On May 19th, These Walls Must Fall was relaunched in Manchester with an exciting online event.
The event was planned and run by a local group of campaigners, with the help of our Manchester Organiser, Maggy Moyo. It was a culmination of months of collaborative work amongst activists from different community groups in and around Manchester most of whom were either still navigating the asylum and immigration process or have experienced it first-hand.
At the meeting we said we’d be sending out a call-to-action.
Well, save the date for Thursday 15 July!
More details to follow soon…
The relaunch heard directly from campaigners about their experiences of injustice in the immigration and asylum system, and about their demands for change and calls for solidarity and action. One of the hot topics was the re-starting of mandatory in-person signing at Reporting Centres. We also heard from special guests about the challenges ahead with Priti Patel’s so-called New Plan for Immigration.
Our relaunch event was opened by Nontokozo Malaba Ncube, a human rights defender and a campaigner with These Walls Must Fall, Manchester. Nontokozo explained that we organised this event “in support of refugees, migrants and people who are seeking asylum. Not only that but to build a good working relationship with other organisations that support migrants and people seeking asylum.”
“We are hoping from today onwards we will have a relationship with all of you as we believe together we can accomplish more. We are here to support and encourage each other in the work we are doing in our respective communitiesNontokozo Malaba Ncube
Relaunch event highlights
The event was very interactive, and most participants had the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing deliberations. There is obviously a LOT of challenges in the immigration and asylum system, but we kept the focus on detention, and the systems around that, like immigration bail reporting.
We heard from four guest speakers, namely Afzal Khan – MP for Manchester Gorton, Philip Jones founder of “First Wednesday” LGBT Asylum Support Group, Jane Traies, author, writer and campaigner, and Panyika Karimanzira, a human rights activist.
“As a member of parliament I will always stand for human rights, I will always stand for fairness, I want to see a fair and just Britain. That’s what I work for, so I give you my undertaking that I’m happy to work with you. My doors will always be open to you.”Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton
One of the major themes to emerge was that people in the meeting just wanted to be treated with dignity and respect, and to have equal rights as equal human beings. Just the same as everyone else in our communities should have. But every interaction with the Home Office seems designed to reinforce that we are not equal human beings with equal rights. That Home Office attitude has spread across government and into our communities with the Hostile Environment. Now Priti Patel has plans to further entrench the hostile environment, and divide us further. We must not, and will not let that happen!
“A luta continua!”
The event concluded at a high note with a common resolve to unite and consolidate the “These Walls Must Fall” campaign in Manchester and to use it as a common platform to fight for the abolition of detention as a form of immigration control tool and to fight against the unjust treatment of people seeking asylum. “A luta continua!” were the final words heard on closing, from the activist and TWMF campaigner Mavis Harrison. The struggle continues, and we are ready for it.
“We are all human beings, all with human needs and human rights. Currently, these rights are far from equal. The government divides our communities into different classes of people, with different human rights. This is most blatantly obvious when it comes to people not born in Britain”Ven Mutsawu
About the organisers
We are a group of local campaigners in Manchester. Most of us are either still in the immigration and asylum system and living under a hostile environment or have experienced the system before they got their right to remain.
We came together almost six months ago. We are from varied backgrounds, but what we have in common is our mistreatment by the UK immigration system, and a determination to speak out, to demand justice, to make change. These amazing humanity driven campaigners originate from different countries, from Nigeria, Uganda, Pakistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
If you’d like to get in touch to find out more or to get involved, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you!