Migrants Forum to protest 'racist border' this weekend

The North West Migrants Forum is organising a protest at Lifford bridge this weekend to draw attention to the 'discriminatory border that exists for many minority ethnic people' on both sides of the Irish border.

The protest will take place at Lifford Bridge on Saturday
The protest will take place at Lifford Bridge on Saturday

It will take place on Saturday ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which falls on Monday.

Ahead of the demonstration the NWMF said: "While the border might be invisible for many, current Common Travel Area (CTA) regulations create a very hard border for some.

"Refugees, asylum seekers and many other migrants are excluded from free movement across the border to access healthcare, work, or to visit friends and family. This invisible - racist - border on the island of Ireland has a profoundly negative impact on Black and Ethnic Minority communities resident in Ireland."

At a recent meeting Derry City & Strabane District Health & Communities Committee gave its full support to the protest and to the campaign to reform the CTA.

SDLP Councillor Lilian Seenoi-Barr, who is a NWMF director, said: "The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is held on March 21 every year to mark the 1960 Sharpeville massacre when, police fired on and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa against the apartheid 'pass laws', an internal passport system designed by the South African government to prevent the freedom of movement of black people and controlled where people could work, live and travel inside the country.

"Today in 2022, there are hundreds of thousands of people with legal rights to live and work in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland but are denied rights to move freely within the island of Ireland. BME people in NI are continually failed by policies that continue to discriminate against them and this is a prime example."

The protest follows a recent report by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that found minority ethnic and migrant communities have been often overlooked in the north.

The report also pointed to delays in the implementation of a Racial Equality Strategy.

The protest was unanimously supported by Derry and Strabane District Council in a joint motion tabled by Colr. Seenoi-Barr and People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin.

Colr. Harkin said: "Here in Ireland, north and south, refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers and our Black and Minority Ethnic communities are treated abysmally. The racist hard border must go - join the protest on March 19."

The protest will begin at 2pm at Lifford Bridge on Saturday, March 19. Transport is available from Derry and Belfast. For more information contact NWMF, for all CTA campaign inquiries please contact: [email protected]