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Mounting concerns over quality of asylum seekers' accommodation after more than 50 deaths

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Many asylum seekers are housed in disused army barracks

There is growing concern about the escalating mortality rate at asylum seeker accommodation managed by the Home Office.

According to The Guardian (July 25), more than 50 asylum seekers have died in sub-standard accommodation in the last five years, with the mortality rate sharply increasing in the past 18 months.

Most disturbing of all, three babies are among the dead. In addition, three adult asylum seekers have died of Covid-19 and four by suicide.

The Guardian, which obtained the information through a freedom of information request, reports the deaths date back to April 2016, with the most recent fatality recorded in June 2021.

The Guardian investigation reveals there were 15 recorded deaths between 2016 and 2019, 29 deaths in 2020 and at least seven deaths between February and June 2021.

The deaths have occurred in multiple locations and settings, all of which are under the ultimate control of the Home Office.

The Guardian investigation has elicited a strong reaction from human rights campaigners.

Sonya Sceats, chief executive of Freedom from Torture, has called for an “open” and “thorough” investigation into the ongoing scandal.

Sceats said: “Our message to [Home Secretary] Priti Patel and this government is clear: Stop playing politics with lives and deliver the compassionate asylum and immigration system you promised after the Windrush scandal. Those who have died, and their loved ones, are owed that at the very least”.

 


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