The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said that the UK’s anti-immigration rhetoric
is extremely dangerous and may ignite violence against asylum seekers.
The Geneva-based organization urged the government to immediately change its policies
that threaten the safety of the immigrants and put more effort to end the racist attacks
against refugees and asylum seekers.
In a statement Euro-Med Monitor issued today, the rights group highlighted that since
2020, the UK recorded more than 70 cases of racist attacks against asylum seekers who
are ghettoed in barracks and other state-provided accommodations in the UK.
Attacks as such rape threats, verbal and physical abuse, egging, stoning, and others took
place in hotels, barracks and other state-funded accommodations hosting asylum seekers.
Euro-Med said that “The safety of asylum seekers in the UK seems to have worsened this
year, as the number of racist incidents recorded in state-provided accommodations has
tripled, rising from 13 across all of 2020 to 40 so far in 2021. Meanwhile, the use of hotels
and military barracks as institutional accommodation increased sharply since March 2020,
after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Four cases of abuse were reported in Napier barracks between September and December of
the year 2020. However, supporters of asylum seekers said to Euro-Med Monitor that the
number of abuse cases is much higher.
One man from Yemen reported two incidents involving far-right protesters at his Home
Office-provided hotel residence near London. “They were driving around the hotel recording
us on video”, he said. “They were insulting us, swearing at us and screaming things like ‘go
out from our country, why are you eating our food, go away from us, you are strangers here.
We were too scared to go outside the hotel and felt like it was a prison we had to stay
inside.” He added: “We fled countries where there is a lot of torture and persecution and
felt safe when we arrived here. But when we saw this kind of racist attack, we felt we were
“When people fleeing atrocities and seeking protection do not feel safe in the host country,
the government certainly bears most of the blame. Disregarding these episodes or treating
them as 70 individualized incidents rather than a disturbing systematic racist pattern
ignores the pervasive role of the government’s anti-immigrant propaganda, fuels further
discrimination against asylum seekers and normalizes violence against migrants” said
Michela Pugliese, Migration Researcher at the Euro-Med Monitor, “When you speak of
migrants as troublesome invaders when you call them “illegal” when you lock
them in barracks behind barbed wire and high fences as prisoners, it is likely that
many people do not empathize with them, that some dehumanize them and that
certainly some may even feel legitimated to hurt them”.
integration, guarantee their physical and psychological wellbeing and prevent such racist abuses from occurring.”