Right now, there’s hundreds of people in the UK who, while waiting for their asylum claim to be processed, are being housed in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation.
People have survived unimaginable situations including war, torture and modern slavery to find safety in the UK yet are being housed in extremely triggering environments, without appropriate support. There are currently 22 people on suicide watch in Napier Barracks alone.
The barracks are in isolated locations and, fuelled by continuous dangerous and misleading language from our Home Secretary, have both been targets for far-right protests, harassment and attacks.
Conditions have been described as prison like by those inside, yet unlike in prison people have done nothing illegal and have no idea when they may be able to leave.
COVID-19 is fuelling the fire
The barracks are not acceptable accommodation for people seeking asylum at any time, but COVID-19 is adding to the risk.
In Napier barracks, people are sleeping up to 28 to a room. It’s impossible to social distance. There’s 34 people sharing 1 shower and 1 toilet. It’s no surprise there’s been an outbreak of COVID-19 and over a quarter of people have tested positive for the virus.
Take Action Now
There have been hunger strikes and protests within the barracks to draw attention to the dangerous conditions. Community organisations have been calling for months to close the barracks and provide alternative and safe housing. But our Government are not yet listening.
It is possible to house people within the community in safe accommodation. Institutionalised and unsafe accommodation is not the answer. We must keep fighting to close the barracks.