Galway to mark UN World Refugee Day

Organisers demands Government do more to assist refugees coming to Europe

“Ireland’s response to the refugee crisis has been shameful - from the long term incarceration of children and adults in Direct Provision, to the pitiful response by Government offering asylum to just 4,000 people - of which only 10 Syrian refugees have been received so far.”

This is the view of Joseph Loughnane, founder of the Galway Anti-Racism Network, ahead of a series of events taking place today [Monday June 20], which is UN World Refugee Day.

The day will be marked in Galway with music, film, gatherings, and a public meeting, organised by the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, members of the Galway Anti-Racism Network, and the Galway One World Centre.

From 2pm to 4pm there will be a 'solidarity event' in Shop Street, where the public is encouraged to write a message to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, if they have concerns about what the organisers call, "the Government’s failure to live up to its legal and moral duties to refugees". The contributions will be formed into a collage to be delivered to the minister.

“Ireland’s response to the refugee crisis has so far been shameful," says Joseph Loughnane, founder of the Galway Anti-Racism Network. "From the long term incarceration of children and adults in the Direct Provision system, to the pitiful response by government offering asylum to just 4,000 people - less than 0.1 per cent of our population - of which only 10 Syrian refugees have been received so far.”

A public meeting, entitled What Could Refugee Solidarity Look Like?, takes place at 7pm in the Galway Arts Centre, Dominick Street. It will begin with screening of a short documentary by activist Caoimhe Butterly, featuring the voices and experiences of people stranded at the European borders.

Lucky Khambule, founding member of MASI, will talk about the campaign to end Direct Provision, a system described by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission as, “a severe violation of human rights”. Roshan De Stone, studying at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will talk about her experiences working in refugee camps. She will also encourage participants to consider how human rights instruments could be used to campaign for refugee rights. The evening will be closed with music from anti-racism activist and singer-songwriter, Sharon Murphy.

The event is open to all and admission is free. For more information contact [email protected] or phone Vicky at 087 - 2645344.

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