Ireland: Afghan refugees’ thirst and hunger strike – eight hospitalised

Urgent solidarity needed!

Since last Sunday, 41 Afghan asylum seekers, whose asylum requests were turned down, have occupied St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in Dublin’s inner city, and went on hunger strike. Some are refusing to take water and already eight were hospitalised. Since Monday morning, supporters of the refugees, including Socialist Party (CWI) members, have held a solidarity vigil outside the Cathedral. The vigil is almost constant and a protest march is planned for this coming Saturday.

Despite some media publicity, and promises from the authorities to enter negotiations, the state has taken a very hard stance on this issue, attacking the hunger strikers for protesting in a religious building and indicating that they will only deal with the refugees’ cases individually.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs described Afghanistan as an unsafe place and advised Irish nationals not to travel there. However, the Department of Justice is insisting on deportations.

Members of Socialist Youth have publicised the refugees’ plight at schools. Six of the hunger strikers are school students. They leafleted many schools and were invited by the school authorities to address students at one school. On Thursday 18 May, despite torrential rain, a protest of about 30 school students took place.

Last year, school students and members of Socialist Youth organised a campaign that forced the Irish Justice Minister to allow a Nigerian student, Kunle, to return to Ireland. Further school student action, linked with an international solidarity campaign can also force the Irish Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, and Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Bertie Ahern, to make concessions regarding the Afghan refugees.

We appeal for protest letters to be sent to Irish Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, and Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Bertie Ahern and also to the Irish media.

Please send to:

Bertie Ahern – European and International Affairs

Phone: 01 – 6194123

Fax: 01 – 6621899

Taoiseach’s Private Office

Phone: 01-6194020 / 4021 / 4043

Fax: 01-6764048

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell

Office of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

94 St. Stephen’s Green

Dublin 2

Telephone: + 353 1 6028202

Fax: + 353 1 6615461


Leaflet text distributed to Dublin schools this week

Socialist Youth campaign against deportations

41 Afghan refugees, including six school students, are inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on hunger strike because this government and its biased asylum process have failed them. Afghanistan is a war torn and poverty-stricken country, where conditions are now even worse since the intervention by the US and British.

These people fear that if sent back they will face persecution and possible death but the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, and the government, do not care about such facts.

School students must defend the rights of these asylum seekers. Our activity can play a role forcing the government to secure the status of the Afghan men and youth.

School students in Socialist Youth, the youth wing of the Socialist Party, fully support the establishment of ‘Schools Students against Deportations’. If every school student, here today, gets active, we can make a difference. Take leaflets and petitions and help mobilise more school students and your friends for the protest march, this Saturday 20 May.

Assemble at 1.30pm at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame Street.

What we stand for:

  • Defend the right to asylum – no deportations
  • No deportations of school students
  • Build a campaign of school students and young people to defend the right to asylum
  • No to "competition" amongst people, no to scapegoating – for unity in the fight for decent jobs, homes and services for all

Why are there deportations taking place?

The government display the same hypocrisy to asylum seekers and migrants as they do towards Irish working class people. They attack the rights of migrants to make a cheap political gain but then they favour immigrants when they, and their big business friends, can make a profit out of immigrants’ work. People’s needs should be put before profit. Everyone has the right to a decent livelihood and to live in peace and security.

Socialist Youth

Socialist Youth campaigns on issues such as opposition to racism and deportations, the war in Iraq and attacks on young workers’ rights. We stand for a democratic socialist society, as an alternative to the capitalist profit system that is the root cause of these problems.

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May 2006