Concerns about the use of army barracks, hotels etc.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:

You can write to your MP in support of the #CloseTheBarracks campaign.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:


Updated 14 June 2021: Hansard: Napier Barracks Asylum Accommodation, Volume 696: debated on Thursday 10 June 2021

Extracts: Chris Phelps: ‘The current arrangements on the site are due to run until September. No decision has been made beyond that, but I assure my hon. Friend that he will be closely engaged with at all stages as any further decision is taken.’

There are some deeply troubling aspects the this Hansard session, and also some excellent points made.

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Concerns raised over ‘cramped and stressful’ asylum unit for mothers and babies

An expectant mother staying at a mother and baby unit in Glasgow spoke to The Canary about living conditions there. This mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been living in this unit since March 2021. She said it’s “very stressful” living in such cramped conditions where “there is no community”.

Various campaigners in Glasgow, coming together as “the Roof Coalition”, are demanding the Home Office closes this unit that accommodates over 20 women and their babies. The Roof Coalition’s #FreedomToCrawl campaign calls on the public:

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Home Office drops plans to resume evicting some asylum seekers ‘with immediate effect’

Updated 25 May 2021: Guardian: Home Office drops plan to evict thousands of migrants during pandemic

U-turn affects around 4,000 people refused asylum who were facing eviction with ‘immediate effect’

The Home Office has reversed its plan to evict thousands of migrants during the pandemic, the Guardian has learned.

The U-turn affects about 4,000 migrants who were facing eviction from Home Office accommodation.

Concerns were raised that the department’s plan to resume evictions of some refused asylum seekers with “immediate effect” could increase the spread of Covid and discriminate against people of colour who will be disproportionately affected by the policy.

A court order signed on Tuesday by government lawyers and their counterparts challenging the evictions policy confirmed that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had withdrawn it.

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COVID-19 has also laid bare existing fault lines within society and has exacerbated inequalities.

19 May 2021: National Audit Office: Initial learning from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic a Cross-government report SESSION 2021-22, 19 MAY 2021, HC 66

We are the UK’s independent public spending watchdog. We support Parliament in holding government to account and we help improve public services through our high-quality audits:

Initial learning from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Over the last year, the National Audit Office has reported on the breadth of government’s response to COVID-19. Today’s report draws out the initial learning from this work to help government evaluate its performance, capitalise on new ways of working and better manage potential future emergencies.

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A Letter to the People of the UK

16 March 2021: Hasting Community of Sanctuary: Speaking from the Heart about Napier Barracks

Erfan – a former resident held in Napier Barracks for nearly 6 months, and who was one of the nearly 200 people who contracted Covid in the massive outbreak in the barracks in January has written a powerful letter to the People of the UK. We are honoured to share it here.

The letter can also be found here: Help Refugees: https://helprefugees.org/news/a-letter-to-the-people-of-the-uk-from-a-former-resident-of-napier-barracks/

A Letter to the People of the UK

Dear People of the UK,

You may know me from the letters which were written on behalf of the Napier barracks residents. I am now outside of the camp and cannot talk on behalf of my other friends. However, I personally would like to say a few important things about what I have seen and learnt during my stay at Napier Barracks and the United Kingdom.

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Asylum seekers threatened with homelessness for not complying with ‘unlawful’ 23-hour curfew, court hears

12 March 2021: Independent: Vulnerable people banned from leaving hotel accommodation for more than an hour a day, say lawyers

Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard.

Lawyers representing four vulnerable people said a “climate of fear” had developed among those living in hotels being used as asylum accommodation due to “threats” made by Home Office contractors imposing limits as to how long they can spend outside the facility.

[…] In a brief ruling, Judge Tim Corner QC said the Home Office had agreed that it should write to accommodation providers and asylum seekers “making clear […] there is no 23-hour curfew”.

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Life in ‘contingency units’

The Home Office says that people are assessed as to their suitability for life in the camps – Penally and Napier – people who have been sent to the camps said that there was no assessment carried out to their knowledge, other than on first arrival when they may not have fully understood the situation or the language (or interpreter). 

In relation to social distancing, people who have been living in the camps describe sharing sleeping areas with many other people, having to use communal showers, sharing toilets with many others,  eating in a large area which everyone is expected to use,  one communal room for socialising for everyone where the internet signal could be found and the (two) TVs were kept.  

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EDM #1442: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Status Now Network welcomes the support of this informal coalition of MPs who stand with us in our campaign for people who are undocumented and those in the legal process to be given Indefinite Leave to Remain/settled status:

Early Day Motion 1442 tabled on 3 February 2021: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Motion text: That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.

Brought by Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East

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Please ask your MP to support EDM #658.

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.

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Status Now 4 All – this is our call

27 March 2020 An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland

We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.

[*The word ‘Indefinite’ was added to the call in our second letter, dated 27 March 2021: https://statusnow4all.org/open-letter2-to-the-prime-minister-of-the-uk-and-the-taoiseach-of-ireland/]

This is the letter in full below – we have not yet received an answer:

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