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Asylum seekers gagged from talking about conditions

This news post is over 1 year old

They say they've been threatened by Home Office contractor

A charity has said asylum seekers in Glasgow have been threatened wih deportation if they complain about their living conditions.

Mears, the company charged with providing accommodation for them, has allegedly threatened asylum seekers and hid them from the media, according to a charity.

Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) said new evidence suggests some asylum seekers have been “threatened with detention and deportation if they dare to complain” about being “left without any money or support”.

It follows Badreddin Abadlla Adam’s attack at the Park Inn Hotel on West George Street.

The 28-year-old from Sudan was shot dead by officers after six people –were injured in the incident on 26 June.

Asylum seekers were being housed at the hotel at the time and campaign groups have criticised the Mears Group, which has been subcontracted by the Home Office to carry out this process amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then many have been moved to a hotel in the east end, the Tartan Lodge which they say is unclean and the food unpalatable.

Mohamed, an asylum seeker from Sienna Leone, said: “They told us don’t talk to the press.”

He added: “They have not gone to my room to clean it for the past two months, they have not cleaned the room.”

Chisom, from Nigeria, showed a plastic container of carrot and pea stew he said he was given for dinner on Sunday.

He said: “I’m happy to stay a lot of times not eating. They knock my room, they give me food, I ask them what is this. I give it back to them.

“There is no option, I don’t have money to buy, if I had money I would have chosen to buy what I want but a lot of times I choose to stay hungry.”

Qureshi, who is calling for an inquiry into the use of hotels by Mears, said asylum seekers are being “subjected to an abuse of their most basic human rights”.

She said: “It is a matter of shame that up to the present time, this apartheid system operates for those who come to our country to seek refuge.

“It is time for the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council go do more to stop Mears and the Home Office in their tracks and challenge the abuses of the most vulnerable.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "These allegations are not true.

"Like everyone else in the country during the coronavirus outbreak, asylum seekers have been asked to stay where they are and to follow social distancing to help fight the spread, which has meant standing up temporary accommodation.

"When staying in hotel accommodation, all essential living needs - including three meals a day, healthcare, WiFi and TV - are met, which is all paid for by the taxpayer and there is no cost to the individual.

"For anyone with any issues, there is a 24-hour hotline available for support and it is fundamentally untrue to suggest that they are threatened with detention or deportation if they complain."

A spokesman for Mears said: “Service users were able to leave the building and it is not correct to say they were prevented from doing so.” He added food was nutritious and rooms are ­thoroughly cleaned and sheets changed on a weekly basis.



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