Dave Smith
Weekly Roundup of Refugee News 16.2.21

Weekly News Review (w/b 15.2.21)

Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK)

BBC: Asylum seekers: Napier Barracks and Penally camp inspected over conditions

Two ex-military sites housing asylum seekers are to be visited by immigration and prison inspectors. Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, witnessed protests over living conditions in January.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) will also carry out an inspection at Penally camp in Pembrokeshire, where a protest took place in October



Guardian: Napier barracks not suitable for accommodation, experts found

A former army barracks used to house asylum seekers did not “meet acceptable standards of accommodation” when it was surveyed by planning and environmental experts seven years ago, it has emerged. 

A report on Napier barracks, near Folkestone, Kent, filed by CgMs Consulting, now part of the RPS Group, concluded that “the buildings were never intended for long-term use” and converting the housing blocks on the site was an “unsuitable approach”.



Sky News: Asylum seekers go on hunger strike over poor food that caused some 'to end up in hospital'

A group of asylum seekers staying in a hotel in Reading have gone on hunger strike in protest at poor food and lengthy asylum claims. Some of the men and women say they have been in their rooms for over eight months.

They claim the food provided is unhealthy, and is given to them in too small quantities.



Guardian: Home Office drops plan to house asylum seekers in 'prison-style' camp

The Home Office has abandoned controversial plans to house nearly 200 asylum seekers in what campaigners have described as a “prison-style” camp on the site of an immigration removal centre at Yarl’s Wood near Bedford.



Independent: Plan to use force in fingerprinting Channel asylum seekers will spark violence and self-harm, Priti Patel warned

A controversial plan to use force to take fingerprints from asylum seekers at French ports will lead to violence and self-harm, Priti Patel has been warned. Charities and Border Force staff have criticised the home secretary over the move, which would allow the use of “reasonable force” in obtaining prints in Calais and Dunkirk as part of efforts to make it easier to remove people who then cross the Channel.


Metro: After nine years of living undocumented in the UK, I finally have a visa

On the day I found out I was granted a visa to stay in the UK, I immediately called my partner to tell her and then heard her scream for joy alongside our seven-year-old son. After 11 years of living in the UK – nine of those undocumented – I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I can rest comfortably knowing that the future of my family is safe.  Though the road to get there was tough.



Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)


Guardian: 'I won't go back': why Libyans are joining the boats leaving their shores

After witnessing abuse and discrimination, Sherif Targi*, 21, decided to leave Libya for Europe.“I saw killing and massacres because of the conflicts between Tuaregs and the Tebu [ethnic minorities],” he says.



BBC: US to allow in thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Mexico

The Biden administration says it will start gradually allowing into the US tens of thousands of asylum seekers currently forced to wait in Mexico. It says it will begin next week processing about 25,000 people with active cases. The move reverses the much-criticised policies of ex-President Donald Trump.



Good news!

Euro News: Meet the Congolese ex-asylum seeker elected to lead a Scottish university

With a history stretching back more than four centuries, the University of Edinburgh is already one of the oldest in Scotland and the English-speaking world. Next month, it will make history yet again — by appointing a former refugee as its rector.



Independent: Syrian refugee who fled to Germany five years ago in rubber dinghy runs for parliament

Five years ago, Tareq Alaows crossed the Mediterranean in a flimsy rubber dinghy and trekked north through the Balkans toward Germany fleeing the civil war in his homeland of Syria to seek a safe haven.

Since then, the 31-year-old has learned fluent German, found a steady job — and has just launched a campaign to run for a seat in Parliament in September.