STUC 2015 St Andrew’s Day March and Rally - No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here

November 26th 2015

No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Annual St Andrews Day March and Rally takes place Saturday 28th November. The event this year has the theme ‘No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here’

Speaking ahead of the March and Rally, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said,

"With a humanitarian tragedy unfolding, it seems appropriate to use the annual anti-racist St Andrew’s Day March and Rally to send a clear message that Scotland welcomes refugees and that we are ready to provide space in our country for all those who need it. With more than 700,000 refugees having entered Europe this year alone and millions of refugees fleeing Syria and other conflicts and crises around the world, our Government needs to face the enormity of this issue and show the compassion that people so desperately need.

“We applaud the Scottish government and civil society for the support they have already shown refugees coming to Scotland. We also call on all agencies and tiers of government in Scotland to make clear their willingness both to welcome further refugees and to commit to accommodating a disproportionate share of the UK’s dismally small pledge of 20,000 refugees over 5 years. This would have the effect of increasing the pressure, UK-wide, for a higher number of refugees at a faster pace to be allowed to come to Britain as well as making real the pledges we have made in Scotland.

“We need to do more to support refugees at home and abroad. We must also challenge racist attitudes that exist in our community and in our workplaces. The violence directed against Scotland’s Muslim community after the Paris attacks shows just how much work still needs to be done.”

The rally will be used to hear the voices of refugees who have made Scotland their home.

Quotes from refugees participating in the Rally

“The current refugee crisis is the worst of its kind since the Second World War. No one leaves their home country for no reason. People flee because they want to survive and to live a life free from war, torture and persecution. As a refugee, I am very grateful for everything Scotland has provided for me and my family. I know that many people would love to have the opportunity to have an education and a chance to have a brighter future. Scotland has a great history of welcoming refugees and I am proud to be part of a community that is compassionate and humanitarian." Amal Azzudin, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees

"Becoming a refugee is not a choice; it is rather the result of wars, persecution, human right violations and injustices in our home country. To have refugee status in Scotland was a turning point in my life, above anything else, I felt safe, secure and optimistic. I’m able to exercise my fundamental human rights without fear, oppression and torture. Eight years ago, I came to Glasgow as a helpless and confused asylum seeker, but now I am a productive citizen who is giving back something to the country that has provided me all the things that I needed. " Mulugeta Asgedom from Eritrea

“Glasgow became my new Damascus” Hikmat Abal from Syria

‘Now I have started a new life in my new country here in Scotland in the city of Glasgow, now I feel safe and free’ Mengistu Rago Gurmu from Ethiopia

"I think it is shameful that we are turning our backs on refugees, no matter where they are from. When did it become acceptable to turn a blind eye on other human beings in need of help?" Meriem Timizar, Refugee Women’s Strategy Group

Ends

For further information contact Helen Martin 07583030741

Notes to Editors

The march will assemble on Saturday 28th November at Glasgow Green (Green Dyke Street entrance) from 10.30am marching off at 11.00am to a rally at Glasgow Film Theatre at 12 noon.

March Route; Glasgow Green, MacLellan Arch, Saltmarket, Glasgow Cross, High Street, Ingram Street, Montrose Street, Cochrane Street, George Square South, St Vincent Place, St Vincent Street, Hope Street, Bath Street, Douglas Street, Sauchiehall Street, Rose Street and Renfrew Street.

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