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THE Home Office was slammed today after reports that it will defy court rulings and continue to house asylum-seekers in Napier Barracks for years to come.
Politicians and campaigners called for the immediate closure of the former army base, which was branded “squalid” and “unsafe” by judges earlier this year, after claims that a new deal is set to keep it open until 2025.
A record 828 people attempted the dangerous crossing across the English Channel last weekend.
SNP MP Stuart McDonald, the party’s shadow home affairs spokesman, called for safe routes to be opened and said that the conditions currently facing asylum-seekers and refugees should bring shame on the Home Office.
“Many of the individuals seeking asylum here in the UK have fled slavery, torture and trafficking and are looking for support in the hope that they can restart their lives here,” he said.
“However, on arrival they are faced with interrogation, cruelty and are then placed in accommodation which is unsafe and inhumane.
“At a time when tens of thousands of Afghan citizens are fleeing the Taliban, many of whom will see the UK as a final destination, we must find better, safer accommodation so that these individuals can restart their lives properly.
“I am urging the UK government to close Napier Barracks once and for all, and secure appropriate accommodation and routes for asylum-seekers looking to create a better life for themselves here.”
The calls were backed by refugee support campaigners, who described the reported plans to continue housing people at Napier Barracks as abominable.
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants chief executive Satbir Singh said: “This decision flies in the face of reason and this year’s High Court judgment which deemed the barracks overcrowded, unsafe and ‘unfit for human habitation.’
“These refugees and others who’ve fled danger deserve safety and support, not locking up in a prison-like military camp.
“It’s time the government made our asylum system fairer and more compassionate, instead of building in more cruelty. People seeking asylum in the UK must be allowed to reunite with families, settle into our communities and rebuild their lives here.”
The Home Office was approached for comment.
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