13:52, February 03 69 0 theguardian.com

2021-02-03 13:52:04
Asylum seekers deserve our compassion

If you or your family had to uproot yourselves to flee war, persecution and torture, and you managed to make it to a safe country, only to be put in a former army barracks or rundown hotel room with little access to support beyond the bare minimum of provisions, how would you feel (‘We felt like we were animals’: asylum seekers describe life in UK barracks, 2 February)? Distressed? Terrified? Anxious? Traumatised? Probably all of those things.

That’s the reality for thousands of people in the UK. They are forced to live in limbo due to delays in their asylum claims, while living in accommodation where they struggle to access basics such as clothing, healthcare and education. Our government presents people seeking asylum as a threat, rather than humans with great potential to offer our communities. We must do better. Global Britain should be a beacon of compassion and humanity. There are Conservative MPs who believe this (Former immigration minister criticises use of barracks to house asylum seekers, 2 Feb). The prime minister should speak out and move quickly to house people seeking asylum in decent living conditions.

Enver Solomon

Chief executive, Refugee Council