UK: Home Office to send asylum seekers to live in ‘squalor and inhumane conditions’
The Home Office has come under fire after confirming plans to send asylum seekers to live in “squalor and inhumane conditions” at a former military site.
The Napier Barracks site in Kent, run by private contractor Clearsprings Ready Homes, was the centre of controversy earlier this year after nearly 200 asylum seekers there – around half of its total population – tested positive for Covid-19.
Health officials and human rights campaigners have blamed the housing of asylum seekers in blocks of 28 men each for facilitating the spread of Covid-19 among vulnerable people.
The population at the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) has since declined and it was emptied over the weekend, but the Home Office has now confirmed a fresh intake of asylum seekers will be sent there, The Guardian reports.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty International UK, said: “After alarms have been raised repeatedly about health concerns at Napier Barracks – not least the possibility of coronavirus ravaging through the camp – it’s almost unbelievable that the Home Office is now seemingly intent on sending more people there.
“No-one should be forced to live in the squalor and inhumane conditions of Napier Barracks, never mind potentially vulnerable people who may already have suffered torture and trauma.
“As with the government’s recently announced immigration plan, ministers are not only getting this wrong but seem determined to do so.
“What we are seeing over and over again is ministers and Home Office officials showing a complete lack of care and concern for people caught up in an increasingly punitive immigration system.”