UITBB on World Refugee Day – June 20

The latest UN data indicate that there are currently 80 million people who are forcibly displaced worldwide. In order to fully understand the meaning of World Refugee Day, it is important to understand the underlying meaning behind this number:

To start with, what causes this situation is the imperialist wars and interventions, the capitalist greed to control and exploit natural resources and the modern slave trade. These have directly or indirectly forced the displacement of millions of people around the world.

It is also equally important to remember that these circles which cause the displacement of people are the same ones that exploit them when they arrive in the host countries, all in the name of more profit. And it is outrageous that some people are fooled by them into thinking that something else is going on. But we are not fooled: the imperialist greed turns people into refugees, and capitalist barbarity exploits the same people as cheap labour, turning them into nameless, expendable, money-producing machines, when they arrive in the host countries. What is worse, they also blame them for the problems of society, giving rise to racism, xenophobia and fascism.

In light of the above, UITBB honours World Refugee Day always in the spirit of international solidarity. The international class-oriented trade union movement unites millions of workers around the globe against exploitation, regardless of their origin, nationality, gender, colour or religion. In that spirit, we call upon all UITBB member organisations to defend refugees’ interests in any way possible, and fight for civil rights, dignified wages, improved working and living conditions, security, and prosperity, to combat all forms of discrimination and racism and to work towards the integration of immigrants into the local societies and social life, including trade unions.

Our help to the refugees should go way beyond mere charity; rather, the issue should be seen as a deep social problem, that will only be completely eradicated through organised struggles, which will reveal the true culprits and show the truth to the masses: that the root of the problem is imperialist greed and capitalist barbarism.

Michalis Papanikolaou

General Secretary