack on refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their home and sought safety on our shores. When people are driven from their homes in the most desperate of circumstances, we must always stand with them and provide sanctuary. I'm appalled at this new policy which puts the lives of migrants and refugees at risk and hope it is urgently reconsidered."
This sentiment is echoed by the Immigration Services Union (ISU) who immediately rejected the government proposal, which Free Movement has quickly specified would:
‘replace binding international legal obligations with a small, bespoke, national scheme that gives preference to refugees from one country over others and where selection is based on connection to the host country rather than vulnerability. Like the international aid target, it could be scrapped on a whim.'
Only collective action that becomes international in character and composition will stop the human rights violations that are being conducted in the name of the people of the UK. This is why RAPAR is part of a wider campaigns across the UK and Ireland, including StatusNow4All which is dedicated to securing the safety of everyone currently on British soil, including those who have followed in the footsteps of Abdullah making deeply treacherous journeys over so many years in their bid to reach safety.
This afternoon Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale and one of the first Parliamentarians amplifying the calls for #StatusNow4All of which RAPAR is a founding signatory, observes:
“We should all work to put a stop to the work of the people traffickers who have no conscience in putting lives at risk. But the threat to force boats in the English Channel to turn back puts already vulnerable people at even greater risk. In practice, it would place a heavy burden on the captains of the British vessels involved to make potentially life-threatening decisions. The whole idea smacks of political posturing when what is needed is building cooperation with the French authorities to weaken the traffickers as well as making available safe routes so that desperate people aren’t thrown into the traffickers’ hands.”
 XENOPHOBIA | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
 Channel crossings: Migrant boats could be turned back in new UK move - BBC News
 Patel’s plans to send migrant boats back to France ‘dead in water’, union says | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
 Even as Afghans are resettled, refugee protection is under attack - Free Movement
 Status Now 4 All - 'Indefinite Leave To Remain' for people who are undocumented, destitute, and those in the legal process #HealthAndSafetyForAll