Refugees

A spirit that can never be killed

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In January activists from anti-racist group We Are Wakefield travelled to Dunkirk on the north coast of France to take solidarity to the refugee camp. Raya Ziyaei tells the story of their journey.

We chose Dunkirk, 30 miles east of Calais, because it had been hit by the recent floods, and the camp had doubled in size in the previous few weeks. Calais has an organised volunteer structure which means it is easier for the refugees at “The Jungle” to get what they need. Dunkirk doesn’t have this, with only a handful of volunteers coping with a huge amount of work.

Germany after Cologne

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The refugee crisis continues, and so does our rulers' racist offensive. Christine Buchholz explains the situation in Germany since the Cologne attacks.

The sexual assaults that took place in Cologne at New Year were terrible. They sent a shockwave across society. We still don’t have definite details of the backgrounds of the perpetrators, but it is clear that many of the men who were arrested or identified had Moroccan, Algerian or other backgrounds — although some of them have lived in Germany for many years.

Don't let them freeze: Calais Winter Appeal

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Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) will be taking a delegation to Calais on 11-12 December to highlight the severe winter conditions refugees are living in and take over much-needed collections.

The group is asking people to collect cash at work, trade union branches or elsewhere and buy SUTR festive cards that they will take over to Calais with solidarity messages and collections for refugees.

Battering down the fortress

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Author Matthew Carr speaks to Socialist Review about the political significance of the current refugee crisis on the borders of Europe.

There has been a lot of talk by the media saying this is the biggest reefugee crisis since the Second World War. What do you make of it?

On one level it’s true. It’s the largest numbers of refugees since just after the war. It is a major refugee crisis, although really it’s been brewing for some time and it’s a rather belated recognition of how serious it is.

Letter from Germany

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Christine Buchholz, socialist MP and member of die Linke, reports on the refugee "crisis" in Germany.

As new refugees have reached Germany over the past few weeks there has been a very positive response from many ordinary people. The government did not provide the support refugees needed, so people mobilised to fill the gap.

Members of die Linke have been part of this — greeting refugees, supporting the initiatives in different cities to give them a proper welcome, decent housing and a supply of food.

Letter from Australia

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Protests have erupted across Australia at the new Tory government's anti-refugee policies.

On the Sunday before Easter several thousand people took to the streets in cities across Australia to protest against the Tory government's anti-refugee policies. It was the latest of a series of mass protests focused mainly, but not exclusively, on the Abbott government's harsh refugee policies. One feature of the rallies was the prominence in Sydney of 13 different trade unions participating in a "Unions for Refugees" contingent while the secretary of Unions New South Wales was a key speaker on the platform.

Double punishment for Calais refugees

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On the morning of 22 September French riot police razed a makeshift camp in Calais where mostly Afghan refugees were living as they waited to cross over to Britain.

Despite the presence of human rights activists, the police arrested 276 people - half of them minors.

Eric Besson, the French immigration minister, ordered the clearout of what was dubbed "the jungle" in order to "stop traffickers".

It is ironic of Besson to try to put a humanistic veneer on his action. Refugees set up the camp after French authorities decided in November 2002 to close the Red Cross camp in Sangatte that used to look after them. And the French government wasn't worried when most of the refugees found themselves on the streets at the beginning of winter.

Refugees organise in Pakistan

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Ali Hassan and Gul Pasand of International Socialists Pakistan visited the Jalala refugee camp near Peshawar and found a mood to organise against the military assault.

Most people living in the camps come from the Swat and Buner districts of the North-West Frontier Province. They are very poor and know nobody in the cities. They are peasant workers, very small landholders and associated with lowly professions. However, they are angry to be described as beggars. One, Nisbat Khan, said, "Look at our conditions. This place is filthy and full of insects and other harmful creatures. I found a poisonous snake and killed it and when I showed it to a policeman he said, 'You haven't killed a Taliban! Why are you so proud of your catch?'"

Fortress Europe on Samos island: a Greek tragedy

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When British academic Chris Jones, acclaimed for his writing on radical social work, went to live on a small Greek island he discovered that he was living on a frontline. He reports on the plight of desperate refugees who risk their lives to escape to Europe, and the reaction of the community.

There are now two significant groups of people travelling to the Greek island of Samos, which lies close to the coast of Turkey. One group is known as tourists or travellers. They come here conventionally from many parts of the world either on the summer charter planes or the ferry boats. They spend most of their time on the beach and rarely have any contact with the authorities. The second group also spends time on the beaches and in the sea.

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