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Category: Immigration Committee

EventsImmigration Committee

‘Exhibition in Exile’ in the most famous streets of London

DATE: 20 June 2022

PLACE: London

COMMITTEE: Immigration  

While the British government was planning to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, we organised a travelling exhibition at the famous London landmarks to remind the public of the difficulties refugees face on World Refugee Day, on the 20th of June.

While the decision to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was an extensive discussion in the British Parliament, on the occasion of World Refugee Day, on the 20th of June, we organised an exhibition known as the ‘Exhibition in Exile’ of cartoons drawn by world-renowned artists to draw attention to refugee problems. It was a travelling exhibition at famous London landmarks to remind the public of the difficulties refugees face.

The exhibition hosted a selection of the 120 best cartoons selected initially from among 1,200 submissions to a global cartoon contest organised by KYM (Kimse Yok Mu) in 2016. In addition to these cartoons, the cartoon was carried by 25 volunteers, most of whom were also refugees, with successful refugee stories to raise awareness. We moved the cartoon through the British Parliament, Parliament Square, Victoria Tower Garden, and Westminster Bridge.

 

One of the cartoons in the exhibition was by Oleksiy Kustovski that describes how refugees travel thousands of miles alone, carrying their whole lives in a small suitcase. It is sometimes a mother and child, sometimes an unaccompanied child or family, who are fleeing to safety from the dangers of their birth country.

Xavier Bonilla drew the lives lost at sea while fleeing to safety. People are desperately getting into the dangerous waters despite not knowing how to swim, and sometimes the weather conditions or pushbacks don’t let them continue their journey. Only a small number of people survive in a sinking dinghy.

When we told the people who viewed the exhibition what difficulties a refugee went through, we immediately met with their support and their interest became an absolute source of motivation for our new projects.

 

BlogCommitteeEventsImmigration Committee

Send a message to asylum seekers

By Asiye Betul

This August, me and my activist friends found each other in a state of despair and overwhelmed by the events happening throughout the year. It wasn’t only a disgraceful year for our government, which would send asylum seekers to Rwanda if they had not been stopped by activists, lawyers and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). But also for British law and human rights. Also, as immigrants who have faced injustices by the state and knew what it was like to be alienated and discriminated between our communities, we knew we could never stay silent to another person facing the same thing. And we decided it was time to take action.

 We stood in Trafalgar square with our “Justice Wall”, a 1.8-meter tall wall made out of fabric, where we promote free speech and demand all human rights. This time our Justice Wall was themed after asylum seekers and refugees still facing discrimination by our Home Office and Government. We aimed not only to demand their justice but also to deliver messages of support and solidarity to them. Central London, especially Trafalgar square, which is located near Soho and Westminster, was the perfect location.

 We had children coming up to our wall and leaving welcoming messages for asylum seekers, toddlers drawing hearts and people hand to hand (which was my absolute favourite part of this project), tourists leaving messages of solidarity in their own languages, and many supportive messages such as “Do not dare give up” and “You are loved, and welcomed”.

 This project might not sound like a very big deal at first, but for me, it was London and the people of London showing their true faces. It was London telling us that, despite its government, we are welcome, and If there we were in a place of danger and discrimination, the people of London would not stay silent and stand up for us. An act of solidarity on its own.

Injustices may rise, but we will not prevail. The names of those who do injustice will be forgotten, but our strength and solidarity will always be remembered. So will we 🙂

EventsHuman Rights DefendersImmigration Committee

‘Exhibition in Exile’ finds refuge in Newcastle Church

An exhibition of immigration cartoons by renowned cartoonists which had to flee persecution in Turkey together with its organizers in 2016 found a refuge in St James’ Benwell Church of Newcastle upon Tyne. Human Rights Solidarity joined Time to Help, GemArt, Comfrey Project and Being Woman as the organizers of the four days long exhibition.

A consortium of humanitarian aid, human rights, immigrant support organizations and a local church in Benwell are hosting an exhibition of cartoons on immigration, refugees and asylum seekers and the cynical response of the industrialized world to this emerging phenomenon. The exhibition is formed of cartoons that themselves had to flee Turkey in late 2016 when the organizing humanitarian aid organization Kimse Yok Mu (KYM), then a member of the UN’s ECOSOC, was taken over by the authoritarian regime in the country. Hence, the name Exhibition in Exile.

