Recent media reports reveal that people seeking asylum at Napier Barracks, a disused army barracks in Kent converted into asylum accommodation, have been told their asylum claims could be jeopardised if they speak out about conditions at the barracks.

Refugee Council has written to the Home Office calling for an urgent investigation and immediate action to ensure that the right to a fair asylum hearing is protected for residents at Napier Barracks, and that residents are allowed to raise concerns about their living conditions.

Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said:

“We are gravely concerned by reports that people seeking asylum could be being bullied into silence about conditions and health and safety risks at the barracks. All residents have a right to a fair asylum hearing and safe, reasonable and Covid-compliant living conditions while they await the outcome of their claim.

Even the merest hint that speaking out about conditions can affect a person’s asylum claim is completely unacceptable, and the Home Office needs to investigate this as a matter of urgency.

The use of army barracks is wholly inappropriate and the government needs to commit to moving all asylum seekers to appropriate accommodation sooner rather than later.”

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