More ‘Contingency Units’ and proposals for housing people seeking asylum

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 31 January 2021: Independent: Home Office put refugees in barracks after fears better housing would ‘undermine confidence’ in system

Exclusive: Internal documents reveal ministers justified placing hundreds of asylum seekers in military camps because more ‘generous’ accommodation would damage public perception of asylum system

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Summary of the camp_hotels situation

21 January 2021: Someone new to Qarn has written to ask: I am new to Qarn and find the wealth of info quite daunting .  Please can you tell me more about the new asylum seekers accomodation centre.  Where  can I find a summary of some of the initiatives etc and current state/numbers of asylum seekers in uk , many thanks.

The following long read may be helpful.  I know that others in the QARN group also have information. This is just one aspect of the concerns shared by QARN members – there is a lot to be concerned about and we can’t all do everything, but if we each do what we can maybe we can find a way to change the system.

To answer, it is maybe worth saying that there is a lot of traffic on QARN, but feel free to only pick up the emails that interest you.  I don’t keep up with everything myself, and I have been involved since 2007. 

I suggest that QARN is the same as other Quaker situations, where you should feel able to let some things pass if they don’t speak to you. There is a lot of history – some of us have been around for a long time, and others are fairly new to it, so feel free to ask questions, and please try not to feel daunted.

To begin to unpick the questions: first I’ll run through how the system works,  then explain why this is all suddenly of great concern. 

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Plans to open ‘prison-style’ immigration camp on site of former Medomsley Detention Centre

23 January 2021: This is disgraceful and it is very troubling that consideration is being given to increasing the ‘detention estate’, especially at this time of Covid-19:

Guardian: Planned asylum seeker site near Hampshire village ‘like open prison’

Anger over government proposal to house up to 500 people in cabins on MoD land beside Barton Stacey. Read more:

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Army-prison style camps used as ‘contigency units’

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation:

Updated 24 January: [How dare they!}

100 Asylum Seekers at Former Military Barracks Test Positive for Coronavirus’
A coronavirus outbreak at a former army barracks being used to house asylum seekers in Kent could now have grown to at least 100 positive cases, ITV News has been told. One asylum seeker at the Napier Barracks near Folkestone claimed that almost one-quarter of the 400 men living there tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. Concerns were raised on Friday that cases could spiral out of control as the hundreds of men on the site were apparently still free to mix with each other and social distancing was “impossible.”

On Tuesday, Home Office minister for Immigration Chris Philp said that he was “incredibly disappointed” to learn that the actions of some residents had contributed to the outbreak. In a statement he said: “A number of individuals refused tests and have been either refusing to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules, despite repeated requests to do so and these being national guidelines to protect the NHS and save lives.
Read more: ITV News,


Army barracks petition

A major health crisis is unfolding. A Covid outbreak has put vulnerable refugees in danger. Join us to call for the camps to close NOW.

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