Free workshop events (Huddersfield and Manchester): Space, place and ‘othering’: Deactivating the ‘hostile environment’
Interrogating and challenging the UK's 'hostile environment' through research and activism
About the events
These ESRC Festival of Social Sciences events - co-delivered by the Centre for Citizenship, Conflict, Identity and Diversity, University of Huddersfield, and RAPAR, a human rights organisation based in Manchester - will comprise a co-delivered seminar and workshop to interrogate and challenge the ‘hostile environment’ that targets people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. They will draw upon co-research between the University of Huddersfield and RAPAR's young people seeking asylum that took place as part of the PARTISPACE project funded by H2020 (2016-2018) and explored young people’s participation in the hostile environment, as well as ongoing research on activism, campaigning and young people’s lives. They will consider transcultural ideas of space, place and borders, who ‘belongs’ and ‘others’, and explore what and how discourses of othering, central to the ‘hostile environment’, enforce and reinforce exclusion and difference in individuals’ everyday lived lives, and how people counteract these discourses through their own actions.
Welcoming academics, practitioners, the public, activists and advocates, the events will begin informally with refreshments and a screening of ‘Faceless’, a film written, produced, directed and performed by young people (aged 25-30) seeking asylum. A seminar talk describing ongoing participatory action research by and with young people seeking asylum will follow. Co-delivered by academics and community activists, the concluding workshop will explore participatory action research in the academy and community human rights activism to explore the question: How do the concepts of space, place and the ‘other’ materialise and what can we do, between us, to transform them?
The event will run twice: in Huddersfield (4th November 2019) and Manchester (7th November 2019), both 13.30 to 17.00.
Click here for more details.
On National Hate Crime Awareness Week, communities come together to reject racially motivated violence and call on Greater Manchester Police to investigate the incident properly
6pm Friday 18th October, Hulme Arch (Birchall Way/Stretford Road), Manchester M15 6BT)
The resident who came out of his home in Hulme to stop a young Asian man being violently attacked has welcomed a vigil being organised on Friday during National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
When Clive Pyott saw what was happening to the young man, he shouted “He’s on the ground, leave him” but the two men then attacked him and he ended up in hospital with a broken nose and fractured jaw.
The incident, which happened on 24th August 2019, was a racially motivated attack. One of the men shouted "speak f**ing English" as they stamped numerous times on the head of a tall young Asian man.
This attack was reported to the police as both a racist hate crime and as a serious assault. The police were told that the attackers had come out of the Three Legs of Man pub and they returned to the same pub afterwards.
A description of the attacker who stamped on the young man’s head was given to the police and he also appears on a video filmed by another local resident on his phone. Our understanding is that this attack was only recorded by the police as a hate crime when the story was carried in newspapers almost a month later (1)(2).
Clive, 50, has had messages of thanks and support from all over the country.
He says: “I acted instinctively, it was the human thing to do. But the police have not properly investigated a violent racially motivated hate crime against this young man. They have done nothing to protect me or others who witnessed the attacks. I welcome any action which highlights what has happened and the lack of response by GMP.”
RAPAR was alerted to the incident by another Hulme resident. We understand that:
Organisers of the vigil are calling on the police to act now. This includes widely circulating the video of the attack and the assailants, so that, hopefully, the younger man knows it is safe for him to come forward and help find the attackers.
Julie Ward, North West Member of the European Parliament and a long-time anti racist campaigner, said: “Greater Manchester is rooted in a history of struggle for equality and community cohesion. We completely reject all violence directed towards people because of their racial identity or because they intervene to stop others from being racially attacked.”
Messages of support should be sent to admin(a)rapar.org.uk People can also sign the petition here.
Use hashtags #ChooseLove #NationalHateCrimeAwarenessWeek #RefugeesWelcome #WeStandTogether to tweet about the vigil.
Organisations supporting the vigil on Friday include Cohesive Communities, North West Unison Black Members’ Group, RAPAR.
For more information contact:
(1) Manchester Evenging News Report
(2) Mirror Report
RAPAR members from Southern Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Democratc Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone are taking part in Extinction Rebellion's climate crisis events in Deansgate, Manchester, today and over the weekend.
The crisis is leading to a huge increase in the numbers of displaced people who have been forced to leave their homes and are now being termed "Climate Refugees".
RAPAR will be taking part in the Connecting Global Movements for Social Justice session at 4pm on Deansgate today.
Currently, this climate emergency and ongoing refugee crisis is set to worsen: the shape of Bangladesh is rapidly changing; the Maldives will submerge if seas levels rise 1.5m; Kiribati and Tuvalu are likely to lose islands. Around 21.8 million people are being displaced annually by weather related disaster: 41 people every minute since 2008 (UNHCR). These people - and countless more – are becoming dubbed Climate Refugees who fall outside of current legislation, being unable to prove persecution and therefore ineligible to claim asylum under the Geneva Convention.
