12th December 2019

WORLD REFUGEE DAY – UNITED AGAINST RACISM STATEMENT

World Refugee Day: Solidarity versus Hypocrisy

On UN World Refugee Day, as on every other day, United Against Racism extends its solidarity and support to all refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers in Ireland and across the globe. The fact that there are now upwards of 70 million people forced to flee form war, conflict, torture, oppression, starvation, poverty and now climate change is both an urgent call on our humanity and solidarity and an indictment of the neo-liberal, capitalist world in which we live.

However, in extending our solidarity we are also obliged to note the deep hypocrisy on this question of the world’s rulers, political leaders and mainstream media, especially in the EU and here in Ireland.

They proclaim ‘world days’, make declarations, cry crocodile tears, extend sympathy, hold garden parties and fund charitable agencies and NGOs while in practice pursuing policies that DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE.

At the EU level the Eurocrats complain about Trump and his Wall and ring their hands about ‘populism’ and ‘extremism’ while simultaneously constructing fortress Europe and presiding over the shameful deaths of refugees in the Mediterranean. The main difference between Trump’s hateful wall and Fortress Europe is that Trump’s Wall has yet to be built but the EU’s walls are already in place. We note that BOTH Trump and various EU states are actually making it a crime to feed, help or rescue refugees.

We note also that the EU, with the Irish Government complicit in this, are escalating their collaboration and shameful deals with reactionary regimes in Libya, Sudan and Turkey, with the aim of keeping refugees out , and their support for wars and military interventions and warmongering as in Yemen, Palestine and Iran, which make the creation of more refugees inevitable.

We note further that the creation of enormously more refugees is an unavoidable consequence of the rapidly worsening climate crisis which the world’s governments are repeatedly failing to address. This is why we need close links and mutual solidarity between anti-racists and climate activists.

In Ireland the hypocrisy is particularly stark because of the Government’s refusal to end the disgraceful Direct Provision system – the inhumanity of which has been demonstrated for so long – and its perpetuation of regular and cruel deportations. The Government say that ‘no one’ has come up with an alternative to Direct Provision while systematically refusing to acknowledge the simple alternative put forward by United Against Racism and other anti-racist, pro-refugee campaigns: allow asylum seekers and refugees to work and access benefits on the same basis s other members of our society.

The Irish Government, like other Governments in the EU, alibi their disgraceful policies by claiming that they have to appease public opinion. In fact Irish public remains largely progressive and welcoming to refugees and migrants but actually Government policies send a strong message that refugees and migrant workers constitute a threat that has to be combated. Thus by their appeasement they encourage precisely the racism they claim to be trying to limit. In the same way the Government uses the housing crisis as an excuse for its racist policies while at the same time refusing to address the housing crisis, when in reality Irish society has the resources to house everyone.

To conclude United Against Racism marks World Refugee Day by reasserting our calls:

End Direct Provision and Stop Deportations!
Dismantle Fortress Europe!
Homes for All!
Say it loud and say it clear – refugees are welcome

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