Image: Hannah McKay, Reuters
Following the shocking treatment of people seeking asylum at the Manston processing centre, a group of organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum is calling on the government to set up an independent inquiry into the issue.
Our letter calling for the inquiry is below. If other organisations would like to sign up please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UK has always sought to provide sanctuary for those who have fled unimaginable horrors in their home countries. It is one of the values which defines our country.
But our reputation has been tarnished by the appalling way in which men, women and children seeking asylum have been treated at the Manston reception centre and the subsequent reports of infectious diseases not being contained.
It seems clear that there have been serious failings which have put the health and well-being of many people – from those seeking asylum to Home Office staff and others – at risk.
The Home Secretary should now initiate an independent inquiry into what happened at Manston and the wider handling of the issue. Like the independent Windrush review it must focus on identifying the key lessons for the Home Office going forward.
The delivery of a compassionate and orderly asylum system is a core responsibility of government. Where it has failed to do so, it must take corrective measures and learn lessons to ensure it does things differently in the future.
Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council
Kirsty McNeil, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns, Save the Children
Laura Kyrke-Smith, Executive Director, International Rescue Committee UK
Dr Shabna Begum, Head of Research, Runnymede Trust
Josie Naughton, CEO and Co-Founder of Choose Love
Catherine Gladwell, Chief Executive, Refugee Education UK
Almir Koldzic, director of Counterpoints Arts
Sally Daghlian OBE, CEO, Praxis
Jo Cobley, CEO, Young Roots
Elli Free, Room to Heal
Charlotte Zosseder, Director, Samphire Project
Joanne MacInnes, Director, West London Welcome.
Christopher Desira, Director, Seraphus
Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family and Founder and Chairperson, Manchester Migrant Solidarity
William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast
Rossana Leal, Founder and CEO, The Refugee Buddy Project
Richard Williams, Chair, Sanctuary on Sea, Brighton & Hove City of Sanctuary
Sonja Miley, Co-Executive Director, Waging Peace
Eleanor Brown, Managing Director, CARAS
Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK
Daisy Jacobs, Director of Routes
Steve Newman, Chair, FODI, (Friends Of the Drop In for asylum seekers and refugees, Sunderland)
Anna Jones, Co-Founder & CEO RefuAid
Mark Goldring, Director, Asylum Welcome
Nick Harborne, CEO, Refugee Support Group Berkshire
Anna Pincus, director Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group.
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
Toni Soni, Centre Director, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre.
Kayte Cable and Vicki Felgate, Co-Founders Big Leaf Foundation.
Susannah Baker, The Pickwell Foundation, Director for refugees and asylum
James Wilson, Deputy Director of Detention Action
Sabir Zazai, CEO Scottish Refugee Council
Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees
Tim Naor Hilton, CEO, Refugee Action
Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO, Safe Passage International
Lauren Scott, Executive Director, Refugees at Home
Simon Tyler, Executive Director, Doctors of the World UK
Liz Fekete, Director, Institute of Race Relations
Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
Kerry Smith, CEO, Helen Bamber Foundation
Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project
Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX
Deborah Wintle Escott, One September Ltd
Loraine Masiya Mponela, Author