From one of our co-signatories: DEADLY ACCOMMODATION CRISIS FOR GLASGOW’S HOTEL ASYLUM SEEKERS – WE DEMAND A PUBLIC INQUIRY
In his response yesterday to an urgent question from Alison Thewliss MP about support for asylum seekers, Chris Philip MP, Home Office Minister stated that
“among those people accommodated in hotels there has not been a single confirmed case of coronavirus and therefore the steps taken to to safeguard the public and safeguard the asylum seekers in particular, have been successful.”
Mr Philps failed to mention that no-one had been tested, or acknowledge that asylum seekers in the hotels had complained of being denied medical attention and being confined to their rooms. He also failed to acknowledge that the mentally ill asylum seeker who attacked six people including a police officer in the Park Inn Hotel in Glasgow was reported to be isolating from suspected Covid 19 and had been confined for 20 days in one of the hotels.
Mr Philp’s argument seemed to be ” it turned out good so we must have done something right”.
We have an urgent request: the call for Status Now for All is being carried into Parliament in an Early Day Motion – EDM #658 as follows:
EDM #658 – LEAVE TO REMAIN STATUS
That this House notes that there are currently an unknown number of persons in the UK who are not citizens of the UK and who do not at present have leave to remain in this country, who lack any entitlement to support from the state and are therefore entirely without funds to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families and who are unable to comply with government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing; and considers it essential that the government takes immediate action to ensure that leave to remain in the United Kingdom is granted to all such persons who are within the UK but are not citizens, irrespective of their nationality or immigration status, so that they can access healthcare, food and housing to enable them to adhere to government advice on social distancing, and to ensure the health of themselves and their families as well as helping protect the health of all of us.
24 June 2020: BBC: There are an estimated one million undocumented workers in the UK. The coronavirus pandemic has presented them with a new set of challenges and fears over how to maintain an income, remain healthy or even stay alive.
[…] As the lockdown eases across England, charities have said they fear London’s undocumented workers could be among the most vulnerable in society.
Housing: As the Government announces further lockdown relaxation measures, SNN is receiving reports from the length and breadth of the UK which are indicating that the State intends – it may have already begun – to evict people previously homeless, or in short term NASS accommodation, back into destitution. SNN condemns any such intention or action and restates our call for housing healthcare and food for all: only collective action, based in reality rather than ideology, may enable rational planning for effective pandemic management in the future.
Henry Blaxland Q.C, Garden Court Chambers: What, if Any, Legal Liability Does the UK Government Have For Deaths Caused by Covid-19? ‘The government has faced sustained criticism of many aspects of its handling of the pandemic. Central to that criticism has been the question of whether the government’s decision making has made the requirement to protect life secondary to economic considerations. What has to be faced is the shockingly high fatality rate in the United Kingdom among care home residents and those working on the front-line, including transport workers. That in itself establishes a prima facie case against those responsible for making critical decisions as the pandemic has engulfed us. All the indications are, however, that any question of legal liability at a governmental level will be firmly resisted’
Kanlungan Filipino Consortium: We have officially launched our report on precarious Filipino migrants amid the UK’s coronavirus outbreak. Our report focuses on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and associated ‘lockdown’ in the UK on Filipino precarious migrants (a majority undocumented). The report finds that the systematic disenfranchisement of migrants through the “hostile environment” agenda has exacerbated the negative effects of the pandemic and lockdown on this group. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified and highlighted the deadly effects of the hostile environment. But it also reveals the life threatening inequalities that already existed before the outbreak.
Executive Summary: “Give a chance for all [those] without papers, like me, to feel safe” –Shane’s message to policy-makers
This report documents the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and associated ‘lockdown’ in the UK on Filipino precarious migrants (a majority undocumented). It is based on research conducted in May and June 2020, including an online survey with 78 respondents, and 15 follow-up interviews.
