AVID Training
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Inadequate accommodation and lack of support leaves vulnerable people at risk.

We are heartbroken to hear that a man attempted to take his life at Napier Barracks in Folkestone yesterday. As mounting evidence reveals the wholly inadequate conditions in which asylum seekers are being ‘accommodated’, AVID is concerned that there is a risk of further tragedy if the Home Office does not act quickly to provide a safe, supported alternative.  

The Home Office is taking unimaginable risks by ‘accommodating’ people seeking asylum in cramped and stressful conditions that do not meet basic human needs, such as those in Folkestone and Penally.

This week, local health authorities near Penally barracks in Wales warned of the “high risk” of a coronavirus outbreak at the facility. While immigration lawyers have raised concerns that sleeping 15 people to a room at Napier Barracks breached the Home Office’s own guidance on social distancing.

NGOs and the Welsh government warned the Home Office weeks ago that this policy risked re-traumatising people who are likely to be fleeing torture and abuse, and who should have their basic needs met while exercising their right to claim asylum in the UK.

AVID shares these concerns, having seen the mental health impact of protracted immigration detention, where people are similarly cut off and isolated from support networks. We would urge the Home Office to urgently reconsider this improvised and ill-conceived policy to prevent further tragedy.

Holding people away from support networks, in high risk conditions, with no access to financial support, and limited access to lawyers, healthcare or mainstream services, is already causing serious harm. We have seen the impact of this in detention centres, and we believe this is being replicated in the barracks accommodation.

AVID is calling for the immediate transfer of everyone held in these military compounds to safe, supported community-based alternatives.

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