26.4 C
New York
Thursday, August 11, 2022

‘Oppressive’ posters in asylum seeker hotels not from us, says operator

A company which is paid more than £100m by the UK Home Office to provide hotel accommodation to asylum seekers in Northern Ireland has denied it is behind “oppressive” posters in some of its buildings.

ne poster, seen by the Sunday Independent, reads: “Do not have visitors in the hotel or in your room, do not go out to visit friends.” It is available in several languages including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Turkish, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, French, Punjabi and Russian.

Another one reads: “Sleeping out of the hotel is not allowed. Leaving the hotel for 24 hours will terminate your stay in the hotel.”

It is claimed that the living conditions in Northern Ireland for refugees from the Middle East and Africa are so dire that some have become suicidal.

Photographs have shown raw chicken and burnt toast have been served as meals and there are residents who said they are suffering from mental health problems.

There have been concerns about facilities that have not been adapted for wheelchair users, and individuals who appear to be working in the hotel “ordering” residents back to their rooms, as a video seen previously by the Sunday Independent shows.

Now the discovery of these posters has prompted Twasul Mohammed from the Belfast-based human rights group Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) to describe hotels as “the new direct provision centres in Northern Ireland”.

“Residents have been reporting on a range of human rights failings and prison-like conditions to housing group Mears, the Home Office, local political representatives and human rights institutions for months now.”

She claimed the posters “restricting movement and social interaction are just the tip of the iceberg of an oppressive and hostile environment”.

“It is totally unacceptable and we are supporting residents to act as human rights monitors in each hotel, documenting the harm being done to their families, and connecting residents with much-needed support in the absence of any political oversight from Stormont on the situation,” she said.

A spokesman for the Mears Group said it was “not aware “of some of the posters “being displayed in hotels we are using”.

“We have advised all hotels that apart from standard hotel signs and notices, anything directed towards our service users must be agreed with Mears and any other signs should be removed,” the spokesperson said.

One poster which has the company name on its letterhead reads: “If your hotel location is within three miles of the hospital A&E Department, no taxis will be arranged for anyone who is not pregnant, disabled or unable to walk.”

In response, the spokesman said this poster “is provided by Mears as part of our poster pack”.

“The wording reflects policies and procedures in the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contract. The information on who to contact and in what circumstances, and on transport provision, is intended to be helpful for service users,” the spokesperson said.

“In the event of an emergency, it is important that the emergency services are contacted directly and without delay, rather than via Mears. The points on transport are to remind service users to call an ambulance in the event of a medical emergency, rather than Mears.”

He said this is “important information to avoid any confusion with our normal approach on transport, which is provided for qualifying journeys of over three miles, and in some cases, such as for pregnant service users, disabled [service users] or those not able to walk, for shorter distances.”

South Belfast Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl has met some of the asylum seekers living in hotels “who have been in grave danger and have come here to rebuild their lives in safety”.

“They are not criminals. They should be treated with care and dignity,” she said. “I have been engaging with Mears about a number of welfare issues, but I am particularly concerned by these posters and will be meeting with Mears for an explanation.”

There are over 1,800 asylum seekers in Northern Ireland, including 200 children, and many have not got a school place. The use of B&Bs, accommodation blocks and hotels to house asylum seekers rose from 2pc in June last year to 56pc in the subsequent six months.

Source link

Related Articles

Mike Tomlin Announces Starting QB for Steelers’ Preseason Opener

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has named quarterback Mitchell Trubisky...

Crafty New York installs a 480-square-foot SWIMMING POOL on the roof of apartment

That's one way to beat the heat! New Yorkers installs a 480-square-foot...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

0FansLike
0FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

Mike Tomlin Announces Starting QB for Steelers’ Preseason Opener

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has named quarterback Mitchell Trubisky...

Crafty New York installs a 480-square-foot SWIMMING POOL on the roof of apartment

That's one way to beat the heat! New Yorkers installs a 480-square-foot...

What’s up with Ohio State football’s JK Johnson, Jordan Hancock and Cam Brown? Buckeyes preseason camp

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jordan Hancock stretched with his Ohio State football teammates to begin Thursday’s practice, and he joined them to break the huddle...