19 June 2020: Blue Shoes Productions: In November 2018, we had the pleasure of meeting Jenny Dakosta Van Mputu. At the time, we didn’t know that we would be meeting someone with a story as incredible as his, one that is as inspiring as it is heartrending.
Throughout his life, Jenny has been an activist for human rights, and a protester against the abuses of the dictatorships in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As an activist, Jenny founded an organisation, No Impunity for the Congolese State (NICS), to help combat the human rights abuses in the DRC.
LAURA NYAHUYE who made the video below says: I listened to several audios and watched several videos from the content that we collated. We collated information in various languages. The audios that kept coming back to me was Loraine Masiya Mponelas audio. Loraine shared about her role as a leader/chairperson with Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group – CARAG https://www.carag.co.uk during COVID 19. The need to adjust and interact via zoom, searching for funding and supporting the A to Z needs of others. For example, phone credit, internet, housing, mental health, wellbeing, food to mention a few. Amid all this Loraine was/is worried about her health. While worrying for her health she is worried about her son whom she has been separated from for 9 years.
The Ubele Initiative, a social enterprise which supports BAME communities which coined the #WeNeedAnswers campaign, has sent an urgent pre-action protocol 23-page letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson after they say he did not acknowledge or respond to two previous pleas for action voicing concerns over BAME deaths.
The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland welcomes the inclusion of ending the abhorrent system of Direct Provision in the negotiated programme for government. For the first time since the system of Direct Provision was introduced 20 years ago, there is acceptance that it cannot go on any longer. MASI commends the Green Party for their insistence that ending Direct Provision must be included in the programme for government. The recognition that capital investment will be required in order to move to a more humane asylum reception process and an end to the profiteering racket that is Direct Provision is welcomed as a point of departure.
This is a powerful discussion, giving a voice to people with lived experience, also featuring Shami Chakrabarti, Alf Dubs and Jeremy Corbyn.
Follow up to the Refugee Week special
Crispin from Stay Home for Labour writes: An edited version of Wednesday’s Refugee Week special – the full show is also available on YouTube.
Our Refugee Week show on Wednesday evening was emotional and inspiring and showed just how noble and brave refugees are and how much we urgently need to support them.
Refugee Tales featured at the beginning of the show and you find out more about their mission to tell the story of refugees here.
The Status Now 4 All campaign which also featured on the show aims to make sure everyone’s basic needs are met during the current Covid-19 pandemic and affirms that the only way to ensure this happens is by giving Leave to Remain to all refugees and migrants both inside and outside of the asylum and immigration system. You can find out about their campaign and petition here.
If you able to support future Stay Home for Labour discussions with a donation, it would be very welcome. The shows aim to raise awareness of issues, give a voice to the grassroots and raise morale during this bleak period.
Asylum seekers are people whose request for protection is yet to be processed. International law provides that anyone has a right to seek asylum from persecution. Undocumented migrants are people who have spent many years in the UK, often building strong ties and family life, but still have diminished rights.
This letter comes to you from our Status Now Network signatory, the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium and their partner, the Filipino Domestic Workers Association.
“We salute the invisible workforce of domestic workers and celebrate their contribution to society on this International Domestic Workers day, 16 June 2020.
Yet many domestic workers in the UK, and indeed all over the world, are migrants. They are extremely vulnerable because their visas often tie them to an individual employer. This gives the employer enormous power over them and can expose these workers to violence and sexual abuse. Many of our undocumented workers work in almost slave-like conditions.
At the height of the corona virus pandemic, many domestic workers lost their jobs because their employers were afraid they might “carry” the virus. Many of them who were “live in” were evicted rendered homeless. They were pushed into overcrowded accommodation with friends and relatives. Some contracted the virus and some died. Many of those who kept their jobs were confined with their employers in the lockdown and ended up having to serve their employers day and night.
But also many thousands of these domestic workers, also carers for isolated elderly people, have provided them with vital care during the pandemic thus far. These workers were shown to be literally “lifesavers” for many vulnerable people in our communities: