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Solidarity statement with Black Lives Matter

North of England Refugee Service has been providing both crisis and long term practical and emotional support to refugees and asylum seekers now for over 30 years across the region

The Covid-19 pandemic is making the lives of refugee and asylum seekers, we support even more distressing and difficult than usual as they cope – often alone – with the harsh conditions of lock-down; lack of money; lack of food and the absence of socialising with friends or by visiting the NERS office.

At NERS, we are very concerned for the mental health of people.  We know for some people it is deteriorating rapidly and their medical issues are not being treated. The Government’s Asylum Support just £5.66 a day to help people through the Covid-19 crisis is inadequate and wholly unacceptable and increases the terrible pressures people are facing during this crisis caused by Covid-19. 

NERS is coordinating and working with other agencies, foodbanks, community and religious groups and the Council Helpline to support refugees and asylum seekers who are vulnerable and in need but many of the people we know are struggling to survive; some are not surviving. 

It is in this context that the NERS Board of Trustees are making strong statements backing the BLACK LIVES MATTERS CAMPAIGN in the UK.  This originated in America following the protests sparked by the police brutality against innocent and unarmed black and minority ethnic people such as that leading to the casual murder of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis. 

At NERS, we condemn police brutality and racism in all their forms wherever and however they surface.  We are particularly concerned with the way systematic racism and discrimination viciously and tragically harm the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, particularly those from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, here and across the world. 

We are currently marking ‘Refugee Week’ to celebrate the contribution of refugees in our region and to counter the negative climate of hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers.  We cannot stand by during this week or at any time as people, whether in their hometown or as asylum seekers fleeing persecution and disaster, are discriminated against, oppressed and killed.  

For this reason, we support the demands of BlackLivesMatter and stand in solidarity with the movement and its aims.  We also support the right to public assembly and freedom of speech in protest against all racism that dehumanizes people and in support of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

Solidarity statement with Black Lives Matter

By Josephine Mudzingwa

George Floyd died as a result of police brutality in the United States which was quite a blow to North of England refugees Services NERs as many of our clients are from BME communities. 

As NERS we want make a statement that say we are strongly against Racism and we are appalled by what was done to George Floyd by US police officers displaying police brutality. 

There was no remorse or care as to how Black people are treated George Floyd was murdered and suffocated till he died in broad day light.

In our statement we believe that Refugees and asylum seekers are valued members of our community who are talented with a variety of expertise. Our BME communities are a large percentage of the front-line staff that comprises of Nurses Doctors cleaners porters to fruit pickers the majority have brought a variety of expertise. We also have most of them volunteering and working for free.

Although the UK has a long history of welcoming refugees from all over the world fleeing from violence and political unrest in often war-torn countries, we must consider how black and ethnic minority people are treated in United Kingdom. 

We as NERS we believe the United Kingdom can do better by setting out laws that protect victims of racism from police officers those must protect victims whether at work or on stop and search or in schools and remember BME community are our valuable assets. 

*We thereby stand by the phrases say no to racism and Black Lives matter*