Walking is a new habit that I picked during lockdown. It helps me to clear my mind and stay active at the same time. Experts say you should at least walk daily for 30min and I must say I totally agree with them.
One of my favourite place to go for a walk is the canal, which is 15 minute walk from my home. It has a nice walkways and fields.
At the end of the canal you will find the Elton reservoir. You can see the small lake, the swans and the seagulls. It is just a refreshing place to visit especially now and as nature has a calming effect while we go through this unprecedented time.
Today's walk was extra especial as I was able to capture the below picture.
This reminds me that even though things look and feel difficult at times, we need to find a way to keep ourselves positive and see the different aspects of life.
"The syndemic nature of the threat we face demands that we not only treat each affliction, but also urgently address the underlying social inequalities that shape them— poverty, housing, education, and race, which are all powerful determinants of health.”
Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet (13th November 2020)
It’s Friday 13th March 2020. I watch the woman, around 60 like me, reach for a clear plastic bag of five tomatoes. Just moments before, my bare right hand placed it on the conveyor belt and now, her bare left hand lifts it towards the scales at her workstation. Tapping in her record of its value, she picks the bag up again, bare right hand this time, and sets it down before me.
Suddenly, back with a vengeance, an unnameable feeling that first coursed through me last night as I listened to the Prime Minister on TV, now joined by the sound of a sample from a February 2020 radio broadcast that’s starting up inside my head: “There’s been a sudden global stock market crash”, spoken in received pronunciation. It goes on repeat: “the global stock market crash… the global stock market crash”, the soundtrack of a flickering, mind’s eye film starring the hand shadows of every person from every stage of every process that created this bag of tomatoes. Zooming in and out, one after the other, all those hands before ours, the hands of we two women on either side of this counter. What was it he said last night? “It is still vital, perhaps more vital than ever – that we remember to wash our hands.”
I shiver, refocus my eyes to see hers, smile, extend my hand towards the bag and mouth ‘Thank you’. My Covid19 matrix has begun.
Walking in the front door with the shopping and, like me, my 20-something son who’s living back at home and just starting a new, very short term, contract, is thinking about last night’s TV broadcast: “Should I meet some mates? A pint and a game of pool after this shift?”
“Wear gloves,” is the best I can offer.
Fast forward seven months to last Friday, 13th November 2020. The Lancet published a study by Global Burden of Disease(GBD) explaining why Covid19 is a syn- not a pan-demic: that is, it’s an interaction between coronavirus infection and a number of non-communicable diseases like heart attacks and stroke, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and diabetes. The critical fact though, is that more than three quarters of deaths from these diseases, 32 million deaths globally, occur where there is poverty and inequality, i.e. in low- and middle-income countries. As the Lancet Editorial made crystal clear, communities will not be protected from future infectious outbreaks and population health will not achieve gains unless deep, structural inequalities are tackled.
GBD’s scientific study confirms what the Economic Policy Unit first argued on June 1st: THIS IS A SYNDEMIC. On the 4th October 2020, when Prime Minister Johnson claimed our obesity is very important for explaining Covid rates he missed out the most important bit, most simply put by the editor-in-chief of The Lancet: “The syndemic nature of the threat we face demands that we not only treat each affliction, but also urgently address the underlying social inequalities that shape them—poverty, housing, education, and race, which are all powerful determinants of health.”
On 27th March 2020, 14 days after the Prime Minister told us to wash our hands, organisations representing people without status and their allies - including the BFAWU – began the Status Now For All Network calling for access to health, housing and food for ALL. As soon as the first lockdown was announced , our knowledge compelled us to begin to become visible so that Network members can communicate safely. This is people like Mercy Baguma, with barely enough money to eat, homeless or living in very overcrowded accommodation, not accessing medical help for fear of detention or deportation and working jobs under the radar, without any protection, even without wages, or basic health and safety.
Through Solidarity, all of us become part of the solution: moving forward so that EVERYONE can become safe and able to look after each other.
Last Friday, Kamran Abbasi of the British Medical Journal summed it up: “the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency”.
