Home Office accused of cover-up at camp for asylum seekers

Updated with report in the Guardian 26 November 2020: Medical staff urge Priti Patel to close barracks housing asylum seekers

Exclusive: Letter to home secretary raises concerns about sites holding 600 men in Kent and Pembrokeshire

Healthcare professionals have called for former army barracks being used to house asylum seekers to be closed over concerns about the residents’ wellbeing.

Medical staff have written to the home secretary, Priti Patel, with a damning assessment, to raise concerns about the sites at Napier barracks in Kent and Penally barracks in Pembrokeshire, which between them are holding more than 600 men.

The group, represented by Doctors of the World, a human rights organisation, believe the sites are unsuitable due to the lack of access to adequate and appropriate healthcare services and risks from a lack of compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

They also fear the military environment will trigger further trauma for the men, many of whom will have fled conflict, militia and may have been detained in similar environments in their home countries. [Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/26/medical-staff-urge-priti-patel-to-close-barracks-housing-asylum-seekers


23 November 2020: Guardian: Home Office accused of cover-up at camp for asylum seekers

Official Secrets Act used to prevent volunteers discussing ‘disturbing’ conditions at ex-barracks

Volunteers have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements underpinned by the Official Secrets Act before entering an army barracks used to house asylum seekers, as details emerge of the “disturbing” conditions on the site.

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Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures

and … Bella Sankey@BellaSankey· Director of @DetentionAction: And it’s officially confirmed. The @ukhomeoffice are planning a pre-Christmas mass deportation of Black British residents to Jamaica on 2nd December. Despite #COVID19 risks they think that they have capacity to deport 50 people on the flight. #Jamaica50@DetentionAction

Note – you can sign this petition: Urgent action needed: Home Office plan pre Christmas mass deportation to Jamaica during lockdown


EHCR: Home Office failed to comply with equality law when implementing ‘hostile environment’ measures Published: 25 Nov 2020

We assessed how and whether the Home Office complied with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) when developing, implementing and monitoring the hostile environment policy agenda, particularly in considering its impact on Black members of the Windrush generation.

The assessment has found that negative consequences were repeatedly ignored, dismissed, or their severity disregarded at crucial points of policy development. There was limited engagement with representatives of the Windrush generation, even as the severe effects of hostile environment policies began to emerge.

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‘Work It Out’ and ‘In the Gaps’ from JCWI

2020 Nov 24: report from one of our signatory organisations, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants : Work It Out

Foreword:

Nearly a year after the first documented case of Covid-19, no life has been left untouched by the pandemic. Many of us
have lost loved ones. Many more have lost jobs and livelihoods. We have all learned how important it is to feel safe, loved and cared for.

But throughout this crisis, countless lives have been saved and many of our communities have been kept afloat. Not by walls or hostility but by workers.

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SERCO attempting to evict Refugee People during Lockdown

22nd November 2020 Press Release:

SERCO attempting to evict Refugee People during Lockdown

“… evicting people onto the street does nothing,

apart from create more illnesses, more miseries and more risks of death. 

It has to stop.” 

Shade Alonge, for DeButterfly CIC and Mama Health and Poverty Partnership,

Greater Manchester

On 19th November, two members of the human rights organisation RAPAR, both of whom live in the city of Manchester, both of whom fled from persecution in their home countries and both of whom have been awarded Refugee Status, received letters from SERCO telling them that they are to be evicted from their homes on 29th November and 17th December respectively.

The private company SERCO, whose Chief Executive Officer is Rupert Soames the brother of ex-MP for the Conservative Party, Sir Nicholas[1], is contracted by the Home Office to accommodate people seeking asylum in the North West.  Under non-COVID conditions, there are two points in time at which SERCO are entitled, legally, to tell Refugee People that they intend to evict them from their homes: 

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‘We are only as safe as the most vulnerable in our society’

19 November 2020: During this pandemic, the government has handed out £18 billion to private companies, many of which had little or no experience in public health and whose only qualification seem to be a close personal relationship with a member of the government. This is a government that is frivolous when it comes to handing public money out to Tory donors or private companies, but penny pinching when it comes to bailing out communities across the country.

