Dave Smith
Weekly Roundup of Refugee News 10.2.21

Weekly News Review (w.b. 8.2.21)

Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK) 

LBC: Covid-19 'isn't interested in your immigration status', Health Minister tells LBC

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, the minister was asked whether there will be an amnesty for illegal immigrants in order for them to receive their Covid-19 vaccination. He replied,“first of all no one will get their vaccination out of turn… those people will be entitled to the vaccine at the right time."


Guardian: Another asylum seeker relocated from Napier barracks after court order

An asylum seeker and victim of torture held in a controversial army barracks has been urgently rehoused following a high court ruling, lawyers have said. A high court judge ordered the relocation of the man from Napier barracks near Folkestone, Kent, into hotel accommodation.



Kent Live: Kent photographer arrested after covering Napier Barracks protest  has charges dropped

A Kent photographer who was arrested after he covered a protest at Napier Barracks has been told by police that the case has been dropped.



Independent: Asylum seekers say they are risking their lives to leave UK after being held at ‘inhumane’ military barracks

Asylum seekers say they are risking their lives to leave the UK months after arriving due to the “inhumane” conditions they have been subjected to in former military barracks. 

People who crossed the Channel on small boats last year to seek sanctuary in Britain have told The Independent they are now attempting to return to mainland Europe by boarding lorries in Dover, saying they feel they have been treated like they are not human beings in the UK.



Independent: Scores of refugee children illegally detained after crossing Channel

Scores of child refugees were illegally detained in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats last summer, figures reveal. Data revealed that 80 unaccompanied minors – one in five who completed the dangerous journey from northern France – were locked for more than 24 hours in a processing centre between April and September 2020.



BBC: Channel migrants: Pilot of 'overcrowded' boat jailed

An Iranian man who steered a group of migrants across the English Channel in a "dangerously overcrowded" small boat has been jailed for two years. Sadrallah Bahador, 35, was picked up by a Border Force vessel from a rigid-hulled inflatable boat in July.


Comment: The only report of this trial came from the BBC: details of the actual channel crossing are sketchy. If the crossing followed the pattern of most migrant crossings, the pilot was not a trafficker but  one of the asylum seekers. By volunteering to steer the boat he unwittingly became the target of new, draconian Home Office policy, which has now made it an offence to pilot such vessels. This is a new slant on the ‘hostile environment’ being championed by the Home Secretary.


Independent: Thousands of potential trafficking victims detained in immigration removal centres, figures show

Thousands of potential trafficking victims have been detained in immigration removal centres in less than two years, new figures show. Ministers have been accused of failing to protect survivors of modern slavery after new data revealed more than 2,000 people recognised by the government as having indicators of trafficking were placed in detention during a 21-month period.



Liverpool Echo: Asylum seekers who 'escaped horrors' given 'unidentifiable mush' in Merseyside hotel

Asylum seekers placed in a Merseyside hotel are being given “unidentifiable mush” and “sandwiches with no use-by-date”, according to local volunteers.



BBC: LGBT asylum seekers: Call for dedicated housing in Wales

A Moroccan man seeking asylum in the UK over alleged mistreatment due to his sexuality has said he faced homophobic abuse while housed in Wales. Abderrahim El Habachi, 28, said he felt "unsafe" living alongside some men from North Africa and the Middle East after he arrived in Cardiff in 2017.



Independent: UK towns with more immigrants do much better economically, study finds

British towns with the most immigrants and highest levels of diversity tend to do far better economically than areas with little, a study has found. An analysis of local authorities in England and Wales shared with The Independent shows a strong link "between rising prosperity and rising diversity" – with diverse areas doing better "almost regardless of which metric you use".


Relevant news (international)

BBC: Viewpoint: From Ethiopia's Tigray region to Yemen, the dilemma of declaring a famine

Every day, more and more reports of starvation trickle out of the Tigray region of Ethiopia that has been hit by conflict. On Wednesday, Mark Lowcock, chief of humanitarian affairs at the United Nations, warned of a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in which aid still wasn't reaching many affected people.



Good news!

Coventry Telegraph: Coventry refugee who fled war now working on NHS coronavirus frontline

A refugee who fled war and unrest to come to Coventry is now volunteering on the NHS coronavirus frontline. Iraqi national Aya Jabbar arrived in Coventry in June 2019 through the Home Office’s Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme.