Asylum seekers win the challenge to the main office over the “Squalid” Napier Barracks

The six asylum seekers previously held in the Napier Barracks won a legal objection to the government after a High Court judge ruled that their accommodation was inadequate.

Kent’s former Army barracks have been used to accommodate hundreds of asylum seekers since September last year, despite being warned by the British Public Health Services (PHE) to be inappropriate. It was.

Men, all said to be survivors of torture and trafficking, have been illegally housed by the Interior Ministry in “illegal” barracks, and the conditions there are “realistic and imminent risks of life and ill-treatment.” Insisted that it would bring.

On Thursday, Judge Linden discovered that the Home Office had acted illegally when he determined that a former military camp was sufficient to accommodate men.

He said: A standard of living sufficient for the health of the claimant “

The Epoch Times
Dateless photo showing some of the accommodation in Kent’s Napier Barracks (ICIBI / HMIP / PA)

The Ministry of Interior states that “significant improvement work” has been carried out in Napier since the six men were detained in Napier from September 2020 to February 2021.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior said, “I’m sorry that this decision was made on the ground prior to the significant improvement work done in difficult situations. Napier will continue to operate, safe and secure accommodation. We provide facilities.

“We will carefully consider the decision and future actions,” he said.

Judge Linden’s ruling does not force the barracks to be closed, but activists have repeatedly called for the site to be closed.

In the ruling, the judge said that overcrowding and the risk of COVID-19 infection meant that “a large number of residents were virtually inevitable to be infected with COVID-19.”

A high-ranking interior ministry official told parliamentarians in February that a pandemic in the barracks earlier this year caused about 200 people to test positive for the coronavirus.

Judge Linden was unable to apply the “basic aspects” of PHE’s advice, such as the Interior Ministry not using dormitory-style accommodation and limiting the number of people per dormitory to six, so the government lived well. We have certified that we could not secure the standard.

He also said, “When the defendant himself took action, deviating from the advice of the government agency responsible for providing advice to the public on the safety of COVID in such a fundamental way for no good reason. It is illegal to send plaintiffs to the barracks. “It was not appropriate to transfer asylum seekers who were deemed appropriate, for example, from an isolated location and trapped in a bubble. “

The judge also said that the Home Office did not establish a similar approach, but did so for Defense Ministry officials, which was also unacceptable.

Judge Linden added that the barracks are a “detention-like” environment for men intended to live voluntarily in camps, a condition that is likely to affect the mental health of the people who live there. T.

Shadow Interior Minister Nick Thomas Simons called the decision a “shameful decision” for the government and Interior Minister Priti Patel.

He went on to say: “Ministers have been repeatedly warned of the dangerous and unacceptable situation in Napier.

“Accommodating people in accommodations that created the ideal conditions for the occurrence of COVID was reckless and insensitive. This lack of compassion and ability puts people, staff, and communities on the site at risk. Exposing.

“The Minister needs to make an urgent statement to explain how this fraud occurred, who will be held liable, and how to prevent it from happening again.”

Judge Linden rejected the ruling that the barracks would never be used to contain asylum seekers, saying his findings were based on the conditions faced by the six men.

In addition, “I would not accept if it was appropriate to adopt a broader approach, but as I pointed out, the situation of a particular asylum-seeker is relevant and the situation at that time. They depend heavily on whether they were there, were there, and how long they were there. “

The judge later stated: “If the barracks continue to be used, they wish to stay in exile for a very short period of time, taking steps to significantly improve the conditions there and reduce the risk of COVID infection. It is clear that we need to reduce the number of people, which is in line with PHE’s advice.

“But we also need a better system to identify people who are not suitable for such accommodation and to detect cases where such accommodation was appropriate at the time of the first relocation but became unavailable during their stay. is.”

The Home Office and the six men must agree on damages and the necessary declarations.

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