By Rhetta Moran
 Syndemic: A blend of the words Synergy, from Ancient Greek συνεργία (sunergía, “cooperation”), from σύν (sún, “with, together”) + ἔργον (érgon, “work”) and demic, from the Greek word demos, or “people”..[https://www.wiley.com/en-gb/Introduction+to+Syndemics:+A+Critical+Systems+Approach+to+Public+and+Community+Health-p-9780470472033]
 Matrix: the set of conditions that provides a system in which something grows or develops https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/matrix
“… evicting people onto the street does nothing,
apart from create more illnesses, more miseries and more risks of death.
It has to stop.”
Shade Alonge, for DeButterfly CIC and Mama Health and Poverty Partnership,
On 19th November, two members of the human rights organisation RAPAR, both of whom live in the city of Manchester, both of whom fled from persecution in their home countries and both of whom have been awarded Refugee Status, received letters from SERCO telling them that they are to be evicted from their homes on 29th November and 17th December respectively.
The private company SERCO, whose Chief Executive Officer is Rupert Soames the brother of ex-MP for the Conservative Party, Sir Nicholas, is contracted by the Home Office to accommodate people seeking asylum in the North West. Under non-COVID conditions, there are two points in time at which SERCO are entitled, legally, to tell Refugee People that they intend to evict them from their homes:
On 27th October, Chris Philp MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Immigration Compliance and the Courts wrote to Charity Chief Executives about the: “necessary decision of 27 March to suspend cessations [that’s stop evicting people seeking asylum and refugees into destitution]… due to the impact of Covid, [has meant] there has been a lack of flow through the asylum support system; this has resulted in many individuals remaining in these facilities for longer periods. We have now resumed cessations where appropriate…”
Then, on 31st October, Prime Minister Johnson announced a second lockdown to begin on 5th November. The restrictions include the following “People are being told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, such as work which cannot be done from home and education.”
On 13th November, the International Observatory for Human Rights reported: “UK homeless charities are calling on the government to suspend evictions of asylum seekers, as more and more are being made destitute this winter. During the first lockdown, the government’s “everyone in” scheme provided temporary accommodation and testing for COVID-19, but this stopped in September. The Home Office then restarted evictions, leaving many in a vulnerable situation and heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.” 
Two days before receiving these eviction letters, secondary legislation was introduced banning evictions in England until January.
Commenting on this particular attempt by SERCO to evict Refugees during lockdown, Shade Alonge, Founder and Lead Counsellor for DeButterfly CIC, who recently joined the call for StatusNow4All, and who speaks here on behalf of Mama Health and Poverty Partnership of Greater Manchester also says:
" When COVID first began, the people who came forward to feed and shelter undocumented women and their children, now some of them are running out of food and money for themselves, as well as for the people who they are helping. It is becoming very desperate and evicting people onto the street does nothing, apart from create more illnesses, more miseries and more risks of death. It has to stop."
And a RAPAR spokesperson, analysing the timings relating to the 17th December notice observes: “The notice date is for 17th December. If lockdown is lifted countrywide for five days at Christmas SERCO, as a part of their contract with the Home Office, could start the eviction process then. A very cynical move.”
 Serco lands another £45m for ‘failing’ COVID Test and Trace scheme | openDemocracy
 Government bans evictions until January | News | Law Gazette
 Status Now 4 All - 'Leave To Remain' for people who are undocumented, destitute, and those in the legal process #HealthAndSafetyForAll
RAPAR members joined the 'Status Now 4 All' campaign in a national day of action in solidarity with Regularise on 19th September.
Standing against the reopening of reporting centres such as Dallas Court in Salford Quays, members held a demonstration outside the Manchester Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Office.
The Meteor reported on the rally, saying; "Protesters in Manchester demanded an immediate reversal of the government’s decision to resume registration of undocumented migrants at the Immigration Registration Centres in England, which had been paused this year due to Covid-19. The event leaflet also called for the end of Britain First’s sustained harassment of refugees who have been placed in hotels during the pandemic.
"James, a social worker from Stockport working with RAPAR, described the decision to re-open Immigration Registration Centres as a “rushed” and “callous way to treat some of the most vulnerable people in society, and irresponsible in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Join RAPAR members and StatusNow4All signatories In a peaceful demonstration outside the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Office in Manchester on Saturday, 19th September, between 1pm and 2.30pm.
This will be part of a national day of action in solidarity with 'Status Now' signatory Regularise which campaigns for the rights of undocumented migrants.
Regularise is holding a protest outside 10 Downing Street in London on the same day and at the same time as the Manchester demonstration.
The protest in Manchester will focus on the re-opening of Immigration Reporting Centres in the UK and Britain First's harassment of refugees who have been placed in hotels. It will be held at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Office on Saturday 19th September, 1pm-2.30pm, Piccadilly Exchange, 2 Piccadilly Plaza, Mosley Street, Manchester M1 4AH.
By Mohamed Al Halengy, RAPAR Leader since 2011
That time, 2006, when I arrived in the UK and my asylum case was refused, that time was so difficult to stand: first to support my self and support people at the same time and then to cope with being moved from one city to another city.
I started working us volunteer with different human right organizations when I was in Liverpool, and after when I came to Manchester, but some things are really real for me, it really does mean a lot.
I can’t forget the first time inside RAPAR office, in 2011, and the first words to me: “we do not go fishing for you, but we teach you how to fish…” Those words and that work, it changed inside me, a lot. RAPAR: The door is opening always and it is the best place for all young people, and older people too. There we learn: to accept yourself, and be your own best friend, wrapping your own arms all around you. Since that time until recently, until right now am with RAPAR and proud of all the learning and inner confidence, making our own decisions, recognising and manage dependence, having our own values, deciding who we want to be, and how we want to get there, that is the Gift for me from RAPAR.
Since then I started attending meetings and many different activities were offered. I learned to organize myself and others into meetings. I have organised meetings and demonstrations on the largest level in the UK and now I write, in response to the death of a 16 year old boy from Sudan who has drowned this last weekend, trying to reach Britain.
When Omar al-Bashir became president of the National Congress Party and Sudan on 30th June 1989, he seized power and began institutionalizing Sharia Law at the time when Sudan was in the midst of a civil war. That war continued, with that tyrannical ruler for 30 years. After the removal of that regime, the dirty hands that destroyed Sudan before are still involved in the destruction and sabotage of the economy, the poverty of the market and the large number of diseases, unemployed youths and deterioration: economic deterioration to such an extent that the mind cannot believe it. The economic infrastructure has been completely destroyed, and the Islamists of the National Congress party are behind all the destruction that occurs in Sudan.
I assert that, on top of them, the hand of the destroyer is Kabashi who is at the Head of the State, and also there are three countries that participate in sabotaging the economy, namely the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
Cultural circles in Sudan were traumatized by the death last week of the young Sudanese poet, Abdel-Wahab Mohamed Youssef, known as “Latinos”, who drowned in the Mediterranean, after the sinking of a boat that was carrying him with others on their way to Europe.
And now this, a sixteen year old boy from Sudan, trying to reach Britain, sailing with a shovel.
It has to stop.
Link to Arabic film >>>
By Alimamy Bangura
After strenuously keeping the Corona virus disease at bay for months Sierra Leone finally succumbed to the pandemic on 31 March, 2020 when a male passenger from Paris, France tested positive.
The news was heart wrenching for Sierra Leoneans who had put all measures in place to keep the virus out of their country.
Since them right up to now, the Government had been preoccupied in fighting against the disease which, in spite of all the best efforts to defeat it, has continued to rise.
As I write this article, the figures of infected persons in the country as at today, Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 is one thousand nine hundred and seventeen with sixty nine confined deaths while hundreds of others have recovered and discharged with hundreds more admitted in hospitals.
Health experts I have spoken to are of the opinion that one of the major reasons why the disease is on the rise in the country is the denial by a large percentage of Sierra Leoneans of the existence of the disease. Another factor they advance is deep rooted traditional .
The effects of the disease has been very hard on the people and the country as a lot of social services have had to be cut down or completely stopped, economic activities have been slow, a lot of employees have been laid off and Government revenue has seriously reduced.
