Campaigners in Halifax join national protest against Borders Bill

Campaigners in Halifax joined a national day of action on Sunday by protesting outside the town hall against the Borders Bill.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:14 pm
Updated Monday, 28th February 2022, 12:24 pm
The protest outside the town hall
The protest outside the town hall

Migrants and refugees rights campaigners began their protest at 1pm in action co-ordinated by These Walls Must Fall, Migrants Organise and Leeds Anti Raids.

The campaigners and their allies are opposed to the Bill because they say it is inhumane and violates international law, specifically, the Refugee Convention, European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on Reduction of Statelessness.

Campaigners say it violates the human rights of people seeking protection under international law and that some of the proposals in the Bill include deporting people seeking asylum to offshore detention camps, removing support currently provided to destitute people seeking sanctuary, imposing a “good faith” clause on people seeking asylum and their advocates.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

The good faith proposal, campaigners say, assumes that people act in bad faith, stripping citizenship from people without prior notice.

Keynote speakers at the event were Holly Lynch (MP for Halifax), Alison Lowe, OBE, Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire (Policing and Crime), former Chief Executive Officer of Touchtone, a health and wellbeing charity and first black woman Councillor in Leeds.

Other speakers included Daniel Whittall, Chair of the Calderdale Trades Council and Vice President of the National Education Union, Coun Audrey Smith, Calderdale Council, Coun Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council, Ali Bath, Coordinator of Extinction Rebellion Calderdale, Rashida Islam, Co Organiser of Calderdale Stand Up to Racism, Maggie Makin, Equalities Officer of Unite Community Halifax/Calder Valley branch and Ally Swaddling, Campaigner with Leeds Anti Raids:

Veecca Smith Uka, Organiser with These Walls Must Fall said: “The Nationality and borders bill is racist! We oppose many aspects of the bill, including the impact on refugees on small boats trying to get to the UK, reducing their rights and access to asylum, push back of small boats into the sea breaching human rights and maritime laws, removing support from survivors of human trafficking and stripping off citizenship from people, including those born in the UK

"These are just some of the draconian and racist aspects of the bill which if passed would create another Windrush Scandal on a much larger scale and breach a range of international human rights laws. This government, like those before it, thinks citizenship is a privilege to be revoked. As far as our government is concerned, it’s official: British citizenship is a privilege, not a right. We need to stand firmly and stop it in all its entirety.”

Sarli Nana, Organiser for Yorkshire and the Humber, Migrants Organise, said: "The Nationality and Borders Bill is violent and inhumane by design and must be scrapped in its entirety. The Bill will put migrant and refugee lives at risk by making it harder for people to reach safety. It will expand the already cruel hostile environment policies and threaten the citizenship of millions of British people. We come together once again — to call for a fairer system based on dignity and justice. Now is the time for solidarity and community resistance as we demand a better future."