On September 28th Volunteer Action for Peace held its annual general meeting at East Dulwich in London. A total of 17 members and supporters came to the event. The highlight was a presentation by one of our members, Aneta Kurasiak, who described the two short term voluntary work projects she attended working with asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Belgium near Liège and in France in Calais. She illustrated her talk with two short films which showed the UK media portrayal of the recent destruction of the Calais camps by the French riot police and bulldozers, with French and British ministers justifying their actions.
But through Aneta we also heard the voices of the refugees who had made their way by incredible, dangerous journeys from the horrors of war and persecution in the hope of a new life in Britain. As the state shuns them they are ruled by gangsters, criminals specialising in people trafficking, who maintain a slavish hold over the migrants sometimes for many years after they have settled in a new land.
After the talk and presentation there was a discussion on how VAP could work to cooperate, through international volunteer projects, the NGOs that are supporting the refugees that do make it into the UK. It was agreed that we would investigate a project on these lines in Leeds where there are already good contacts in this field.