Preparing the ground in Kendal to welcome refugees and support migrant workers

 

Members of the newly formed ‘More in Common’ group will be marking the United Nations  Day against racism and xenophobia by gathering at the Birdcage in Kendal on March 22nd between 10am and 2pm.  

 

The purpose of the event is twofold:

  • to prepare the town for the arrival of Syrian refugees next month so that together as residents we will offer understanding and welcome; and
  • to raise awareness and confidence around tackling prejudice and hate crime.

Campaigners will be engaging members of the public in conversations using the word ‘hello’ in the many different languages spoken in Kendal. People will be invited to write messages of welcome, which will be hung on a ‘washing line’ of solidarity to demonstrate our town’s commitment to being a place of sanctuary and support for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

 

The theme will emphasise that we have ‘more in common’ than we sometimes realise, and this will carry forward the political message of Jo Cox, the campaigning MP murdered last summer by a right-wing extremist.

 

This event is supported by various groups in Kendal including Global Justice Now, the Green Party, Amnesty International, the Labour Party and members of the local Quakers.

 

Some background information

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21st March to commemorate the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. The day was proclaimed in 1966, with a call to everyone to work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

This year 2017 Theme of the Day: Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration

The UN says:

‘Promoting respect for human rights is a core purpose of the United Nations and defines its identity as an organisation for people around the world. Member States have mandated the Secretary-General and the UN System to help them achieve the standards set out in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To do so, the UN System uses all the resources at its disposal, including its moral authority, diplomatic creativity and operational reach. The Member States, however, have the primary responsibility for protecting human rights of their populations.

Global human rights challenges, such as migration, disabilities, rights of women and children, sexual orientation, and the rights of various minorities, are being addressed through promotion of equality and countering discrimination. A higher number of ratifications in the past year of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities demonstrates that States are receptive to new approaches on this issue. There are more international migrants on the move now than ever before in human history, many of them facing unacceptable levels of human rights abuses throughout the migration cycle, in countries of origin, transit and destination. In response, the United Nations has appealed for protection of the human rights of all migrants and called on Governments to embrace migration as essential for inclusive and sustainable social and economic development.’