Britain’s immigration and asylum policy is built on brutality. With few routes to asylum, refugees must make treacherous journeys to reach our shores. Once here, they’re forced to live in poverty and treated as subhuman. All the while the threat of deportation hangs over migrants’ heads. But resistance is growing. From activists monitoring human rights abuses in the channel, to protesters preventing deportations, people are fighting back against this inhumane system. This session platforms these struggles and looks ahead at resisting forthcoming legislation. Attendees are encouraged to join the anti-deportation demo straight after this session.
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Ben Smoke is one of the Stansted 15, a group of non-violent human rights activists who took action to stop a deportation flight leaving from Stansted Airport, UK on 28 March 2018. The plane, a Titan Airways Boeing 767 was chartered by the UK Home Office to deport 60 migrants to Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The group were arrested, endured a ten week trial and later prosecuted in December 2018 under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act and convicted of terrorism related charges.
Zita is an awards winning human rights and equality campaigner and community and trade union activist, the joint National Chair of Artists' Union England, National Vice President of PCS Union and co founder and National Chair of BARAC UK. She is also a visual artist, designer, curator, poet, writer and author. Zita is part of the UNESCO Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa and the founder and cut off the Roots Culture Identity art exhibition established by the TUC Race Relations Committee which Zita is elected to , in memory of Stephen Lawrence. She is elected to the TUC Women's Committee and General Federation of Trade Unions National Executive Committee. She is also part of European Public Services Union NEA Committee and co-ordinator of the EPSU BAME workers network and part of the Public Services International Education and Culture committee.
Zita has advised the European Commission on social inclusion and gender in the culture sector and is co-editor of a European wide report into gender discrimination and barriers in the culture sector. She is a co founder of BAME Lawyers for Justice and BME Lawyers for Grenfell.
Volunteer with Channel Rescue.
Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan political refugee currently residing in the UK.
Nadia is the Labour MP for Nottingham East, and a former care worker.
Channel Rescue is a grassroots, human rights monitoring organisation set up in response to government calls for increased securitisation and militarisation of the English Channel.