For many people migration is essential to escape human rights abuses, conflict and poverty. In turn people from all over the world help fuel UK prosperity, with London’s diversity an important ingredient in its successful bid to host the Olympics. However, many migrants are deprived of their full rights in employment and access to public services, while at the same time being vilified as “illegal” by politicians and media and living in daily fear of detention and deportation.
The march on October 7 2006 will start at 12 noon from the gardens of the Imperial War Museum (Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park) and proceed through south London towards the city. On Sunday October 8 2006 10am-5pm a conference will be held at Queen Mary University where migrant communities, activists and specialists in the field will discuss the possibilities and implications of a regularisation in the UK.
Anita Ceravolo, spokesperson for the October 7th organising group, said:
“There is no such a thing as an illegal person. It is the migration control system that produces illegality. It creates an underclass of people who will then go on to be cheap labour, to be exploited in various ways by unscrupulous bosses, and landlords and others.They live in fear, afraid of looking for legal protection, and effectively banned from using public services.
“The exploitation of migrants only helps to drive down wages and working conditions for the domestic workforce. It is in the interests of some bosses to deny migrants their full rights, and this is what undermines social justice for all. This is why the fight for migrant rights is in everyone’s interest.”
October 7th activities will take place in various cities across Europe and in Africa, forming the Third International Day of Action on Migration. This action results from the Migration Assembly which took place at the European Social Forum in Athens in June. It builds up on the appeal launched by various organisations during the World Social Forum in Bamako, Mali, in January and will lead to a major European Assembly on Migrant Rights and Regularisation in 2007.
Taking their lead from the ESF manifesto, the various groups organising the October 7th March are calling for:
• Regularisation for the migrants who are in the UK irregularly because they are refused asylum applicants, trafficked people or visa overstayers
• The right of all present in the UK to work and to be protected from destitution
• The closure of all detention centres and an end to the ‘externalisation process’ through which detention centres and other forms of migration control are established outside the borders of the EU
Social justice and security of livelihood for all
• UK sign up to the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers.
One of the people at the march will be Anthony Seifah, a Ghanaian cleaner ‘People want to be secure,” says Anthony “They need to work, they can’t starve. What everyone is crying out for is a work permit; they are not criminals, all they need is a work permit to do the jobs that need to be done.
Please join our march on October 7 and help to make life better for migrants and everyone who lives in the UK.”