These are just two of the many events and displays organised for Refugee Week (17th-23rd June). It was first held in 1998, to counter the increasingly negative image of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK held by the British public and encouraged by the media. Now in its 15th year, the week is a celebration of the positive impact on culture and community that refugees can bring, as well highlighting the importance of sanctuary.
The aims of Refugee Week are (from RefugeeWeek.org.uk) :
- To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility
- To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK
- To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector
- To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences
For more information on this year’s events, check out the Refugee Week website.
If you are interested in reading more about the wider issues that the week is highlighting and discussing, then the Pluto website is what you need.
The books listed below are our top recommendations and include Bad News For Refugees (Pluto, 2013), a brand-new title to be released in August and available for pre-order now. This book follows on from the Glasgow Media Group’s previous Bad News books, including More Bad News for Israel (Pluto, 2011), which look at how audiences understand the news and how their views are shaped by media reporting.
The Fight for Refugee and Migrant Rights
Frances Webber. Foreword by Gareth Peirce
A campaigning lawyer describes the obstacles to justice for refugees and migrants in the current UK legal system.
“There is no person better equipped to write on one of the most pressing moral and political concerns of our times than Frances Webber. She writes with the authority of a legal expert who for thirty years has represented migrants and asylum seekers. Her new book raises questions for all concerned with the preservation of a truly democratic and humane society in which the endangered stranger to whom we owe nothing turns to us for protection and the right to life. “ – Helen Bamber OBE
“This formidable work from a frontline legal fighter with unrivalled experience, packs a political punch nothing short of a knockout. From the detailed trauma of individual struggle to the searing hypocrisy of government policy,the treatment of the ‘unwanted’, is laid bare as one of the biggest blots on our landscape. It is Francis Webber’s sense of anger, justice and hope which provide the inspirational hallmark for action.” – Michael Mansfield QC
Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe
Liz Fekete. Foreword by A. Sivanandan
Fekete exposes a new kind of institutionalised racism behind the inhuman migration and security policies of the EU.
“Liz Fekete is one of the best analysts of the complexities of racism in Europe today. In showing how racism has been profoundly impacted by Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and by a ‘xeno-racism’ directed at undocumented migrants and asylum seekers, A Suitable Enemy is the major work we’ve been waiting for. An enormously accomplished and important book” – Professor Avery Gordon, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
“A Suitable Enemy shows how the extreme right captured the political initiative by portraying immigrants and asylum seekers as a threat to European security, identity and prosperity … Liz Fekete presents an important analysis that should be used by anyone concerned about the real threats to human rights and democracy today.” – Professor Stephen Castles International Migration Institute, University of Oxford
Greg Philo, Emma Briant and Pauline Donald
Looks at how refugees and asylum seekers are stigmatised in political rhetoric and media coverage.
“This is an enormously important book that documents with meticulous scholarship the way in which immigrants have been stigmatised by the British media. It offers a compelling analysis of what is omitted from media accounts, which voices are left unheard, how simplifications and stereotypes are generated, and the consequences of this prejudiced reporting for immigrant communities who feel themselves to be under constant attack.” – Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London