The campaign against the Nationality & Borders Act will go on
ON April 28 the Nationality & Borders Act became law.
It was voted through by members of parliament despite determined opposition in the House of Lords.
At the last stage the Labour Party caved in and the bill was voted through.
So now there is a law that gives the government greater powers to remove people’s citizenship, deport people to Rwanda without a hearing on their case and criminalises those arriving in the United Kingdom – including by boat – and those who try to help them.
It also removes the right to claim asylum to most people no matter what horrors they have fled, and to get refugee status in the UK.
But the massive grassroots movement that rose up against the bill shows no sign of abating.
The All African Women’s Group, based locally at the Crossroads Women’s Centre, spearheaded a lively protest outside the Lords during the debate.
Refugee women described the impact the bill would have on women, children, and rape survivors.
It will stop mothers being reunited with their children; rape survivors will be punished if they delay reporting sexual violence and can be fast-tracked for deportation. Over 70 per cent of women claiming asylum have fled rape.
Women condemned plans to send refugees to Rwanda, describing the deal as “modern-day slavery” and the UK government as “people traffickers.”
The work of people determined to defend the rights of those seeking refuge that is taking place on beaches, in churches, villages, towns and cities around the UK, was spoken about and was a great encouragement to all.
The protest was loud and lively. As it came to a close, police tried to confiscate the sound system. The voices were clearly being heard inside!
In a show of unity from all present, people blocked the police from taking the mic and came together for a powerful “mic check” – communal shout out – against both the borders bill and policing bill which was also being pushed through parliament at the same time.
Wrapping up the protest the All African Women’s Group declared: “We have every right to be here” because Britain has stolen so much wealth from Africa and the ‘Global South’ over centuries.”
Global Women Against Deportations a coalition at the women’s centre which includes All African Women’s Group is appealing to people to get in touch if they want to campaign against this new law.
SARA CALLAWAY & CRISTEL AMISS