London based Time to Help and Human Rights Solidarity and Newcastle based GemArt, ComFrey Project and Being Woman came together to bring the cartoons that had been brought to Newcastle upon Tyne by Mr Levent Eyüpoğlu, a former director of KYM and a refugee in Newcastle, to life. The exhibition will be hosted by St. James’ Benwell Church between 23 and 26 June and will be open to visitors from 10:00 am to 4 pm throughout these dates.

The exhibition will host a selection from the 120 best cartoons originally selected from among 1,200 submissions to a global cartoon contest organized by KYM in 2016. The organizers have also brought together Turkish and other immigrant musicians and artists for a series of accompanying events, including live music, various art workshops and a panel of prominent figures active in immigration related affairs.

The launching event of the Exhibition in Exile will start at 11:00 am on 23 June 2022, Thursday with a cocktail and it will be followed with a panel discussion with the participation of Mr Kerim Balci as the moderator of the panel, environmental visual artist Artep Avordno, ex-Lord Mayor and councillor Habib Rahman, Director of The Comfrey Project Eleni Venaki and academics and activists.

The Exhibition in Exile will be open to visits till 4:00 pm on 26 June 2022, Sunday, the last day of the Refugee Week 2022.

WHAT: Exhibition in Exile: An exhibition of cartoons by renowned cartoonists on immigration, refugees and asylum seekers accompanied by a panel discussion, music performance by immigrant community groups and art workshops.

WHEN: 23 June (Launching event, panel discussion and music performance); 23-26 June 2022 (Exhibition, art workshops and occasional live music)

WHERE: St James’ Benwell Church, Benwell Lane, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 6RS

EventsImmigration Committee

Immigration Bill Protest

DATE: 11 October 2021

PLACE: Opposite Number 10, Downing Street

COMMITTEE: Immigration Committee  

The UK Home Secretary’s new immigration bill is simply an attack on the principles enriched in the Refugee Convention. Such a bill that criminalises refugees and asylum seekers is unacceptable in a country such as the UK that is proud to be the cradle of democracy.

Human Rights Solidarity was in front of the prime minister’s house on October 11 2022, to protest this inhumane bill and demand justice for immigrants and asylum seekers. The protest lasted around an hour and a small group of our volunteers raised their voices against the bill. We hope that our voices were heard, and that such an antidemocratic bill will not be proposed by any other official again.

Here are a volunteer’s words on their experience at the Immigration Bill Protest:

“As a group that mostly consists of young refugees and asylum seekers, it was very empowering to stand up for our own rights and our justice. I believe our efforts were deliberate and I hope our government will not repeat their same racist mistakes.”

And here is the speech HRS volunteer Asiye Betul made during the protest:

Dear Friends,

We’re gathered here today, because our government has made us come here once again – to ask for basic human rights. Because they will not put a stop to the madness that started with Brexit. The madness seems to be going towards de-ratifying the European Convention on Human rights.

Can you think of it: The British government is planning to withdraw from parts of a declaration that is accepted as the benchmark of human rights!! And that declaration is largely work of British intellectuals…

Can you see how much our country is driven away from its own values?

Can you see that while trying to claim control of our own borders, this government is creating artificial borders between us and human rights?

Dear Human Rights Advocates!

Throughout the summer Parliamentary committees worked on the so called Immigration Bill… The New Plan of Priti Patel…

All experts, all human rights lawyers and advocates told the government that this is not a New Plan; it is a Stupid Plan.

You cannot simply decide that all irregular entrants to the country are illegal or criminal…

I’m sure Ms. Patel would know that- When you’re running for your life, you don’t have time to think about paperwork – you just run.

Yet here are our politicians, here is Ms. Patel, trying to criminalise, to give penalties for those who do so.

Dear friends!

Did you know that our government considered building wave machines to deter migrant boats?

Isn’t this equivalent of saying “Drown in the sea instead of coming to my land?”

We are angry at the Greek authorities because of the pushbacks. Isn’t this an obvious form of pushback.

Hear us Priti Patel!

Nobody chooses to become an immigrant.

And your government has a share in pushing Syrians and Afghans to the edge of escaping their countries.

You contributed to the problem; you cannot escape from the solution!

We shout out loud:

Kill the bill!

Kill the bill!

You want a Global Britain? Be responsible about the rest of the Globe!

You want a flourishing economy? Utilize the human resources that will pour into our country!

You want a true democracy? Don’t be alarmed that people want to live in this country; be proud of it!

WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO ON WITH THIS STUPID PLAN

Kill the bill!

Kill the bill!

