You might have read the news, recently reported in the Guardian on 23 June and other platforms, that people seeking asylum with severe disabilities and health conditions have been abandoned at a site in Kent, with no adequate support or facilities.
Earlier this year, around 55 people, all with disabilities, were moved by the Home Office from the notorious(?) Manston detention camp to the site of a closed care home. No care or support was put in place. A local charity has said that the people have been “left to rot”. Many are seriously ill and confined to bed. Others are disabled, have long term illnesses or have severe injuries from combat.
This has already led to a devastating incident. According to the Guardian, an Iranian asylum seeker living in the property died after a stroke on 18th June, 2023: “With restricted mobility due to strokes, doctors had repeatedly said he needed a wheelchair but he never received one.”
A local grassroots group, RAMA (Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action), in Colchester has been raising the alarm about this emergency for some time and stepping in to provide vital support to the people stuck in the site. We contacted them to ask how we can amplify their voice and show solidarity.
In response, Maria Wilby, Operational Lead at RAMA told us:
“We have not yet started a specific crowd funder but if you were happy to share our Local Giving page we would really appreciate it. We are still paying out a lot to get items needed by the residents of the ‘hotel’ in Tendring. Hospital tables to enable them to eat properly, special cushions for wheelchairs to prevent ores, white canes, clothing and shoes. The list is never ending. We take a team of up to 12 of us each week and provide casework and advocacy with no funding at present. Any donations are always passed directly to sustain our work.”
Right to Remain also signed the Open Letter, organised by a number of local groups, urging the local councils, the Home Office and the corporate accommodation provider, Clearsprings, to get their act together and protect the dignity and decency of people at the site.
This emergency is not over, like many other emergencies we have been experiencing of late. People should be in communities, not in camps, not in detention centres, not in reception centres. This should not be taking place in our name. Either all of us have human rights, or none of us do.
More information about RAMA (Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action) www.rama.org.uk
Human Rights Watch blog
The Guardian article
Labour Hub article
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