migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

Migrant Voice holds emergency meetings

Migrant Voice holds emergency meetings

MV

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Migrant Voice holds emergency meetings

Hate crimes have escalated since the UK voted to leave the EU. In response, Migrant Voice has organised emergency meetings in Birmingham and London which were attended by dozens of migrant and other minority groups, faith leaders, the police and civil society organisations.
 
We are working with other migrant-led groups to come up with joint responses and actions to combat hate crime and create a more positive climate for migrants.
 
Participants at the meetings shared many incidents of hate crime in their communities, affecting both religious and ethnic minorities, children and adults.
 
The meetings also raised concerns about reporting hate crime: many don’t know how to report, many don’t report because they have become used to it as a ‘normal’ part of life, and finally some reporting centres no longer function.
 
The meetings were held to find out what is the situation on the ground, both in negative incidents and positive actions, and who is doing what. We wanted to know who is collecting incidents of hate crime, who is campaigning, who is working with the Police. In particular we wanted to find out what needs to be done, how we can work together on this and what’s next.
 
The tone of the referendum campaign and of politicians has encouraged people to think that racism and other kinds of discrimination such as homophobia are acceptable.

Positive responses were also reported by participants, and Migrant Voice is now organising a Welcome Migrants initiative. There are many such initiatives and it is important that we encourage sharing of information and ideas between groups – including the police – and communities. Action in schools is equally vital, and the drawing up of guidelines for headteachers was a popular demand at the meetings.

  • A group of headmasters has already written to the government about the way some children have interpreted the leave vote. Other positive measures reported to us include:
  • A meeting with the police to ensure aggravators of racially motivated hate crimes are punished and dealt with
  • Organisations are advising members on how to apply for residency
  • Organisations are helping their members report hate crimes
  • Reporting and monitoring of hate crime incl. by the Racial equality councils, Tell Mama, and the Muslim council of Britain
  • Hundreds of people have been making new ‘I am an Immigrant’ posters, including British people in solidarity
  • Amnesty has been pressing local councils to declare what actions they will take to tackle racism
  • The organisation New Europeans sponsored a parliamentary action called an Early Day Motion that seeks to clarify and guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU.

Another meeting on the issue of hate crime has been organised by Migrant Voice, on 20 July, at the London office, Collaboration House, 77-79 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4PW.
 
It is vital that we work together and engage more people and groups in facing the challenges, especially since the debate about migration will inevitably intensify still further as politicians negotiate the new relationship with the EU in the coming months and years.