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Local residents launch campaign for justice for migrants

CAMPAIGN: Haringey Welcome

LOCAL RESIDENTS in the London Borough of Haringey will launch ‘Haringey Welcome’, a borough-wide campaign to stand up for the dignity of their fellow residents.

The initiative is the result of increasing concerns about the harsh treatment of migrants and refugees, which has left many Haringey residents marginalised and denied their basic rights.

The launch event is Saturday (Feb 24) at 3pm in the Engine Room, N17 9FU and will be attended by local MPs David Lammy and Catherine West, as well as Haringey councillors, local council candidates, faith groups, schools and a range of voluntary organisations from the Borough.

Attendees will be invited to sign a pledge to make Haringey a more welcoming place that adheres to the values of dignity and respect for all. The campaign builds on a previous successful initiative to welcome Syrian refugees into the borough.

Haringey Welcome is now seeking to address the impact of ‘Hostile Environment’ policies that are being implemented across public services. Such policies ask healthcare professionals, teachers, local councils, landlords, employers and public institutions to check people's immigration status before providing services.

This is causing concern amongst public servants who do not see this as their role, as well as considerable fear and unease in migrant communities. There is also evidence that these policies have lead to a significant increase in racial profiling.

The campaign will work with the local authority in Haringey to pass a ‘welcome’ declaration that ensures Haringey council does all it can to support local residents, regardless of their background. In doing so, it challenges the new hostile function of immigration enforcement being imposed by central Government.

Lucy Nabijou, convenor of Haringey Welcome, explained: “As local residents, we were shocked to discover how many of our neighbours were being treated as a second class citizens. As teachers, nurses and social workers ourselves, we want to serve our community, not marginalise and discriminate against our fellow residents.

Most people have not heard of the ‘Hostile Environment’, how it is alienating vulnerable families and leaving them fearful of accessing the most basic services for them and their children. Local residents are also not aware how these changes to our public services will impact upon the wider community through accelerated privatisation and austerity. We are committed to raising awareness as a community and standing together to protect our neighbours and friends.”

SUPPORT: David Lammy MP

Local Member of Parliament, the Rt Hon David Lammy MP added his message of support:“I have seen the shocking impact of the Government’s hostile environment policies on my constituents, whose rights to access basic services have been eroded.

"I applaud the work of Haringey Welcome in standing up for the dignity of migrants and refugees. I am proud of the Haringey community’s continued commitment to diversity and inclusivity, in the face of a rising tide of intolerance.”

Rockhaya Sylla, a local welfare advisor and migrants rights specialist added: “For far too long migrants have been portrayed as a problem, something that has been translated into brutal policies aimed at migrants and refugees.

"We know that population movement is at the very origin of humanity and is nothing new. By promoting respect and dignity for migrants, Haringey Welcome simply says that we are all human beings. Haringey Welcome brings solidarity to the core of our community.”

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