For people seeking asylum, human rights are important building blocks for putting down roots and building a new life in a new country.
However, as our recent report, looking into inadequate support for families seeking asylum found, for too many, even though they have physically arrived, the doors to join or contribute to UK society remain closed. Currently, everyone arriving in the UK seeking refuge is being adversely affected by the UK Government’s asylum policy; often being made to spend months and years in inadequate living conditions, given very little money to live on, and denied their rights to education, healthcare and work.
The combination of inflamed and unwelcoming rhetoric with policies which have little consideration for rights, has created a perfect storm and major barriers to integration into communities for people seeking asylum.
Hotel accommodation has been framed as luxurious by UK Government ministers even though in reality many are languishing in inhumane conditions. The UK Government’s new plan to close hotels and transition to barges and military bases is no different. It is simply moving the problem around, from one type of inadequate and degrading accommodation to another.
Another barrier to integration is the hostile environment people often face at a local level. In addition to inflammatory language, the UK Government often puts people in accommodation in remote areas, often not consulting local authorities and residents on the location. This is fuelling hatred towards the newly arrived people in these communities. Along with locals’ concerns, protests are often amplifying racist messaging. From all angles, the UK Government is often stopping people from being able to integrate, contribute to UK society, and live a dignified life.
Not only is the UK Government neglecting rights, but also setting people up for failure. Someone who is successful in their asylum claim and granted status is not supported to find a place to live, a job they can do, or a secure future. Some can be made to leave their accommodation after just seven days. They leave one broken system and enter another, susceptible to a life of poverty and homelessness. In addition, the majority of these are people of colour who are already facing structural racism on a day-to-day basis.
The UK Government’s lack of consideration for people’s human rights has a devastating effect on people’s lives now and will have serious long-term implications in the future.
Our everyday rights must be prioritized so all in the UK can have the adequate support needed to put down roots, grow and thrive.
By Mofe Boyo, Research and Policy Intern.
If you would like to learn more on this topic, join our upcoming training session on using human rights as a tool for change in the asylum system.