‘Hostile environment’ to be put on trial in London this weekend

Friday, 2 November, 2018
  • Permanent People’s Tribunal to examine the experience of migrant workers and refugees in Britain. 3-4 November, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BJ
  • Panel of expert jurors will hear evidence submitted over recent months by migrants and groups that are fighting for the rights of migrants and refugees in the UK

Jurors from across Europe will meet in London this weekend to rule on Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ and its effect on migrants and refugee peoples of all backgrounds. Lawyers, human rights experts, academics, authors, trade unionists and rights defenders will examine evidence submitted from  migrants and refugee organisations, and rule on whether the ‘hostile environment’ is violating human rights standards. It is the London hearing of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT), the international public opinion tribunal established in the 1970s to draw attention to human rights violations worldwide.

The Tribunal has encouraged migrants to submit evidence for several months, and will analyse this evidence, together with hearings which will take place in a mock courtroom.  The experts will report on the reasons for migration into Britain and the experiences of migrants here – examining whether government policy has promoted discrimination and undermined human rights. They will conclude with policy recommendations for how to realise migrant rights. 

Dorothy Guerrero of Global Justice Now, a rapporteur for the tribunal and migrant to the UK from the Philippines, said:

“We now know how Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ has devastated the lives of members of the Windrush Generation. But it’s also had a terrible and ongoing impact on thousands of people who’ve come to this country to work, to study, to live with their family and to seek safety. This weekend we will look at direct evidence from migrants and examine both why migrants come to Britain and our experiences here.

“What the evidence has suggested to date is that migrants very often move because of political and economic conditions created, at least partly, by policies pursued by the British government and British corporations operating overseas. Yet when migrants try to leave those institutions, to find security and work, we are treated like criminals. Our voices are rarely heard – and we want to make sure we get our ‘day in court’ this weekend.”   

Notes

  1. The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is based in Rome, at the Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso, Via della Dogana Vecchia 5. It was established in Bologna in 1979 as a direct continuation of the Russell Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and Latin America (1973-76).
  2. The PPT on the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples has held previous hearings in Palermo, Italy in December 2017, Paris, France in January 2018 and Barcelona in June 2018. 
  3. The London hearing has been co-convened by sixteen organisations including Global Justice Now, the Institute of Race Relations, the Migrants Rights Network, Unite the Union and War on Want, and is supported by 50 others. See https://transnationalmigrantplatform.net/migrantppt/hearing-london.