100 Lanterns mark launch of Migrant Rights Centre Bristol

Issue date: 16 December 2010

Logo Bristol's skyline will be lit up by 100 lanterns this weekend as migrant rights supporters take to the Downs.

The Chinese lanterns will be launched to celebrate the opening of the Migrant Rights Centre, Bristol on Saturday 18 December at 18:00 at the Durdham Downs.

Migrant Rights Day is also celebrated worldwide on 18 December with campaigns and events to support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families.

Run by a coalition of Bristol organisations and the Human Rights Unit at the University of the West of England, the Migrant Rights Centre Bristol will feature a drop-in, run every Friday morning, which will give on-the-spot support and advice for migrants and their families in the city regarding employment, housing, legal or financial matters or other situation where they may find themselves vulnerable.

Dr Christien van den Anker, Reader in Politics at UWE and one of the founders of the Migrant Rights Centre Bristol, said, “When we see those lanterns rise into the air together it'll be a really moving reminder of migration – of the movement of people – and how vulnerable people can be due to border regimes.”

After the lantern launch, guests are invited to warm up at a film evening organised by the Migrant Rights Centre at its new home in the Pierian Centre, 27 Portland Square, St Pauls.

Lantern launchers will be treated to warm drinks and mince pies followed by two short films which show the plight of migrants both at home and abroad. The first film is about the Bristol Bike Project which takes in unwanted bicycles from the public and works with migrants who require a bike to fix them up. They then get to take their bicycle away with a quality lock and set of lights. Film director and Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, Alistair Oldham will give a short talk about the project after the film.

The second film Yoole, The Sacrifice tells the story of how 11 Senegalese men left for Spain to earn some money. However, they got lost at sea and their boat, with the dead men was found just off the coast of Barbados.

Dr van den Anker, said, “Through this very moving film, Director, Moussa Sene Absa illustrates the dynamics of global economic politics, national politics with the dreams of individuals. Through beautiful scenes of his native Senegal and interviews with many men about the circumstances that make a lot of them enter into risky migration strategies, he sketches a picture of the politics of migration and the human costs.”

The film also contains a moving interview with the widow of one of the 11 men that inspired the film. Director Moussa Sene Absa will give a short talk after the film via Skype.

The lanterns will be wire free and biodegradable. There are still some places left for members of the public to participate in this event and show their support for the Migrant Rights Centre. Everyone must register their attendance by e-mailing Jane at guccimiss@hotmail.com.

Participants must bring their own lantern - and it must be biodegradable - you can order yours from www.nightskylanterns.co.uk - use code MRBRISTOL to claim your 10% discount. Over 18s only. The event is weather dependent so participants will be contacted on the day in the event of a cancellation.

To take part, e-mail guccimiss@hotmail.com or join our Facebook page. Just search “Migrant Rights Centre, Bristol


Notes to editors:

Contact: Jane Rogers on 0775 123 7049 or e-mail guccimiss@hotmail.com
Saturday 18 December
18:00 at the Durdham Downs (to the left of the Downs Café), for lantern launch at 18:15

Film evening starts at 19:30 with warm drinks and mince pies at the Pierian Centre, 27 Portland Square, St Paul's, Bristol

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