Republican News · Thursday 21 December 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Refugee Solidarity Badge launched

Last Saturday saw the launch in Dublin of a Refugee Solidarity Badge by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

The badge is the brain-child of students at Castleknock Community College, Dublin and profits will go to the Irish Refugee Council. The launch, was supported by the African Refugee Network, Amnesty International and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Dublin Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe, who represented the party at the launch, commended the Castleknock students in particular for their initiative.

``Wearing this badge is a practical way for Irish people to demonstrate their solidarity and empathy with people forced to flee their own countries and who have sought to build a new life in Ireland.''

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson, called at the event for political leaders to be more active against racism. The arrival of a more multi-cultural Ireland, she said, ``presents challenges to an Irishness that must rise to that challenge''.

Her comments were echoed by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, who this week repeated his call on party leaders, throughout the island, to unite in making a joint public declaration against racism.

``I urge An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, to take a public lead on this issue through the Oireachtas, the all-Ireland institutions and in wider society. He is in a position to bring together all the other leaders of civic society - the political and church leaders, trade union and community networks, media personalities and music, cultural and sporting heroes - in a public event declaring our united stand against racism, in all its forms and wherever it appears.

``Some of us seem to have forgotten our own experience of discrimination and emigration. It is not so long ago that signs saying ``No Dogs, No Irish, No Blacks'' were displayed in boarding-house windows in England. It is not so long ago that thousands of young Irish people departed our shores for the United States to work illegally.''

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