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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Protest against Nationalities and Borders and Nationalities Bill

Matilda Gettins reports.

Protestors assembled at 5:15pm on Wednesday 20th at Carfax Tower to chant and give speeches against the Nationalities and Borders Bill. 

The Organisation Oxford Stand Up to Racism had announced the protest. The leaflet said: “If passed into law, the Nationality and Border Bill will deny many refugees the chance to seek sanctuary in the UK, criminalise many of those who try, isolate refugees in harmful out-of-town institutions, and undermine 70 years of international co-operation under the UN refugee convention… 

“It is a cruel and inhumane law which will worsen problems such as the large, growing backlog of people awaiting a decision on being accepted as a refugee, and the poverty and insecurity they suffer in the meantime.”

Around 30 people came to the protest, which was stationary at Carfax tower. They chanted slogans such as “Say it Here, Say it Clear, Refugees are welcome here”. The organisers invited people to to join in and to sign a petition against the bill. 

Caritas from the charity Asylum Welcome was at the protest. She said: “I am protesting against the new UK borders bill. … It’s a bit racist against minority people trying to come and seek safety in the UK. I think it shouldn’t be, I think it shouldn’t be like this. I think people should be allowed to seek safety. I think people should be safe anywhere they are, whether in the UK or anywhere else.”

Emma from the charity Oxford Against Immigration detention was also at the protest. Oxford Against immigration is the successor to the campaign to close Oxford Hampsfield, an immigration removal centre which stood for 25 years and closed in 2018. 

She said: “This idea that there are certain categories of people in this country to which basic human rights do not apply, that really is the source of the evil in the bill that we are opposing tonight … 

“Human rights ought to apply to everyone in the country. Refugees deserve our compassion. It’s shocking that in 2021 that is seen as a radical view.”

The UK government website states: 

“The Nationality and Borders Bill is the cornerstone of the government’s New Plan for Immigration, delivering the most comprehensive reform in decades to fix the broken asylum system.

The bill – and the wider plan – has 3 key objectives:

  1. To make the system fairer and more effective so that we can better protect and support those in genuine need of asylum
  2. To deter illegal entry into the UK breaking the business model of criminal trafficking networks and saving lives
  3. To remove from the UK those with no right to be here”

Image credit: Matilda Gettins

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