PRESS RELEASE / PUBLIC STATEMENT for immediate release
- Suspend all detention and deportation processes
- Invite all undocumented or displaced or destitute people to come forward, without fear
- Identify empty buildings with capacity for creating self-contained units where homeless people can live, with local community support, now
Following the publication of our first response, which specifies how we are beginning to offer support, RAPAR is now calling upon the State to suspend all detention and deportation activities, including legal processes. We also call upon the State to extend an invitation to all undocumented, displaced and destitute people, i.e. those most acutely vulnerable to COVID-19, to come forward for safe housing , without fear of being snatched or locked up, and so that they may contribute, openly, to making the population as safe as possible.
Obviously, no one will be able to act in their own – and everyone else’s – best interests if their basic needs are unmet. RAPAR Chair of Trustees, Dr Rhetta Moran says:
“We are acutely aware of the risk COVID-19 poses both to our Members and to the wider population. This is why we are reaching out in this way, right now. Our 2010 position that questioned that Government’s ‘Big Society’ a decade ago is being borne out. There is, hopefully, still time to act with compassion and wisdom.
At last night’s televised press conference, the Government insisted that social contact be minimised immediately and, at the same time, insisted that our schools remain open. This is not rational. It is physical contact that needs to be minimised, not social, educational, legal or political communication. It is within our capacities to offer these resources to one another while minimising physical contact – let’s do the possible.”
19 March 2020: CALLOUS CHAOS FROM THE HOME OFFICE
In the last 48 hours RAPAR members who are destitute – no secure shelter, no money and no right to legal work – have been:
- Left, via a no recourse to public funds unit, with a severe and enduring chronic illness in a single room, with no access to any safe cooking space (they are cooking using their kettle) no cleaning products, no care support and no way of going outside because they are so infirm they cannot negotiate stairs
- Texted by the Home Office and told not to report to usual reporting centres
- Emailed from its ‘Asylum Operations’ via at least one Local Authority ‘Homelessness Directorate’ to say:
… “Send applications via post or email”
… “We have decided to pause face to face substantive interviews”
without any guidance on how they are supposed to access computers to email or printers to print paperwork, or to pay for any of the above, or postage. It’s no surprise then that, just now, led by the Runnymede Trust, race equality and migrant rights organisations have begun to call for independent review into institutional racism in the Home Office. [Read more on the blog page]