Monday, 23 November 2015

No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here

The St Andrew's Day Anti-Racism March and Rally this year has the theme 'No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here.' The rally will take place on Sat 28th Nov, Assemble 10:30am Glasgow Green. Below is a Guest Blog from NUS Scotland on the importance of this March.

NUS Scotland are proud to be supporting the St Andrews’ Day March, a demonstration of the strength of our united movements against racism and fascism. Migrants to Scotland contribute huge amounts to our society and it’s important that we celebrate this valuable contribution at every opportunity. St Andrew’s day particularly, gives us an important opportunity to show the strength of positive feeling that exists across our community to the importance of standing up for those potentially fleeing persecution, and seeking a better life, in Scotland. 

With the refugee crisis growing, and the disgraceful anti-immigration rhetoric we’re seeing from sections of the media and politicians across the UK, it’s rarely been more important to unite in opposing racism everywhere it rears its ugly head. Far too often we see negative stories about people risking everything to try and escape the destruction of their home countries, but we’ve also seen this met with positive actions to help those caught up in the crisis, a crisis caused by circumstances beyond their control.

The student and trade union movement has a strong history of supporting internationalism, and fighting racism and fascism. Even in the last few weeks, students and students’ associations across Scotland have mobilised in response to the refugee crisis we’ve seen, setting up “drop off” points, where students donated vital items to refugees in Calais. We’ve also seen campaigns up and down the country calling for better support for our refugee and asylum seeking students, leading to scholarships being introduced at the University of Edinburgh and Strathclyde. 

Our own Black Students’ Campaign has been instrumental in the campaign against the forced deportation of one of our students, Majid Ali, who was taken to Pakistan despite concerns for his safety in the country. While this is a distressing example of this government’s disgraceful attitudes to some of our brightest students, Majid’s is by no means a unique case, and it is a campaign we fight day in, day out. 

As the St Andrews Day March demonstrates, Scotland has a huge number of fantastic organisations and individuals campaigning against racism and fascism. However, it’s frankly a disgrace that the responsibility to support for asylum seekers and refugees, some of the most vulnerable members of our society, has been left solely to our grassroots activists while the government turns its back on them. 

We look forward to working in solidarity with partners across Scotland to change this, and fight the government’s appalling attitude towards asylum seekers and refugees. 

Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland president

Sanjay Lago, NUS Scotland black student’s officer

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