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New Campaign Action on Asylum Accommodation #closethebarracks

City of Sanctuary were co-signatories to the AVID Barracks Letter  to the Home Secretary on 8th December highlighting the risks of housing vulnerable asylum-seekers in crowded barracks where social distancing is impossible, and urging the government to implement community based alternatives, to avoid further harm.  This is the response from Immigration Minister Chris Philps (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Immigration Compliance and the Courts).
Last week, Refugee Action launched a new campaign action calling for the barracks at Penally and Folkestone to be shut down and for people seeking asylum to be more appropriately accommodated.
City of Sanctuary UK urges the network to engage with the new Email Your MP e-action calling for MPs to write to the Home Secretary to ask that barracks be shut down immediately, hotel use to be strongly restricted and the entire accommodation estate to be urgently repaired and new housing acquired.  We are tired of the regressive rhetoric about housing people seeking asylum and it is important to get as many supporters as possible to remind their MPs that we can do better than this. Please try to adapt and personalise the template email template if you can.
To promote the e-action, Refugee Action have also put together two mini-videos that juxtapose Christmas warmth with the reality of how people seeking asylum are currently being treated (“we can’t stay silent when this is where they spend the night”). You can download these videos here.
Below are some draft tweets to accompany the videos and promote the media story, and you can also retweet Refugee Action here. Please use #CloseTheBarracks in your posts.
Duncan Lewis have also reported on their ongoing work to challenge the Home Office’s use of the Penally camp ex-military barracks to house up to 236 people seeking asylum. The Claimants are seeking a quashing of the decision to house asylum seekers at the camp and a declaration that the use of the Camp for this purpose has breached the public sector equality duty, constitutes false imprisonment and a deprivation of liberty, and that the Secretary of State has failed to meet the essential living needs of those at the camp.
Meanwhile, worrying reports started to emerge that, despite clear evidence of the complete unsuitability of this kind of accommodation, the Home Office is considering using a MoD site in an unsuitable location near a village at Barton Stacey in Hampshire to house people seeking asylum. There was further coverage of this story over the weekend in The Mirror, as well as incredibly powerful testimonies from people seeking asylum who have lived in the barracks in The Metro.