Climate and borders: In Solidarity with Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment
What next for Climate Camp Scotland? As the global pandemic put our plans for a full blown climate camp on (rapidly melting) ice, attention has turned to how we can use our organising capacity to meet other critical needs.
For this reason, in the coming months, Climate Camp Scotland will be fundraising for Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment (MORE), a grassroots group in Glasgow led by people with direct experience of the immigration system. During the pandemic, MORE have been providing direct support to refugees and asylum seekers, including funds to access culturally appropriate foods and data top ups to keep in touch with family and support workers. However, since they are unable to access many conventional funding streams, the group is struggling to find the resources necessary to continue this vital and important work.
It is horrific that people seeking asylum are denied their basic needs and deprived of dignity within the current system. State support to asylum seekers currently amounts to just £37.75 a week, a paltry sum that does not cover the cost of living, and many claimants have to contend with substandard housing outsourced to the Mears Group, a private firm awarded a £1 billion contract to provide temporary accommodation. In June, it was reported that Mears had failed to carry out necessary assessments for victims of trafficking, pregnant women and children, placing them at risk and failing their duty of care. More recently, three tragic deaths have shown the dire circumstances faced by many migrants and refugees in the UK. With such incidents happening on our doorstep on a regular basis, we believe it is critical that the Scottish climate movement shows solidarity by supporting the work of MORE, No Evictions Network, the Unity Centre and others fighting against mistreatment by a racist and inhumane immigration system.
While the climate continues to unravel at an alarming speed, border apartheid is an ever present, if neglected dimension, of the ecological crisis. The same carbon-fuelled systems that uphold violent structures of colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy are the same that bind us and divide us based on the arbitrary criteria of where we were born. While those blessed with money and the right passport can travel freely, and corporations remain unrestrained in their quest to search out new frontiers for profit, millions of those forced to leave their homes due to war, poverty and persecution face interception, detainment, harassment and abuse. Borders are realised as a form of violence which prevents adaptation to the climate crisis and denies safety to those who need it most.
Our vision is to build a diverse, internationalist climate justice movement, recognising the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. That starts with an honest analysis of Scotland’s historical responsibilities, as a beneficiary of colonial wealth extraction, resource theft, and slavery. We also recognise Scotland’s historic role driving the climate crisis which is devastating communities across the global South. For these reasons, we stand fully behind refugees and asylum seekers and are led by their needs.
We will be hosting a series of events in the coming months to raise funds for MORE. We offer no expectation of how this money will be spent as we fully respect the work and autonomy of MORE and those they support. Our events include:
Sponsored bike ride to Mossmorran, 3rd October
Climate and borders webinar, 13th October
For further info, keep an eye on our website and social media.