I’ve been asked by the members of Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees to write to you to express our concerns about the Home Office decision to use a dilapidated ex army barracks in Penally to house people seeking asylum.
We feel that Penally Barracks is not an appropriate place for anyone to be asked to live, even for a short time, let alone traumatised young men with no family support, no occupation to distract them and complete uncertainty about their future.
Here are some of our reasons:
* accommodation in Penally is in dormitories where Covid infection will be even more easily spread than we have seen in recent days in student residences in Glasgow, Newcastle and other parts of the UK
* self-isolation will be impossible
* access to sinks for hand-washing is inadequate
* there seems to be no limit to the time the asylum seekers may have to stay in Penally
* many of those transferred had been in initial accommodation in Cardiff for some months and for them the move represents a move to worse conditions with no time limit and no expectation that their cases will be resolved
* there is no local access to the Asylum rights programme or Welsh Refugee Council
* lacking WiFi and mobile phone top-ups, the asylum seekers will be cut off from contact with their families back home and from support and advice here in Wales
I hope that you can pass on our concerns to the Home Secretary and let her know that many of your constituents think that this is not the way to treat either the people seeking asylum or the people of Wales. Do you agree with us that this is totally unsuitable accommodation and will you work to ensure the men are moved as quickly as possible to more suitable accommodation?
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 at 09:18
Subject: Re: Penally barracks. (Case Ref: FJ1113)
To: <[email protected]>
I appreciate you expressing your concern regarding the housing of asylum seekers at Penally Barracks. It is important that whilst we deal with the continuing Coronavirus Pandemic, measures are taken to house those seeking asylum who would otherwise have limited options.
I am aware that an occupant of the Barracks told the BBC that being able to come to the UK had saved his life. I am proud that even during these unprecedented times, we are able to assist those seeking asylum.
Reports that conditions at the Barracks are unsuitable is concerning, however, I would note that this facility has been used to train and house our armed forces for many years. Nevertheless, I will raise this with the Home Office team at the next available opportunity.
With best wishes