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

22 January 2021 – from Napier camp residents:

Guardian: Asylum seekers plea for help as Covid sweeps Kent former army barracks

Refugees at Napier Barracks say UK ministers have falsely accused them of refusing to self-isolate

open letter hitting out at ministers for blaming them for a large Covid outbreak, insisting it is not possible to social distance in the camp.

There are about 400 men held at Napier Barracks near Folkestone, Kent, at the former Ministry of Defence site, and at least 120 of the men, around one in four, are understood to have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Home Office has not confirmed the numbers of positive cases on the site.

When details of the outbreak emerged, the immigration minister, Chris Philp, released a statement accusing some of the residents of “refusing to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules” or be tested.

But an emotional open letter addressed to “all British citizens”, written by one of the men and signed by 200 of his fellow asylum seekers, sets out the challenges they have in social distancing in cramped conditions. [Read more]