The term Climate Refugee may be new but the crisis is not. The Global North’s pattern of mass consumption, manufactured by Capitalism and the colonial mindset of exploitation and oppression, have created this moment of ecological collapse and rapid climate change where hundreds of thousands of people are compelled to leave their homes for inhumane refugee camps, mostly on their borders, and dehumanising asylum systems around the world.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The DRC has some of the richest mineral deposits in the world, and multinational companies exploit these resources for commodities, like the Coltan in every single mobile phone. These same companies also finance and arm Militia’s, creating intense insecurity – over 1,150 women are raped every day and 4.5 million people have been displaced – and continuously undermining the DRC peoples’ efforts to realise democratic government. Mass media silence about the massacres and violations in DRC is inextricably linked to the interests of those multinational companies who extract DRC’s natural resources.
With teachers paid as little as $30 a month, the people here live in poverty. People work in the mines for very, very little and in incredibly dangerous conditions. The electricity is so rarely working, because of the government’s failings, that the people are forced to chop down their forests for fire wood. Leaders here have large shares in the mining companies (such as Rio Tinto). The Government, led by Zanu PF, siphons off huge amounts of money (enough to pay the current Zimbabwean humanitarian aid appeal).
French North Cameroon, independent since 1960, and British South Cameroon, independent since 1961, decided to run the country together as a Federal System, but France appointed a President, Amadou Ahijo who changed it to a centralised system, making the national, legal and educational language French – despite South Cameroon having English as their main shared language. The country is still using the French CFA which means the money spent in Cameroon pays tax in France. In 2016, the President declared war on the South Cameroon. Since then thousands of people have been displaced, homes burned to the ground, people killed and whole villages lost – a direct and ongoing result of Europe's colonisation of Africa.
It’s now been a year of Ebola on the border of DRC and Rwanda, the second largest Ebola epidemic on record. Since 1st August 2018, more than 1,900 lives have been lost, with 2,900 people infected. On average, 81 cases of Ebola have been reported each week for the past six weeks. When the Ebola outbreak happened in Sierra Leone in 2004, companies such as Golden Petroleum were (and still are) buying up land to grow palm oil, forcing people off their land, leaving them without the means to grow food, and rendering them reliant on bush meat. There was a tangible correlation between the location of the palm oil plantations and the peaks of the Ebola outbreaks. This same pattern is currently reflected in the DRC: the people being driven off their land by multi-national industries who manufacture western consumption patterns, are themselves being forced to eat bush meat and endure the consequences of systematic negligence and indifference.
Together, we will change this world and make a future, Together.
Written by RAPAR members: Vitalis Mbua (Secretary General SCNC), Noah Zvinavashe (Organisational Secretary MDC Manchester Branch), Barly Koyangabwa (Deputy Representative APERECO North West), Maddie Wakeling (Community Development Lead, RAPAR)
RAPAR will be supporting a protest in solidarity with the RMT rail union after their picket line at Manchester Victoria train station was targeted by members of the far right who also racially abused an Asian train guard.
The protest is supported by Manchester Trades Union Council and will be held this Saturday 12th January between 8.00am and 9.30am.
Find more information about the event here.
RMT members are currently on strike every Saturday in a dispute with Northern Rail in which the union is campaigning to 'Keep The Guard On The Train'.
LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy
Rhetta Moran from RAPAR attended the African Rainbow Family's annual conference in Manchester on August 11th.
Read their press release calling for an end to sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and an end to the Home Office's policy of demanding a high standard of proof of sexuality.
Manchester will host again, the second LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee conference today [11th August], shining the light on the extent of active and subtle sexual and domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum's community in the UK. Mostly perpetrated by people who owe them duty of care.
The conference will, following the #METOO movement, feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their personal experiences of abuse, exploring how the hostile environment which seeks to deport as many people as possible in order to meet Home Office's set targets, such as in the Windrush Generation; has reinforced a high standard of proof sexuality policy in the Home Office leading to many LGBTIQs being refused asylum and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ people seeking asylum today.
In many countries, particularly in Africa, homosexuality remains illegal and violent attacks on LGBTIQ people are common. Many are forced to flee, some to the UK, after being publicly ‘outed’.
Gay people seeking asylum coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office culture of disbelief has meant that it refuses to accept that any LGBTIQ seeking asylum are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. This position is an extremely toxic shift towards high number of deportation following the ruling in 2010 which prohibits the Home Office from deporting LGBTIQ people seeking asylum on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm.
We know that the Home Office has and continues to illegally and forcibly deport many LGBTIQ people seeking asylum through its brutal charter flight methods.
'Experimental' data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 - 31/03/17) shows that over two third of 3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected.
2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved.
The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a charitable group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee communities including wider BAME who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.
It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘high standard of proof sexuality policy, which ARF says is demeaning, humiliating, dehumanising, cruel and a driver of the culture of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation in their community.
Speakers will include:
Aderonke Apata, Founder of the ARF and a long-term campaigner on LGBTIQ asylum, who is also speaking at the conference, said:
"We are starting a cultural revolution which forms a platform to inspire LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to come forward, tell their experiences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and let their voices to be heard in order for us to see consequences in terms of their perpetrators who owe them a duty of care to be brought to justice.
"The Home Office's high standard of proof policy drives a culture of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and all forms of emotional, psychological and mental problems in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum's community
"I ask that the Home Office drops their high standard of proof in sexuality policy as well as the wider asylum applications."