A Thousand 4 £1000
Helping home refugees in our city
Rented housing in Brighton is at crisis point. However, most British nationals are at least eligible for housing and some other benefits, however meagre. But there are people in our city who have no such right to state assistance. Through no fault of their own, ever-changing Home Office rules mean that they are not entitled to work, and so they have no access to accommodation. Some migrants who have tried to make Brighton their ‘home’ – often because they cannot return to their country of origin - have survived, living from sofa to sofa, from hostel to hostel, even camping in local parks. Brighton Migrant Solidarity has launched the scheme T41k to provide a real ‘home’ to migrants who have forgotten how this feels. We aim to support them and give them the stability and confidence to carry on fighting legal battles, so that they may one day feel safe, permanent, and really ‘at home’.
Our project is based on a thousand people committing £1 (or a little more if they can) per month through a Standing Order to East Sussex Credit Union. We are getting close to reaching our original target, but – as housing and immigration problems abound – we need more donors urgently to commit. Only with a regular monthly commitment can we be sure to pay the rent. Currently, from next January, three of the migrants we are supporting will be homeless again unless we can raise more donations quickly. Please read this short message from one of our residents who had previously lived for years in temporary, often miserable, conditions … and then… go to the BMS website and sign up – follow links to the Thousand for a Thousand : Standing Order Form.
‘I was so excited when I heard I was going to visit the house, with a room of my own. Now I can’t believe how good I am feeling. Even my friends tell me “You’re smiling”. I feel better, really good. I am proud to tell them ‘”I have a home now”’.
(Annie, on behalf of BMS, and T41k House Support Group – November 2016)
Dr Piera Anna Tomasi
Migration Crisis in Italy
Dr Piera Anna Tomasi gave a presentation on the living and working conditions of migrant agricultural workers from Africa in the shanty town known as “Gran Ghetto” in the Foggia area of Puglia in South Italy. The shanty town is due to be demolished and is considered by the Local authorities as a “stain” that has to be eradicated given the appalling living and working conditions of its inhabitants. There is a plan to transfer the migrants to alternative accommodation and organise transport to the farms that will eliminate the exploitation of the illegal front men. In the area there is a co-operative run by a Senegalese who helps the migrant workers find alternatives to the shanty towns and illegal work.
The second reality Dr Tomasi presented was the refugees “Welcome Project“ established by Domenico Lucano, mayor of Riace, to facilitate the integration of the refugees welcomed in his village. Lucano saw the flow of refugees in Italy as an opportunity to save Riace, depopulated since the 1990s. The resourceful mayor first acted on this opportunity in 1998 when a boat with 218 Kurdish refugees on their way to Greece got stranded on the beach of Riace. Lucano proposed that the refugees should stay in the village and take over the homes and apartments that had had been left vacant by the former residents of the town. Presently people from 20 different nations live in Riace. Bakeries, workshops and even the children’s school have reopened. Some neighbouring towns followed suit.
The success in the village has been noted by the Italian government and there is a plan to promote the settlement of refugees in other shrinking communities.
The Crisis in Yemen and Peter Kyle
Pre-Qual, with the help of other groups in Brighton & Hove, will be holding an action outside the constituency office of Hove’s Labour MP Peter Kyle on Monday the 14th of November at 11:00am, to show the dismay at his decision to give his implicit support to the Saudi Arabian campaign in Yemen. Yemen is widely regarded as a humanitarian disaster zone, with 12 million people, half the country's population, currently suffering from starvation. The UK backed Saudi coalition, which has been guilty of bombing a civilian funeral and a prison, has also been accused of denying humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen by Amnesty International, with some saying the targeting of civilian food stocks may amount to war crimes. On Wednesday 26th of October, the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry suggested a motion that the government withdraw support for the Saudi coalition, which includes supplying the coalition with British planes and British bombs, until an independent UN investigation was able to decide whether the Saudi campaign was in breach of international humanitarian law. This motion was defeated by 90 votes, with 100 Labour MPs abstaining from the vote and essentially backing the Saudi campaign accused of war crimes. Peter Kyle was one of those MPs.
For this reason, we will be assembling outside Peter Kyle’s constituency office at 11:00am on Monday the 14th, where we will attempt to speak with Mr Kyle to find out his motivations for abstaining, as well as spreading the word to the rest of his constituents that he has supported this campaign in their name, as their representative, and raising awareness about the conflict in Yemen in general. Also; BRING CHALK! We will also be leaving some facts about the criminal Saudi campaign on the pavement written in chalk outside Mr Kyle’s office, so that he does not forget what he has given his support to, and so the people of Hove can see what Mr Kyle really stands for.
It must be remembered that Peter Kyle also supported the British bombing campaign in Syria, supposedly on the grounds that the Assad regime and Islamic State were committing war crimes against civilians. He must be held to account for this blatant hypocrisy.