Dave Smith
Weekly Roundup of Refugee News wb 15.3.21

Guardian: Inspectors condemn Covid safety of barracks used to house asylum seekers

Inspectors have delivered a damning verdict on Covid protection, fire safety and living conditions at Home Office accommodation for asylum seekers, finding “fundamental failures of leadership and planning”. 

The initial findings were published on Monday. Evidence is still being gathered and the full findings will be published at a later date.


BBC: Covid-19: All homeless can be housed in pandemic, court rules

The High Court has ruled councils can provide emergency housing during the pandemic to homeless people who would not normally be eligible for support.


Independent: Asylum seekers threatened with homelessness for not complying with ‘unlawful’ 23-hour curfew, court hears

Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard. Lawyers representing four vulnerable people said a “climate of fear” had developed among those living in hotels being used as asylum accommodation due to “threats” made by Home Office contractors imposing limits as to how long they can spend outside the facility.


BBC: Bristol Uni sanctuary students 'see future' after bursaries

Students seeking sanctuary in the UK have said being offered university scholarships made them "feel like members of society again". The University of Bristol's sanctuary bursary was set up to offer the chance of higher education to people fleeing conflict and persecution.


Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)

Vice: How Private Security Firms Profit from the Refugee Crisis

Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.

The entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.


AlJazeera: Midnight Traveler: An Afghan family film their own asylum journey

Afghan director Hassan Fazili is forced to flee the country with his family when the Taliban puts a bounty on his head.


Relevant UK and world news

Guardian: China breaching every act in genocide convention, says legal report on Uighurs

The Chinese government has breached every single article of the UN genocide convention in its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, and bears responsibility for committing genocide, according to a landmark legal report. The 25,000-page report, published by a non-partisan US-based thinktank, is the first independent, non-government legal examination of China’s treatment of Uighurs under the 1948 genocide convention.


Guardian: 'We won't give up’: new generation of activists keep Syria's revolution alive

Kasem’s teenage years were spent living under siege in the city of Homs, where friends and relatives disappeared in regime prisons and her family lived much of the time without electricity, struggling to secure food and medicine.mWhen the city fell, the Kasems were faced with a choice millions more would make during the course of the war: stay and face Assad’s troops, who would treat them like terrorists, or flee to Idlib province – also unstable, but at least outside regime control.


ITV: How Syria's children have been hit by a decade long blood-soaked war

When Syria's blood-soaked civil war began, few could have imagined that ten years on, President Bashar al-Assad would still be waging war on his own people. Many children in the Middle Eastern country have known nothing else.

With the anniversary days away, more than six million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.


Guardian: Fleeing Syrians lament the loss of their final refuge in Sudan

When Syrian government troops seized Mahmoud al-Ahmad’s home town, he spent his savings and risked his life getting smuggled over the Syrian border into Turkey. His planned destination was Khartoum, where a former boss had opened a carpet factory and offered him work.

The only part of the journey he hadn’t worried about was the flight from Turkey to Sudan. Until the end of last year it was the only country in the world that Syrians could travel to without a visa, a unique haven for those seeking a new life away from their country and its brutal civil war.


Guardian: My Brother’s Keeper

A former Guantánamo detainee, his guard and their unlikely friendship