Irish Refugee Council criticises safety standards for asylum centres

Irish Times: 8.8.2020: Half of people in direct provision ‘unable’ to social distance

A sign at the entrance to a direct provision centre in Co Kildare that suffered a Covid-19 outbreak. File photograph: Colin Keegan/CollinsShare to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to Email App

Half of people living in direct provision have been unable to social distance from other residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, while more than 40 per cent continue to share a room with a non-family member, according to new research seen by The Irish Times.

The Irish Refugee Council’s (IRC) Powerless report, which examines the experiences of direct provision residents during the pandemic, says asylum seekers are suffering “fear and trepidation” because of their “inability to control” their health and safety during the pandemic.

The call to end direct provision has become “more compelling than ever” in the context of the pandemic, the council says. The new Government has committed to ending the system.

Two levels of safety standards have been created during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to IRC chief executive Nick Henderson. “One for the general public, where social distancing is encouraged, and another for people in residential settings such as direct provision, where sharing of intimate space is implicitly accepted.” …

Read more here: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/half-of-people-in-direct-provision-unable-to-social-distance-1.4324955

We have a struggle to win and a life to live.

4.8.2020: Inquirer: Filipino playwright seeks asylum, receives prestigious UK theater grant

In his London flat, Rogelio Braga was busy typing on his laptop, in between answering emails, queries, and interviews from his caseworker. Rogelio was writing a play entitled Miss Philippines. No, it is not about statuesque beauties whose feet barely touched the earth. It is about real women, lesbian, and transgender women, barely surviving the life in the slums under Duterte’s war on drugs.

It is the same play he submitted to the Yellow Earth Theater earlier in 2020 and has been awarded £2000 seed commissions to develop new plays as part of the Professional Writers Programme 2020-22.

Continue reading “We have a struggle to win and a life to live.”

Asylum seekers remain at heightened risk of contracting Covid without stronger action from the Home Office

28 July 2020: Home Affairs Committee publishes a report on Home Office preparedness for Covid-19: institutional accommodation

[Comment: so many issues of concern, for example: the use of immigration detention – renewed call for 28 day limit; strong criticism on many levels of decisions made by housing providers to move people into ‘hotel’ accommodation and take away their personal allowance; the need for proper safeguarding, risk assessment, and impact on mental health in relation to people in multi-occupation accommodation; difficulties experienced in remaining safe in multi-occupation units for people themselves and in relation to others around them – and strong criticism of putting two strangers in one room; lack of provision of internet to enable people to access information, consult GPs etc.; lack of provision of sanitising and other products or increase in allowance to enable people to buy these themselves.]

Please read the summary and conclusions/recommendations below to get some idea of what people in the asylum system have been experiencing.


Status Now for All #healthandsafetyforall … The coronavirus is with us for the long term. If Leave to Remain were given to all undocumented people and those in the legal process, provision would be made to enable them to able to access the services they need, and these problems would not continue going forward.

Continue reading “Asylum seekers remain at heightened risk of contracting Covid without stronger action from the Home Office”

Residents of Cahersiveen direct provision centre on hunger strike

Residents are demanding to be moved to other direct provision centres
Residents are demanding to be moved to other direct provision centres

29 July 2020: RTÉ: Around 30 residents of a controversial direct provision centre at Cahersiveen in Co Kerry, say they have begun refusing food, describing their living conditions as inhumane.

They are demanding to be moved to other direct provision centres elsewhere in the country.

The centre is located at the former Skellig Star boutique hotel and was opened in mid-March, when over 100 residents were moved there.

Continue reading “Residents of Cahersiveen direct provision centre on hunger strike”

PAIH: Deadly accommodation crisis for Glasgow’s hotel asylum seekers & Refugees for Justice Manifesto

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”.

Continue reading “PAIH: Deadly accommodation crisis for Glasgow’s hotel asylum seekers & Refugees for Justice Manifesto”

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.

We are grateful to Claudia Webbe MP, Leicester East for agreeing to table the motion with support from a group of MPs: 

https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57173/leave-to-remain-status

Please will you contact your own MP, and to inform your networks about this EDM, asking them to bring it to their MP’s attention and inviting them to sign it, or if they are not able to sign by virtue of their position in Parliament, then to verbally support it in conversation with their colleagues. 

You can find your MP’s contact details here using your postcode: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

A suggested letter that could be sent to MPs is attached and here:

Continue reading “Please ask your MP to support EDM #658.”

Homelessness returning: SNN restates our call for housing, healthcare and food for all:

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.

Continue reading “Homelessness returning: SNN restates our call for housing, healthcare and food for all:”

A chance to feel safe: Precarious Filipino migrants amid the UK’s coronavirus outbreak

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.

Continue reading “A chance to feel safe: Precarious Filipino migrants amid the UK’s coronavirus outbreak”

Asylum Seekers Face Isolation and Destitution amid Covid-19

16.6.2020: Rethinking Security: Loraine Masiya Mponela, the chairperson of Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG), reflects on the unique challenges being faced by asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in the UK during the pandemic.

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.  

Continue reading “Asylum Seekers Face Isolation and Destitution amid Covid-19”