EventsImmigration CommitteeYoutube

Holocaust Memorial Day Event- 2021

DATE: 27 January 2021

PLACE: YouTube

COMMITTEE: Immigration Committee

Holocaust Memorial Day is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom, dedicated to remembering the Jews and other victims who suffered during the Holocaust, under the Nazi persecution. After first being held in 2001, it has been observed on January 27th every year since.

As Human Rights Solidarity’s Immigration Committee, we prepared a splendid program, consisting of interviews with Holocaust Survivors and Academics, Artworks, Musical Performances and Poems.

Sacha Kester is a survivor of the Holocaust from the 1940s, as well as a committed political activist for equal rights, justice and fairness. Sacha will be sharing his upsetting experiences and memories on our YouTube channel, as well as answering some of our questions. His daughter, Susanna Kester – a Creative Arts Therapist, workshop leader and volunteer for numerous community-based projects such as the Finchley Foodbank, Finchley Progressive Synagogue Social Action Committee and Generation2Generation – will also be joining us.

Generation2Generation is an organisation that helps the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to tell their family stories. They promote and inspire tolerance and understanding in society through supporting these people so that their presentations to schools and community organisations are of high quality, historically accurate and have lasting impact. For more details, check out their website here: https://www.generation2generation.org.

Joanna Michlic, an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, is also joining us on this day to speak to us about ‘Lessons from the Holocaust for the Twenty First Century: Listening to the Voices of Jewish Child Survivors’. You can find out more about her research projects, past publications and awards on her UCL page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/institute-of-ad.

The YouTube recording of the event can be watched at our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nkncvR2cYg

EventsImmigration CommitteeYoutube

Refugee Solidarity Week 2021

DATE: 20 June 2021

PLACE: YouTube

COMMITTEE: Immigration Committee

Refugee Solidarity Week is a week of celebration of contribution of the immigrant communities to the UK society, launched by Human Rights Solidarity in 2020. It is celebrated within the framework of the Refugee Week, which houses the World Refugee Day (20 June). Refugee Solidarity Week is aimed at celebrating, empowering and inspiring refugees and their contribution to the UK and encouraging a better understanding between communities. Our programme for 2021 included art and music performances, poetry and film and book reviews. We also had an interview with Becky Dell from Citizens of the World Choir and Moses Saidler from Refugee Education UK.

The whole event was broadcast alive on our YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zblkJrDYoy0

Here are a volunteer’s words for their experiences at the Refugee Solidarity Week:

“Participating in the making of this programme as a refugee was an unforgettable experience. I hope we were able to motivate and encourage other refugees around the world as well. This event helped me develop my skills in hosting and video editing, participating in Human Rights Solidarity projects is always a great delight.”

What have we learned?

This experience gave us the chance to better develop our teamwork skills and allowed us to further expand our talents in arts, music and literature, letting us use them in means of activism and advocacy as well. It showed us that we, as refugees and volunteers, can have an impact on change using our skills and talents.

EventsImmigration CommitteeYoutube

Refugee Solidarity Week 2020

DATE: 15-21 June 2020 

PLACE: YouTube 

COMMITTEE: Immigration Committee 

Refugee Solidarity Week is a week of celebration started by Human Rights Solidarity in 2020. It celebrated in the week containing the World Refugee Day (June 20) and it is aimed at celebrating, empowering and inspiring refugees with programs throughout the week. Since the week was launched under the pandemic conditions, a week-long live programme was conducted in which we published a live episode every day for Refugee Solidarity Week. Each episode contained creative arts and music performances done by refugees, interviews with well-established refugees to inspire new-coming refugees to the UK and interviews with charity founders and activists appealing to the refugees. 

Some of our guests were: 

  • Becky Dell; Musical director of Citizens of the World Choir 
  • Lord Roger Roberts; Former president of the Welsh Liberals and Mark Lavender 
  • Gulwali Passarlay; Bestselling author of “The Lightless Sky” 

Here are a volunteer’s words for their experiences at the Refugee Solidarity Week: 

“Refugee Solidarity Week was a great experience – one I feel especially privileged to have been given a role in. I’ve been involved in many activities with HRS, seeking awareness for issues across the globe, but Refugee Solidarity Week has a different feel to it. A week full of interviews, musical performances, stories, arts, crafts and many more. Despite the busyness, intensity and fatigue, seeing the outcome and the positive impact it has on people makes it all worth the effort. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!” 

The programs can be watched at our YouTube channel here: