A fire has broken out and fire engines have been called to Napier Barracks in Folkestone following an upsetting afternoon for the residents

People placed in Napier camp, Folkestone have been living under significant pressure for a long period of time, they have had demonstrations to try and bring this to people’s attention, and this spilled over today.

This report is from Status Now4All signatory Care4Calais:

30 January 2021: Care4Calais@Care4Calais· 300 men have been left in Napier Barracks after yesterday’s fire. Many spent the night with their belongings destroyed and without electricity or heating. We are fundraising to help get emergency provisions into the camp – you can donate here:

29 January 2021: Care4Calais reports: · A fire has broken out and fire engines have been called to Napier Barracks in Folkestone following an upsetting afternoon for the residents. They each received an impersonal letter from Clearspings, the accommodation provider, saying they would be split into new ‘bubbles’ and would need to self isolate for a further ten days.

Following last weeks transfers, many had thought they had a chance of leaving the camp. The letter was a great disappointment.

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Asylum Seekers of Napier barracks speak out

Following the fire at Napier camp on 29 January 2021, we have received the following letter from Napier Camp residents. Please read the letter below from 22 January 2021 also.

30 January 2021: Dear all,
As one of the residents in Napier Barracks and on behalf of so many of my friends here, I want to express my sadness and sorrow for what had happened yesterday. It was horrible to see a building burning, see the fear in everyone’s eyes and to see the staff in difficulty and pain. We want to say how sorry and disappointed we are, that this incident affected people. Especially the staff, firefighters, police and etc.

As you all know, living in a terrible condition and unsafe when it comes to Covid, affected all the residents physically and mentally. Their protests, hunger strikes and suicide attempts were all ignored from the Home Office. This incident was not something that we all wanted to happen.

People respond to anger differently. Each of us react in our own unique way when we are desperate and disappointed. Some may protest peacefully, some refuse to eat, some commit suicide and when you are even more ignored some may lose control. I want you all know that this was not something that we all can approve. The majority of us are against violence as we escaped it.

Words cannot express our shame and sadness, our solidarity with the ones who are affected by it.

I also want to ask the Home Office and other authorities to take action against violence and also make sure that Napier Barracks will be closed as it is no longer safe and secure. It is mandatory to see the people in camps as human beings and desperate people. We are all the same, thus we all express our emotions differently when we are under pressure.
Last but not least, we all want to thank the police and firefighters who helped everyone to be safe and fine.

Asylum seekers of Napier Barracks

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Behind closed doors: Filipina workers trapped by the pandemic

27 January 2021: Guardian: Journalist Corinne Redfern discusses the impact the pandemic has had on the Filipino women trapped overseas, including Mimi (not her real name) who works for a wealthy family in London for just £5 an hour. Mimi was asked to keep working through the first lockdown with the family coaching her on what to say if the police stopped her. In her spare time, Mimi helps other overseas workers escape situations where they are being abused

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Undocumented migrants must have access to the vaccine too

Migrant Voice: While we welcome the rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK, we are concerned that there are many UK residents who have no idea if, when or how they will have access to the vaccine: they are undocumented migrants, who live and work among the rest of us, but who don’t have the same access to healthcare and may be too afraid to seek out the chance to be vaccinated.

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ICIBI An inspection of the Home Office’s use of sanctions and penalties

2021 Jan 14: Publishing the report, David Bolt said: For many this will seem to be a case of too little, and much too late. From ICIBI’s perspective, in 2016, and again in 2018 and 2019, a series of inspection reports recommended that the Home Office should monitor and evaluate the impact of the hostile/compliant environment. These recommendations were only “partially accepted” and never implemented. Had they been, some of the harms suffered by the Windrush generation and others may have been avoided.

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‘We are victims, not criminals’: Asylum seekers protest conditions in military camp

12 January 2021: Independent: Home Office urged to close Napier Barracks in Kent amid warnings of unsafe and overcrowded conditions 

Dozens of asylum seekers have mounted a protest over the conditions they are being held in at a former military camp in Kent, warning that being there is putting them at risk.

More than a dozen police officers responded to the peaceful protest outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone on Tuesday afternoon. Video footage shows officers lined up in front of the camp’s residents as they hold up banners warning of unsafe conditions in the camp.

Last September, the former army base was turned into accommodation for asylum-seeking men and is currently said to be housing around 400 people.

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Asylum-seekers to protest delays in processing their asylum claims by sleeping outside in freezing conditions

10 January 2021: Morning Star:

A GROUP of asylum-seekers at an ex-army camp in Kent have vowed to sleep outside in sub-zero temperatures until the Home Office moves them to more suitable accommodation.

Five residents launched the desperate action on Friday in protest against long delays in processing their asylum claims and the squalid conditions at Napier Barracks, Folkestone.

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Brook House immigration detention centre closed due to Covid cases

8 January 2021 Independent: Immigration detention centre forced to close due to Covid outbreak

Ministers accused of ‘playing Russian roulette with public health’ after detainees moved between removal facilities

The UK’s largest immigration removal centre has been temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Covid-19, and detainees have been transferred to another detention facility as a result.

The Home Office has confirmed Brook House removal centre, near Gatwick airport, has shut for 10 days due to a number of positive coronavirus cases among staff. It said a “small number” of detainees had been moved 40 miles away to Colnbrook removal centre, near Heathrow.

Campaigners condemned the decision to move people between detention centres after they had been exposed to the virus, and accused ministers of “playing Russian roulette with public health” by maintaining detention during the third wave of the pandemic.

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Shrinking the space for human rights: A look back on 2020

2021 January 5: Written by: Frances Webber

A raft of new laws, Home Office measures and government proposals attempt to restrict the legal accountability of state actors, including ministers, while removing legal protections from those who need them most. In this IRR News long read, Frances Webber examines the various threats to human rights over the last year.

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Restaurant sends incredible Syrian-style Christmas banquet to Penally asylum camp only for security guards to confiscate it

22 December 2020@ Wales Online: Volunteers wanted to spread some Christmas cheer to the asylum seekers inside but guards ‘cruelly’ took the food away mid-way through their meal

An Aberystwyth restaurant sent a Syrian-style Christmas spread to the Penally asylum camp only for it to be confiscated by security guards (Image: Dinah Mulholland/Mark Lewis)

A celebratory spread of Syrian food was delivered to asylum seekers in the controversial  Pembrokeshire  asylum camp, only for security guards to confiscate the meal, it’s been claimed.

A group of volunteers were desperate to spread a little Christmas cheer to the men staying at the Penally asylum camp after numerous stories of the “prison-type conditions” and sub-standard food inside the camp gates.

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