On Monday the Guardian Newspaper carried RAPAR’s call and also highlighted the letter sent last Friday from 50 organisations in the UK, including RAPAR, to the Chief Executive of every Local Authority in England. On the same day, last Friday, MASI sent a letter to Ireland's Minister for Justice. Both the English and the Irish letters call upon Statutory Bodies to implement measures to protect lives.
Today, our blog comes from an anonymous writer and young artists currently living inside Ireland’s “Architecture of Containment”.
“This morning I finally put on a brave face and I allowed my children out in the back garden. Even though I have my own front door and back garden, I feel I owe every other person in the premises the duty of care, hence I stay away completely from any unnecessary gathering.
That said, the panic, anxiety and the feeling of "what next" can be smelt in the atmosphere down here in the centre, reason being that we woke up to a news that two asylum seekers have now been diagnosed with the novel corona virus. These people happens to live in a hostel styled accommodation where up to six people are accommodated in the same room, share a communal bathroom and eat in the canteen. Residents are not allowed to bring food back to their rooms. In another hostel, the management suggested that residents stopped eating in the canteen and are enjoined to bring their own plates to get food from the canteen.
In an extreme case of taking pre-emptive measures to curb the risk of contamination, the management in an accommodation centre have instructed that any resident who goes to work should not return to the centre. This therefore means that residents who work in the healthcare sectors have to quit their jobs or seek alternative housing for themselves. Suffice to say that they are not entitled to any benefit from the Irish government. In another accommodation, residents are advised to limit their movement to their rooms, they are not allowed to take intermittent breaks or go out for a breath of fresh air.
As at yesterday, there has been a call for the Irish Government to move vulnerable people out of the direct provision centres and provide a suitable space where they can safely self isolate. There are pregnant women, elderly people with severe health conditions, children with underlying medical conditions as well as newborns whose immunity is too delicate to be exposed to an environment where they are susceptible to being infected.
Lastly, our thoughts are with fellow asylum seekers who are stuck in emergency accommodation centres across the country, they should be moved out of hotel rooms and given proper, decontaminated and safe space to stay.
In solidarity with people seeking asylum across the country, and across the sea...”
THERE IS NO SOCIAL DISTANCING HERE
See the latest post from the Detained Voices blog which highlights issues in detention centres across the UK. This particular post is a vivid description of living in the shadow of Covid 19 from a detainee in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick Airport.