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Hastings Supports Refugees and Hastings Community of Sanctuary have called a vigil for Tuesday 19 October.

Vigil on Tuesday to protest “harsh” immigration bill

Hastings Community of Sanctuary, together with Hastings Supports Refugees, is holding a vigil on Tuesday 19 October to express their opposition to the “unprecedented harshness” proposed towards refugees in the Nationality and Borders bill currently before Parliament. Nick Terdre reports.

A Vigil by the Sea “for all those braving and sometimes succumbing to the dangerous seas to seek safety because there is no other option” will be held on Tuesday 19 October by Hastings Community of Sanctuary (HCoS) and Hastings Supports Refugees to protest against what they call the “unprecedented harshness” of the terms proposed for treating refugees in the Nationality  and Borders bill.

Those attending are asked to meet at the gates of the pier at 5pm.

The event forms part of a National Week of Action from 18 to 24 October, centred on a rally in Parliament Square on Wednesday 20th, to express opposition to the bill which, HCoS says, “is regarded by Amnesty, the United Nations, the Red Cross and hundreds of other major and grassroots organisations and faith groups as unlawful, unworkable, immoral and not in the tradition of humanitarian  values.”

Last week HCoS presented a petition to local MP Sally-Ann Hart, a well-known supporter of the bill, calling on her to ensure that the bill embrace a “fair and humane asylum system in tune with our collective and underpinning human values,” and that “as caring people, we feel that supporting our fellow human beings who need help is the right thing to do.”

The petition gained more than 550 signatures on the streets and in shops across Hastings and St Leonards in just a few days earlier this month. People were shocked that the bill, if it becomes law, would see families with small children – including families already here awaiting their asylum decisions – picked up and sent to a remote third country to be locked up indefinitely, with no access to legal or humanitarian help, HCoS says, while “every adult arriving at unauthorised places of entry will be liable to four years in prison, and furthermore, any of us who extend a helping hand will also be liable to prosecution and imprisonment.”

It quotes a former soldier who served in Afghanistan who on passing by the group’s street stall “…was explicit in his view that we should welcome every single refugee from Afghanistan who manages to reach the UK, however they arrive: ‘I mean – we caused it all out there, and we left them completely in the lurch.  How could you not do the right thing – admit your mistake and just give them a helping hand?

‘We’ve wasted so much money on other things. Now they could spend some money on doing something good. Why would you not do it? You know, this could be their  shot at redemption – in a small way.’”

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Posted 22:24 Monday, Oct 18, 2021 In: Campaigns

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