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Refugees at Napier Barracks threatened with blacklisting if they speak to media

REFUGEES at Napier Barracks in Folkestone are being threatened with blacklisting if they speak out about their conditions, residents have warned, following a ruling that the use of the former army base was unlawful.

In a case brought by six refugees who had been held at the military barracks, a High Court judge ruled that their confinement, the process by which they were selected for Napier and the inadequate conditions there were unlawful.

Thursday’s ruling prompted calls for Home Secretary Priti Patel to resign and the barracks to be closed immediately.

According to asylum-seekers, staff employed by private contractors for the Home Office at the site have told them that their applications for residency will be impaired if they talk to the media about conditions at the camp.

Human Rights Network’s Maddie Harris said that after the court case, residents were told by staff that there is a full list of people in the camp and that the names of those who are known to have spoken to journalists have been circled.

“They were told it’s going to be a problem for their asylum claim,” she said.

On Friday, Movement for Justice welcomed the High Court’s decision as a victory for all the Napier refugees and for all those who have crossed or are still crossing the Channel in small boats.

The group said: “Their bold action is a clear demonstration that they are refugees who need safety, protection and freedom. That is a political challenge to the government’s increasing reliance on racism and xenophobia.

“We say that Napier Barracks must now be shut down and stay shut down. Nothing can make this latest extension of the racist policy of hostile environment for immigrants and refugees ‘humane.’

“Inhumanity is the whole purpose of Napier, the entire anti-immigrant system and Priti Patel’s ‘new plan for immigration’.”

The Home Office was approached for comment.

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