Home Office accused of cover-up at camp for 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.

The Home Office has been accused of attempting to cover up what is happening at Napier barracks near Folkestone, Kent, where there have been hunger strikes, suicide attempts, unrest and regular medical emergencies among residents.

Volunteers providing warm clothing, amenities, company and counselling to the 400 men housed on the site have been confronted with the confidentiality form by the private firm running the repurposed site on behalf of the Home Office. [Read more]


The Home Office is using ‘contingency sites’ to house people seeking asylum because there is a long-term build up of people waiting for decisions that have not yet been processed. StatusNow4All would clear this backlog simply and offers an opportunity for UK to respect people’s human rights, dignity, and health and safety, especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic

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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An inspection of the Home Office’s response to in-country clandestine arrivals

2020 November 12: Inspection report published: An inspection of the Home Office’s response to in-country clandestine arrivals (‘lorry drops’) and to irregular migrants arriving via ‘small boats’

The inspection examined the Home Office’s identification and handling of migrants first encountered away from a port of entry, having entered the UK concealed in a commercial vehicle, and those migrants seeking to cross the English Channel in ‘small boats’.

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Inspection report published: An inspection of the Home Office’s use of language services in the asylum process

Published 11 November 2020: The inspection focused on how well the language needs of asylum applicants were being met but the findings will have a wider relevance. The Home Office accepted all three of the recommendations.

From: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

Publishing the report, David Bolt said:

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The Guardian view on Tories and migration: stop the posing

Guardian: Editorial

1.11.2020: The drowning of a family of five in the Channel and a fire on a ship off the coast of Senegal should prompt action – ‘thoughts and prayers’ are not enough

[…]

Responsible politicians would address the causes as well as symptoms. They would also keep a sense of proportion, and enjoin the public to do the same. The number of asylum applications in the UK (35,566 in 2019) is a small fraction of that in France and Germany; Turkey is home to around 4 million refugees. But again and again, the UK government chooses hostile posturing over rational policy based on international cooperation, respect for the law and human rights. Could the deaths of three children lead Ms Patel to give it a rest and listen to European politicians such as Ms Jalloul, or even Lord Dubs? Don’t hold your breath.

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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We need safe pathways to claim asylum in UK

Two pieces of today’s news that fit together: tragically this Kurdish family from Iran drowned in the sea trying to get to safety …

28 October 2020: BBC.CO.UK Channel migrants: Kurdish-Iranian family died after boat sank

Four members of a Kurdish-Iranian family died in the Channel when a boat they were travelling in sank – and their 15-month-old boy remains missing.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, were crossing from France to the UK on Tuesday, the BBC has established.

Their baby, Artin, has yet to be found.

.Read more:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54717137 


also the UK Court decided that it was unsafe to return a particular Kurd to Iran because of what would happen on his return as he has been out of the country, amongst other reasons: (thanks to John O for this information):

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Risk Assessing Hotels And Barracks Housing Displaced People In The UK

Statement from Status Now: 20 October 2020: Risk assessing hotels and barracks housing displaced people in the UK: Statement from StatusNow4All

We note that the role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is to help improve the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of the Home Office’s border and immigration functions through unfettered, impartial and evidence-based inspection.   

We note, in contrast, that the Home Office is attempting to side step this transparent system by hiring  a private risk management company, Human Applications (https://ergonomics.org.uk/humanapplications)  to provide a ‘rapid review of initial accommodation for single adult asylum seekers, including hotels and former military barracks, and provide assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19.’   Hastily arranged with minimal, non-transparent and selective third sector involvement, the Home Office have stated that they do not intend to make this report public.  

Living conditions have the potential to compromise the physical and psychological health of people.  Those displaced people currently accommodated by the Home Office in hotels and barracks around the UK are not being offered thorough assessment, especially in relation to the safeguarding concerns that arise from the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Home Office is failing to demonstrate either an appropriate duty of care, or any transparent process.   Similarly, the meaningful exercise of duty of care cannot be realised until there is a comprehensive test- track- trace and quarantine system that enables EVERYONE to participate, with confidence, throughout the UK. 

Alongside our call for StatusNow4All https://statusnow4all.org/about-status-now/ to enable everyone to share equal access to healthcare, housing and food, we call for the  Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration  to conduct an immediate and independent inspection that ‘provides assurance of compliance with public health guidelines to prevent the transmission of Covid 19’.

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Appeal Court Quashes UK Policy of Removing Migrants With Little Warning

21 October 2020: The court of appeal has quashed a Home Office policy of removing migrants from the UK without access to justice. In a unanimous decision, three judges found the policy, which allowed the forcible removal of a migrant from the UK sometimes within hours and in many cases without access to lawyers, to be unlawful. More than 40,000 removals were affected by the policy, resulting in vulnerable people being put at risk. Some were recognised as having been removed unlawfully, were brought back to the UK and granted leave to remain.

Wednesday’s ruling will be a blow for the home secretary, Priti Patel, who has vowed to take a tough line on removing migrants from the UK. It also comes at a time when she has been reported to be considering making some definitions of human rights law for judges rather than leaving judges to decide these legal points for themselves.

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