Socialist Worker

Cardiff housing firm climbdown after uproar at red wristbands for refugees

Housing firm forced to back down—but asylum seekers tell Socialist Worker they suffer terrible conditions

Issue No. 2488

Refugees have to overcome barbed wire, fences, walls and racist laws to find safety. But the battles don’t stop once they’re in Britain.

The asylum system constantly tells them that they’re not welcome—and they’re not “one of us”.

A campaign this week forced Clearsprings Ready Homes, the private firm that houses asylum seekers in Cardiff, to stop making them wear coloured wristbands.

A resident of the Lynx House facility that imposed the wristbands policy told Socialist Worker, “The situation is very bad. I hated the wristbands and I’m glad they have gone, but there are many other ways we are made to feel small and not welcome.

“I have two children, but there are no proper facilities for them. The place is very overcrowded.

“I fled for my life from Iraq. I am glad I am not in danger. But here I am not allowed to work and I am given no money. It is not a real life.”

Eric Ngalle spent a month in Lynx House before he was granted refugee status.

He said, “It was one of the most horrible experiences in my life. If we refused to wear the wristbands we were told we would be reported to the Home Office.

“We had to walk from accommodation about ten minutes away to Lynx House to get food.

Terrible

“Sometimes drivers would see our wristbands, and shout out of the window, ‘Go back to your country.’ Some people made terrible remarks to us.”

A few days before it was revealed that thousands of refugees in Middlesbrough are identified by their front doors being painted red. This has led to some being targeted by racists.

Haile Ghebre, an asylum seeker there, said the doors sent the message that “we’re not meant to be in this country”.

He told Socialist Worker, “I’ve not committed a crime, but I’m treated like I have. I’m tagged and not allowed to leave my own room between 8pm and 7am.

“I’m only in Britain because I want to be with my three children who live here.

“But I’m seven hours away from my oldest son. We’re going through hell.”

Elsewhere in Europe German authorities have started confiscating valuables and cash from refugees entering the country to make them fund their stay.

In the state of Baden-Württemberg possessions totalling more than £265 will be seized by the state.

That includes family jewellery.

The German states are following the same brutal policy already used in Denmark and Switzerland.

We say open the orders to all the refugees—and treat them like equal human beings when they’re here.


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