Even schools and colleges remain closed from end of April, places of worship are just reopening since April when they were closed down, and only examination classes have been allowed to resume schooling, namely, children writing the NPSE, the BECE and the WASSCE.
The fight against the disease is in course with Government taken the lead and assisted by the WHO, national and international non-governmental organisations and community based organisations.
The National COVID-19 Coordinating Committee says they are on top of the situation and that they are happy to report that the disease has been out under control and very soon it will be eradicated. 10:49
Violation of human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone is be
Sierra Leone a small country located in the west coast of Africa, shared boundaries with two countries which is Guinea and Liberia, with a population estimated to be around 7.6 millions people
Sierra Leone was the last country in West Africa to record a corona virus cases
During the corona period there was mass violation of human rights in Sierra Leone from the Sierra Leone people's party government which is the present ruling government in Sierra Leone below are some of the human rights violation from the present government.
During the COVID-19 period there was a riot at the biggest correctional centre in the country which is called ' PA DEMBA' prison centre, reportedly resulting in the death of about 40 prisoners
The first case of was reported in Freetown central prison which is 'PA DEMBA ROAD ' prison on the 28 of April 2020 causing alarm among people detained therein who live severely cramped Condition.
There have been some restrictive measure by the authority , include prohibition of visit of their relative's. Prisoners are concerned about not getting enough food, better health care, lack of social distance, no good places to sleep after the prohibition on the visits, as well as spread of the virus and the ability to take preventive measures against the virus.
The government ordered personal bodyguards to enter the prison and kill the prisoners which resulted in the loss of about 40 prisoners in Sierra Leone, and up till now there is no investigation going regarding that particular matter.
You are most cordially invited to register here. (All registered attendees will receive the zoom link and details in their registration emails).
As the country locked down in March, RAPAR and other organisations started the new Status Now campaign - calling for Leave to Remain for all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the UK and Ireland, irrespective of their immigration status.
RAPAR believes the call for Status Now is the only way to ensure equal access to health, housing, food and financial support for all in the time of the Covid-19 global pandemic. The Status Now Network is growing by the day and has its official launch on Saturday July 11th.
An Early Day Motion calling for Status Now has been tabled in Parliament. Please ask your MP to support it.
The BBC carried this report about some of our work last week.
At the end of March the Network called on the British Prime Minister and Irish Taoiseach to grant leave to remain, Status Now, to all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland, to ensure their and others’ safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The open letter to the heads of states has received over 65 organisational signatories, the online petition has gained over 3,700 signatories and counting, and an EDM (early day motion) calling for leave to remain has been put down in the UK Parliament.
We can’t #controlthevirus unless we give everyone the same access to healthcare, housing, food and welfare. #StatusNow
Can’t #stayhome if you don’t have one! Grant #StatusNow to all undocumented, destitute migrant people to #savelives
Please encourage others to Join our campaign for welfare, housing and healthcare for all: #HealthAndSafetyForAll
And please add your name to the Open Letter and sign the petition here.
Hashtags: #healthandsafetyforall #StatusNow4all
It is estimated that during Colston’s involvement with the Royal African Company, it transported around 84,000 African men, women and children, who were branded with the company’s initials on their chest. Around 19,300 of these people died on their journey to the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas.
Designed to maximise profit and hold as many enslaved people as possible, the boats were hotbeds for dysentery, dehydration and scurvy.
The Independent- Edward Colston: Who was the Bristol slave trader and why was his statue pulled down?
RAPAR considers that any attempt to criminalise the people who removed his statue would be deeply misplaced and shortsighted, only piling insult on top of the injury that communities around the world are expressing at this time in the name of #blacklivesmatter.
"Recent events around the world and here in the UK have placed systemic and institutional injustice in plain sight.
RAPAR has stood against all forms of exploitation, discrimination and oppression for 20 years and we give our full and unconditional support to Black Lives Matter.”
Watch this short video about Black Lives Matter from one of our RAPAR Leaders, Alimamy Bangura: