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TRADE unionists must resist attempts to portray refugees as dehumanised monsters, a fringe meeting at the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) annual conference heard on Thursday evening.
Addressing the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) event in Brighton, the union’s Brendan Woodhouse urged delegates to challenge “divide-and-rule” narratives in their workplaces and communities.
The firefighter, who earlier became the first recipient of the union’s new Solidarity medal for helping to rescue thousands of asylum-seekers from possible death in the Mediterranean, said: “Don’t ever accept people making jokes about refugees — pull them up, embarrass them, or it will continue forever.”
In a powerful reference to the many young refugees at risk of drowning each day, Mr Woodhouse added: “They’ve got their dreams, like we had when we were little, and we should never, ever allow anybody to dehumanise them.
“Don’t let anyone talk about them like monsters.”
The meeting was addressed by other speakers, including SUTR co-convener Weyman Bennett and Care4Calais activist Clare Moseley, who praised the FBU for organising solidarity trips for its members to visit asylum-seekers in northern France.
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