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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Refugee rights groups to hold welcome event outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone

17 October 2020: Morning Star: Far-right thugs harassing asylum-seekers whenever they leave MoD site in Kent where they are being held, campaigners tell the Star

Refugee rights groups to hold welcome event outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone.

ASYLUM-SEEKERS held in a former army camp in Kent are being harassed and intimidated by far-right activists every time they leave the site, campaigners told the Morning Star today.

Refugee rights groups are holding a welcome event on Saturday outside Napier Barracks in Folkestone to show support for the asylum-seekers and “undercut” the hateful messages of a small number of racists.

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Sanctuary Europe: Quaker work on Human Rights and Migration

Topic: North London Area Meeting Quaker Week Event – The Threat to Migrants

Time: Oct 8, 2020.  Doors open 07:00pm for a 7.30pm start.  We will finish by 8.45pm.

Andrew Lane, Director, Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) in Brussels will talk about the work of Quakers to engage European governments and institutions on questions of migration justice. 
Luke Piper, Head of Policy, the3million.org Luke is a solicitor specialised in immigration law.  They currently have a campaign for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit to be allowed documentary proof of their rights, instead of simply being provided with a number which has to be used electronically to establish what rights they may have.

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Global religious leaders urge end to “broken state of European migration”

22.9.2020 World Council of Churches: Global religious leaders urge end to “broken state of European migration”

A dozen global and regional religious organizations released an advocacy statement on the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe that defines their calling as Christians to “welcome the stranger,” and urges the creation of a world in which “we become human together.”

“Solidarity should be the guiding principle governing migration and particularly refugee reception,” the statement says. “We expect the EU to reject the discourse and politics of fear and deterrence, and to adopt a principled stance and compassionate practice based on the fundamental values on which the EU is founded.”

The organisations have issued the statement in advance of the EU Commission’s presentation of its new Migration Pact on 23 September.

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Of great concern: proposed outsourcing of asylum interviews

23.9.2020: Independent: People seeking refuge in UK face ‘serious risk’ of injustice as Home Office plans more asylum outsourcing despite warnings

Lawyers warn move to outsource asylum interviews is ‘hugely risky’ as private firms in running for new contract have been embroiled in previous scandals over handling of immigration services

People seeking refuge in the UK face a “serious risk” of injustice as the Home Office plans to outsource another element of its immigration services, lawyers warn. 

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Corporate Watch report on UK Border regime

Throughout history, human beings have migrated. To escape war, oppression and poverty, to make a better life, to follow their own dreams. But since the start of the 20th century, modern governments have found ever more vicious ways to stop people moving freely.

The UK border regime includes the razor wire fences at Calais, the limbo of the asylum system, and the open violence of raids and deportations. Alongside the Home Office, it includes the companies running databases and detention centres, the media pushing hate speech, and the politicians posturing to win votes. It keeps on escalating, through Tony Blair’s war on refugees to Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, spreading fear and division.

This book describes and analyses the UK’s system of immigration controls. It looks at how it has developed through recent history, the different actors involved, and how people resist. The aim is to help understand the border regime, and ask how we can fight it effectively.

NB: we will be glad to send copies for free to asylum seekers and other people without papers. For other people and groups fighting the border regime, we can send at cost price or whatever you can afford to donate.

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100 groups demand safe and legal routes now

[updated 3 Oct 2020 with Channel 4 news item]

17 August 2020: (including the link to a suggested letter to your MP) JCWI: 100 civil society groups, Windrush survivors and religious organisations have come together to demand safe and legal routes now, in response to the government’s dangerous rhetoric surrounding recent Channel crossings. The fact is that people seeking protection in the UK can only do so once they reach UK soil. The lack of safe and legal routes by which to reach the UK means that people are pushed into the hands of people smugglers and forced to take dangerous journeys to claim asylum here.

In its response to Channel crossings, the government has so far sought to abdicate all responsibility. We’ve been here before – if the Home Office is truly serious about learning the lessons of Windrush, they need to listen to expert advice from people who have been through the immigration system, and those who work with them. If they don’t, further tragedy at the UK’s borders seems unavoidable.

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