Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/386/4364
Stop these deportations
SATURDAY 2 April will see a massive demonstration in Manchester opposing the deportation of refugees facing persecution.
Mansoor Hassan, an investigative journalist from Pakistan now seeking asylum in Britain, has been to the fore in building this demonstration. Mansoor explained to the socialist why he is seeking asylum:
"I COME from a farmer family and my investigative journalism started with writing about companies, linked to high-ranking officials and politicians, [who were] selling adulterated pesticides to farmers. I then started writing about other issues such as honour killings - the many cases of young girls being killed, forced marriages and domestic violence - and also how drug trafficking trapped local youths.
"The people involved in things like adulteration of pesticides and honour killings are very powerful, with links to the police. Very low-paid Pakistani police depend on these politicians and are given money as a bribe.
"I wrote about these things. As a result, they torched my home, they tried to kill me and my son and my wife. I am a journalist, I can live with this. But my family have nothing to do with this. They want safety. This is why we fled to Britain."
The Socialist Party has been arguing for a united, mass movement to defend the rights of all working class people, including asylum-seekers - for decent wages, working conditions, and public services. A mass movement of campaigns like Mansoor Hassan's campaign, together with the trade unions and community organisations, could win real improvements for poor people of all backgrounds. We asked Mansoor what he thought of this:
"People have been struggling for centuries against wrong decisions and oppression. These movements were only successful when there was a revolution and when it was possible to maintain the gains of such a revolution. As far as Manchester and the UK are concerned, we need to continue our struggle. Asylum seekers and refugees... should join together and fight together."
Saturday 2 April Assemble 12.30pm
Whitworth Park, Oxford Road, Manchester
Ireland: Elukanlo Olakunle wins return
Campaigners are cele-brating the return of Elukanlo Olakunle after the Irish authorities had forceably deported him to Lagos, Nigeria.
On 15 March the 19-year old student, still wearing his school uniform, was deported from Dublin along with 24 adults and nine children.
He was dumped in the Nigerian city of Lagos, where he has no family, and without money or ID papers. Elukanlo was then arrested and jailed by Nigerian authorities. In jail, he was attacked by thugs.
However, Joe Higgins, Socialist Party TD (MP), was alerted to Elukanlo Olakunle's ordeal by his fellow students at Palmerstown Community College in Dublin, who organised student protests over the deportation.
Joe Higgins and the Democratic Socialist Movement in Nigeria (the Socialist Party's counterpart) helped Elukanlo to survive in Lagos and continued campaigning for his return to live and study in Ireland. (He is due to sit exams in June.)
Irish justice minister Michael McDowell has granted Elukanlo a six-month visa but insists the case has set no precedent.
FOLLOWING THE Irish Justice Minister's decision to allow him back into Ireland, Elukanlo Olukunle issued this statement in Lagos on 24 March.
MAY I thank all my friends and school mates in Palmerstown Community School in Dublin who have been protesting and picketing over my unjust deportation to Nigeria by the Irish government.
I also thank Socialist Party members, especially Joe Higgins TD [MP], for their solidarity and support since my unjust deportation. Joe contacted members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), an affiliate of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) in Nigeria, to secure me accommodation and oversee my upkeep.
These protests from my friends and solidarity by the Socialist Party have contributed immensely to force the Irish government's review of this injustice and recall me. I shall forever be grateful for this.
However, I want to appeal to my friends and school mates and Socialist Party to prevail on the Irish government to review the cases of other victims of this similar injustice, especially the two pregnant women deported with me. I also appeal to the Irish government to positively review its immigration policies.
I shall be addressing a press conference in Lagos on 25 March over my ordeal and that of others in my category with a view to fight for more humane immigration laws internationally.
Thank you all,
In The Socialist 2 April 2005: