Migrants welcome here: snapshots from Glasgow’s Migration Gathering

Migrants welcome here: snapshots from Glasgow’s Migration Gathering

organisation stalls at the Migration gathering

By: Jawad Anjum
Date: 23 May 2017

In the face of relentless media distortion and growing hatred for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, namely immigrants and  asylum seekers, there is a growing opposition across Scotland to this insidious discourse and the harmful practices that follow; the kind of practices which result in indefinite detention of asylum seekers, needless deaths across the coasts of Southern Europe and high numbers of hate crime charges across the UK.

The recent Migration Gathering organised by Global Justice Scotland saw a whole host of organisations, supporters, volunteers, artists and local activists come together in Glasgow to further build the campaign in the struggle for migrant rights. With people from Amnesty International Glasgow , Scottish Detainee Visitors and Reguweegee among other groups as well as artists, local activists and residents of Glasgow in attendance, it was a great chance to support the myriad efforts being made to create alternative ways of looking at and dealing with migration in Scotland.

organisation stalls at the Migration gathering  discussing migration issues round a table at the event with GJN banner in background

During the day we listened to two speakers and migrants to Scotland.: Iranian born Khosrow Zanganeh talked about the kinds of initiatives being developed in Glasgow with and for refugees, and the importance of linking in with community groups. Spanish migrant Sònia Gardés Garnés talked about her many experiences – positive and negative – of living as a migrant in the UK. We also watched a film – Precarious Trajectories, about the overwhelming challenges faced by refugees as they make their long and arduous journeys into Europe, and could view a photo exhibition by Abdulazez Dukhan ‘Through Refugee Eyes’ showing images he took while living in a refugee camp in Europe.

photo exhibition at the migration gathering  people discuss the photo exhibition behind them

(Photos by Mairi Rose)

Of course, this is just one of many events as part of the ongoing migration campaign. We got the chance to build relations with other groups working on parallel issues and campaigns, learn from each other and will continue to work together on upcoming events. As a taster, for details of upcoming events in Glasgow on migrant rights, check out our blog to see how to get involved and take part however you want.

As part of the ongoing effort to engage a wider audience in these issues, Global Justice Glasgow received training to help us manage difficult conversations about migration and interact with people with a wide variety of opinions; and to listen, to question and to discuss these issues in a way that the wider media severely lacks. We hope to encourage people to take a more humane approach towards migration issues and engage in a deeper way with the challenges we have to face to ensure the right to freedom of movement for everyone.

Brexit-ing into the future and with the potential for another independence referendum looming large, Scottish identity as a whole is coming under question and its relations to the rest of the world will be under greater scrutiny than ever before. With so much up in the air, there is concern that the UK government could use this instability to push migration policies even more detrimental to the security and safety of refugees and asylum seekers. The alternative is that we speak up and challenge the way we’ve done things and work to move towards a more progressive, a more effective and a more just approach to migrant’s rights.

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