Citizens UK, an independent, non-governmental organisation is striving hard to bring different communities together and unlock their potential to make Britain more socially responsible, tolerant and just country. With its offices across the UK, over 250 civil society institutions have joined this organisation in its community and capacity building campaigns who are working together for the common good of their communities.
Among those who witnessed the first congregation of the Diaspora Peoples’ Assembly was Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats who noted, “These dudes are awesome.” Mr. Hughes agreed to work with London Citizens and the leaders present to continue to make good on his party’s promise to end child detention in the UK.
When asked how he would improve relations between the MET and the incredibly diverse communities in London, Superintendent Stuart Smith, the MET’s lead on diversity, agreed to work with London Citizens to create a more productive relationship between diaspora communities and the MET Police, especially focusing on stop and search policies.
Suzanne McCarthy, the Immigration Services Commissioner, personally endorsed the New Citizens Legal Enterprise aimed at chasing out cowboy lawyers and advisers who take advantage of migrant communities, and agreed to work with those present to build the Legal Enterprise, which will refer migrants to trusted and accountable lawyers in their communities.
When asked how he would respond to the widow of Jimmy Mubenga, a young man killed during his removal from the UK – Geoff Vinall, CEO of the UKBA’s corporate employer dealing with removals, apologized for his industry’s gross misconduct and promised to do whatever is necessary to keep this tragedy from reoccurring.
With the efforts of Liaquat Ali Hazara who is working with Citizens UK as Community Organiser, the Hazara Diaspora were invited to be part of the big community in the City Temple, Holborn Viaduct, London on 10th December, 2011. The event was sponsored by Lycamobile and organized by Citizens UK. Seven hundred migrant community leaders came together to celebrate their diversity and power by setting goals and pressing major political and corporate figures to make change. In addition, there were 40 different communities with 40 VIPs who shared their views and civic and immigration problems their communities are facing in the UK.
Liaquat Ali Hazara, being the Community Organiser with the Citizens, UK and Asghar Ali Gulzari attended the VIP session which included informal chat and ineraction with others.
Finally, Lord Glasman, Ed Miliband’s adviser on diversity issues promised to continue working with London Citizens and its diverse migrant communities to right the wrongs experienced by diaspora communities in London and around the UK.
The children were particularly keen to take part in various exciting activities, viz., group dancing, tableaux, chorus and solo singing and multi-ethnic performances, receiving applause from the audience.
The inaugural ceremony of the Diaspora Peoples’ Assembly incorporated roll call where people of various communities holding their flags were called on the stage.
Similarly, Muhammad Raza, Asghar Ali Gulzari and a Hazara kid represented the Hazara Diaspora, holding high the flag of Pakistan and Afghanistan who were hugely greeted and welcomed by its member communities. In addition, the chair of the programme briefly introduced the Hazara Diaspora and mentioned of their persecution in Afghanistan and Pakistan while the audience were still applauding the participation of the Hazaras. The existing members of the Citizens UK briefly mentioned about their plights, especially immigration problems in the UK while the UKBA representatives and the Chief of Borough police described how the police are assisting organisations such as the Citizens UK in making Britain safer and more socially responsible country.
The programme concluded with the overwhelming size of enjoined flags to be displayed and moved around the hall by volunteers among huge round of applause, cheering and booing.
Report contribution: LAH, George Gabriel and Bekele Woyecha of Citizens UK.