“The worst thing that a person may live is to find in front of him what he left his country for,” Amin, who fled his country because of war and fighting, finds himself again in a former military base, which has been transferred by the British authorities to a detention center for asylum seekers.
The military base, which has become a subject of controversy in recent days due to the living conditions in it, is currently receiving about 200 asylum seekers.
Briefly, Amin agreed to speak to Al-Jazeera Net for fear of his own condition, but the news coming from there, which has become the subject of a media and political debate, talks about the accumulation of asylum seekers in narrow rooms, and the impossibility of applying social distancing measures. We have a choice but to accept this situation. “
Perhaps the experience is difficult for Amin coming from war and battles, when he looks around and finds nothing but this strictly fenced military residence, “Every day I remember all the devastation and destruction that occurred in my country, and this is as if it is daily psychological torture.”
This situation angered even the First Minister in Wales, whose military base is located on his territory, and considered that what the Home Office had done was “unacceptable and did not take into account the precarious situation in which asylum seekers lived.”
While hundreds of refugees suffer from the cold of Wales and the fence of the military base crouched in memory and soul, there are others who lay their hands on their hearts and news that reaches them successively about various projects of the British government, which requires deporting them thousands of miles or resettling them in other countries.
Idris, who managed to reach Britain and is currently living in a center for asylum seekers, says, “I thank Britain that it welcomed me and saved my life that I ventured into the sea with to my origin, but I do not want to convert to goods that are transported between countries,” as he fears that he will be deported again.
He added, “I endured the fear of death boats more than once to reach safety. Indeed, I thought that I had reached safety in Britain, before the specter of fear visited me again and I heard the government’s plans to deal with asylum seekers and deport them to other countries.”
Relocation and resettlement
British Home Secretary Priti Patel found herself in the face of a storm of human rights and political criticism, after revealing that the government was studying a number of plans to resettle asylum seekers.
Among the proposals, the British Home Office is considering deporting them to Ascension Island, which is 4 thousand miles (about 6,437 km) from the United Kingdom and is located in the south of the Atlantic Ocean, and is subject to the British Crown.
The government is also putting another option on its table that caused even more shock, according to the “Financial Times” newspaper, there was a study to buy abandoned ferries at sea and convert them into shelters for immigrants, excluding oil tankers and their derivatives, but the proposal was withdrawn, according to the same source.
The “Guardian” newspaper also revealed that the British government is considering deporting asylum seekers to other African countries and placing them in shelter centers there until their asylum applications are decided upon, drawing on the Australian model that is considered the subject of global human rights criticism.
The plan estimates the budget for providing 1,000 beds in accommodation centers in receiving countries at about 200 million pounds, in addition to another 200 million pounds for operating expenses for these centers (one pound is equal to about 1.29 dollars).
The British government justifies these controversial measures by the increasing number of refugees who arrived on its territory, as evidenced by the boat convoys that passed from France to the United Kingdom during the past summer months.
But the figures of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, show that the rise was not in the form promoted by the official British rhetoric. In 2019, Britain received 35,566 asylum requests, noting that the highest number of asylum requests was registered in 2002, and reached 84,000.
The current year recorded a limited increase in the number of asylum seekers, with an increase of 6 thousand cases, bringing the total to approximately 41 thousand asylum applications, which is a very low figure compared to the rest of European countries. It makes the United Kingdom one of the least welcoming European countries for asylum seekers, yet it tends to place more emphasis on refugees.
Cruelty and inhumanity
With a lot of anger, Claire Mosley, founder of the “Care for Calais” organization that deals with refugees, speaks about what the government is thinking of doing against this vulnerable group, considering that all these government projects show “cruelty and inhumanity in dealing with refugees.”
The British human rights activist added – in a statement to Al Jazeera Net – that these people are making a dangerous journey across the sea, “and they are the most vulnerable group in the world, and they have fled from the most dangerous areas,” dismissing his country’s government dealing with refugees “as if they were convicts who deserve punishment and not persons who should be granted them.” Dignity and respect. “
The founder of the human rights association defending refugees proposes that their asylum cases be heard at the UK border in France, before they risk their lives trying to cross the sea channel, “This is the way to end the suffering of the sea crossings and the collapse of the human smugglers trade. For Britain to respond to the vulnerable who ask us to help. “
Many political, artistic and human rights figures stand in the way of the British government’s plans, including the Prime Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, who vowed to fiercely oppose all of these plans, and more than 72 cultural and artistic names have sent the government to reconsider its way of dealing with refugee children.