Protests and vigils held
Campaigners have been taking action against housing company Mears in protests against the treatment of asylum seekers.
Glasgow No Evictions Network took part in a nationwide week of action (1st-5th April) protesting against the use of institutional accommodation and the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.
The network, which supports people in asylum accommodation in Glasgow against evictions, planted a commemorative tree and held a vigil for Adnan Walid Elbi, Badreddin Abedlla Adam and Mercy Baguma, who all died in 2020 while in Mears accommodation in Glasgow.
Among the group’s demands are calls for the Home Office to allow people in the asylum system to live in safe, own-door accommodation, in the community; and the end of so-called ‘institutional’ accommodation such as hotels and barracks.
This April marks one year since the Home Office instructed its housing subcontractors, including Mears, to use hotels to accommodate people seeking asylum in the UK.
Savan Qadir, spokesperson for Glasgow No Evictions Network, said: “Though intended to be enforced as a temporary measure, there are still many asylum seekers confined to these hotels. The Home Office is now also holding asylum seekers in ‘prison-like conditions’ in disused army barracks. The use of these unsanitary and trauma-inducing spaces is breaching human rights on a daily basis.
“The violence of the hostile environment is by no means limited to institutional accommodation. We will be commemorating Mercy Baguma and the lives of asylum seekers across the UK who died at the hands of Home Office-endorsed poverty and neglect.”
“For months I have been given no specialist food for my coeliac disease. I feel like I can’t stay here any more, I’ve been ill and hungry for months, which has left me feeling suicidal. I’ve now been moved to a filthy house, but have been told I have no choice- I have to stay here. I do not feel comfortable cooking or sleeping here.”