Asylum seekers forced to travel miles to sign on with Home Office during lockdown

Independent: 17 November 2020: Exclusive: Lawyers prepare to challenge ‘reckless’ decision to continue in-person immigration reporting

Asylum seekers and trafficking victims are being forced to travel miles on public transport despite lockdown restrictions because the Home Office has said they must continue to report to officials in person.

People who are awaiting a decision on their application to remain in the UK – including modern slavery victims and torture survivors – are required to regularly sign on at a Home Office reporting location.  

This requirement was temporarily suspended in March because of the pandemic, but in August and September the Home Office sent texts to people stating that they must start reporting in person again “due to the easing of Covid lockdown measures”.

Since 5 November, when the government announced a second lockdown – telling people to “stay at home” where possible – migrants with reporting conditions have been informed that they must continue to sign on with the Home Office in person.

Leicester City Mayor and Council are now signatories

Cllr Danny Myers, Assistant City Mayor – Policy & Communications of has confirmed today that Leicester City Mayor and Council has joined the growing list of Signatories to this campaign for Status Now 4 All.

You will see on this website that Peter Soulsby, the City Mayor, and the Mayoral Team have expressed their support for what needs to be achieved:

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More chaos and human rights violations

2 November 2020 Guardian: Lone child migrants cannot be put in adult hotels, high court rules

More under-18s seeking asylum likely to be affected by ruling against Hillingdon council

The high court has ruled that unaccompanied child migrants cannot be placed in adult hotel accommodation after three young asylum seekers won the right to be placed in the care of social services in the first case of its kind.

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Undocumented women are stuck in domestic violent relationships because mainstream support is not available to them.

Please watch.

In our open letter of 27 March to the Prime Minister in which we are asking the Government to give Leave to Remain to everyone so they can access support just like everyone else, we write:

 “People who are destitute and/or undocumented and living in the shadows fear what will happen to them if they identify themselves, cannot access healthcare, emergency shelter and food, nor report or seek protection from domestic violence, rape, exploitation and other abuses – levels of which are already rising.”

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Undocumented Migrants and Human Rights – Solidarity Knows No Borders

This is the recording of Regularise’s live webinar – Undocumented Migrants and Human Rights – Solidarity Knows No Borders – which was held on Saturday 10th October from 4pm to 5:30pm. https://regularise.org/blog/update-from-october-10th-webinar-undocumented-migrants-and-human-rights-solidarity-knows-no-borders/

This was part of the Solidarity Knows No Borders : Action Against the Hostile Environment weekend of action coordinated by Migrants Organise, with the Monday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Jimmy Mubenga who died after being restrained by G4S security guards onboard a charter flight to forcibly remove him from the UK.

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SNN statement: Open safe pathways to UK, prevent more deaths in the sea

27 October 2020: Once again, people travelling in desperation have died in the Channel trying to find a safe place to live because there is no legal way to come here, while members of the UK Government talk of creating wave machines, and employing people to send the boats back, and make no secret of the crass, racist, hostile and heartless policies that they have put in place.

Why people are left to die in this way?

SNN member organisation RAPAR delivered a letter to the UK Government in 2015 on behalf of leaders in the Calais ‘Jungle’, offering the chance to listen to the people directly affected if they really wanted to do something humane, and that offer is still on the table. The Government had this opportunity five years ago and did not take it – how many lives have been lost in the interim? Read the report here: http://www.salfordnow.co.uk/2016/04/28/manchester-letter-calais-jungle/

It is outrageous, and terribly sad that we as a relatively comfortable country think it OK to treat others this way.

Continue reading “SNN statement: Open safe pathways to UK, prevent more deaths in the sea”

Open safe pathways to UK, prevent more deaths in the sea

27 October 2020: Once again, people travelling in desperation have died in the Channel trying to find a safe place to live because there is no legal way to come here, while members of the UK Government talk of creating wave machines, and employing people to send the boats back, and make no secret of the crass, racist, hostile and heartless policies that they have put in place.

Why people are left to die in this way?

SNN member organisation RAPAR delivered a letter to the UK Government in 2015 on behalf of leaders in the Calais ‘Jungle’, offering the chance to listen to the people directly affected if they really wanted to do something humane, and that offer is still on the table. The Government had this opportunity five years ago and did not take it – how many lives have been lost in the interim? Read the report here: http://www.salfordnow.co.uk/2016/04/28/manchester-letter-calais-jungle/

Continue reading “Open safe pathways to UK, prevent more deaths in the sea”