By Isabel Ringrose
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Refugees endure year of hell under Tory rule

This article is over 1 years, 2 months old
The government has ramped up attacks on refugees and forced thousands into more misery and squalor
Issue 2835

Suella Braverman has ramped up the attacks on refugees (pics: UK Home Office)

As far as the Tories are ­concerned, there’s no room for refugees seeking safety in Britain. Home secretary Suella Braverman met in December with interior ministers from France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands marking “renewed efforts to step up cooperation” on Channel crossings. 

Britain has already agreed to work with Frontex—The European Union’s murderous border force.Braverman said the aim is “to tackle illegal migration and crack down on the people smugglers before these issues reach our borders”. In other words, make refugees someone else’s problem or hope they disappear.

She added the aim is “to ensure the evil criminals who profit in human misery are targeted and brought swiftly to justice”. But the evil criminals profiting from misery are in Britain—and they run the asylum system.

Once refugees arrive, the ­government abandons them.  They have no access to ­healthcare, their medication is taken on arrival, and they have any idea how long they’ll be in limbo.

The Refugee Council branded the cases it deals with, including children having teeth pulled out due to untreated infections and bone infections from gunshot wounds, as “appalling”.  It warned that “prolonged, agonising stays in hotel accommodation is increasingly damaging to people’s health”.

Some 37,000 refugees are trapped in hotels, with 10,276 adults and children waiting more than three years for a decision. Private contractors often do not inform local authorities of those being moved into their area. 

Legally they should have access to the NHS—but language barriers, lack of information and a less than £10 a week allowance make this impossible.  One nurse, who works across six hotels in London that house between 150 and 350 people each, said, “Every single person is depressed or has anxiety or is suffering from PTSD. 

“You are so stuck. You can’t say ‘this is going to get better’ because you have no idea.”

Yet one Home Office ­spokesperson said, “We provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with secure, free, fully furnished accommodation, three meals a day and a weekly allowance.”

The Tories think refugees should be grateful for the squalor they’re forced to endure. Meanwhile the family of the refugee who died of suspected diphtheria after being held at the Manston processing centre have described treatment there as “negligent”.

Hussein Haseeb, 31, was taken to hospital on arrival in Britain on 12 November. He was then taken to Manston, then back to hospital, where he died. His cousin, Abdullah Hussein Ahmed, said, “The people with Hussein in the centre told us it was negligent, to the max.” 

His body still hasn’t been released. The Tories can’t be allowed to get away with their inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable.

Fighting for Anti-Racist Workplaces: a Trade Union Conference. Sat 4 Feb 2023. Organised by Stand Up to Racism and the TUC. For details and to book go here 

Anti-racism day marches in London, Glasgow and internationally on 18 March 2023

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