StatusNow4All newsletter September 2022


Welcome to this edition of SNN newsletter where we are covering a number of items that will be of interest to everyone involved in migrant and refugee solidarity work.

Our first article reports the Runnymede Trust   “We Move” conference that was attended by more than 500 people at the University of Leeds in early September.  Status Now Network contributed to it with a panel discussing why and how we want to organize a people’s tribunal to bring the government to account on its hostile environment.
The second article is focused on the forthcoming People’s Assembly against deaths at borders that is going to take place in Brussels and members of SNN will be attending..
Finally, the third article announces SNN plans for an away weekend strategy event open to representatives of all our signatories.

Status Now at Runnymede Trust ‘We Move’ conference
Supporters of Status Now Network were present at the ‘We Move’ conference organised by the Runnymede Trust over the weekend 2nd-4th September.

Taking place at Leeds University, the conference brought together over 500 people for two days of workshop-based discussion which included a session organised by SNN on organising a People’s Tribunal.

The workshops covered a wide range of themes, from experiences during the Covid pandemic, the history of south Asian community organisation, the uses of academic research in campaigning, through to presentations of the work of specific migrant and race equality networks, such as Right to Remain and the Race Equality Network.

The sessions which seemed particularly popular centred on practical campaigning work, with the discussions promising the most about pressing issues, like destitution and No Recourse to Public Funds, attracting the most interest.  The themes of Black leadership and lived experience of migrant injustice and race discrimination were also present across many of the discussions.

SNN’s own contribution provided campaigners Loraine Mponela, Mariam Yusuf and Julius-Cezar McQuarie to explain their work around issues concerning refugees and asylum seekers and migrant experience of work in the nighttime economy.  Across this range of issues the point of pressing importance was how the multitude of risks that migrant and refugee people face are generated by hostile environment policies.

Also on the SNN panel, Don Flynn and Grainne McMahon asked how we can get beyond the ‘siloisation’ of response to immigration risk, where each set of problems generates a set of defensive actions which tend to fragment rather than unite a disparate migrants rights movement.  Flynn argued that we need a project which made accountability to a wider migrant rights movement the essence of its work, and recommended SNN’s work to organise a People’s Tribunal on migrant injustice as a way to go.

Presented as an event of generational significance in bringing together such a diverse group of antic-racist and migrant rights activists it was certainly a welcome opportunity to renew contacts with friends and fellow campaigners after the bleak years of Covid isolation.  However, the event seemed to lack a unifying core because of its failure to present a succinct statement about the nature of the political, social and cultural moment through which we are now passing.  What is the nature of the racism of British society and its state formation at this moment in time – a salient question to pose at a time when the Conservative government cabinet is being formed with unprecedented representation of people of colour in its senior positions. Why has an immigration control system, clearly in a state of fundamental crisis, still being permitted to rumble on with its rhetoric of hostile policies, even though it is clear that the movement of people cannot be contained by these means? 
Brussels People’s Assembly against deaths at Borders – 30 October-1 November.
The crisis engineered by the border control regimes of European countries has resulted in 28.000 deaths since 2014. Those who have died premature deaths come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Their deaths occur in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; and also in the Balkans, in the Alps, in the English Channel, in the Bidasoa River at the foot of the Pyrenees and in other border areas.

A group of Europe-based migrant rights organisations launched a campaign to challenge border deaths after the atrocity inflicted by Spanish and Moroccan border police  at the Melilla/Morocco frontier which resulted in the deaths of at least 35 people.

Supporters of this initiative will be meeting in Brussels at a People’s Assembly to be held on 30 October and1 November. Convened under the call ‘Rights – No deaths!’ will bring together activists from across Europe to work out a programme of activity that will strengthen solidarity across countries. Members of the Status Now Network Reference Group will be attending to engage with the discussion and explore opportunities for a deeper engagement with European migrant solidarity networks.

If you are interested in attending the People’s Assembly there is more information on the website and the Facebook page 
Status Now Network: Plans for an away weekend strategy event
SNN is currently planning to hold a weekend discussion on its campaigning strategy for the period ahead.  The core of the discussion will be consideration of where migrant rights movements have got with their fight against hostile environment policies and how the standpoint of people who have lived experience of these repressive measures can be placed at the forefront.

Our plans are still in development and we welcome the views of SNN supporters on what needs to go into this discussion.  At the moment we can say that it will take place over the weekend Friday 4th to Sunday 6th November.

Spaces for attendance will be limited but anyone representing an organisation which has registered its support for SNN’s principles is eligible to attend.

If you would like to offer your ideas on what needs to go into the discussion, or wish to register an interest in attending, please email us at info@statusnow  
Join Status Now Network
We are looking for volunteers to help develop our work on social media

Fight the anti-refugee laws and stop deportation to Rwanda
Sign and publicise the pledge to defend the rights of asylum seekers to find sanctuary in the UK. Hundreds of organisations (including Status Now) and numerous MPs have already signed it but we need to be more!
Upcoming events
30th September – 2nd October, Brussels
People Summit on Migration and march in defence of the rights of migrant and refugee people around the globe. Transnational Migrant Platform
4th – 6th November
SNN Away weekend strategy event

Please have a look at the website and send us your stories if we have missed them. The website is one of our outfacing sources of information, alongside Facebook and Twitter. Amongst other information you will find new and updated posts, our statements and related Early Day Motions, the Faith Calling Card,  information for local councils, Trades Unions and political organisations.
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