Asylum seekers cleared from inhumane reality of Kent centre

Signs held by protesters at The People's Assembly March in November. Photo credit: Yana Trup

The Manston migrant processing centre, a place where migrants arriving on UK shores would be taken for initial identity checks, has been cleared of all the people held there.

The Home Office has said that everyone who was being held at the site has been put into new accommodation.

The site has been subject to several controversies over the last few weeks, with outbreaks of diphtheria, refugees stranded at London Victoria, and the death of a man in hospital on Saturday.

The centre has been in national headlines and has highlighted the way the UK government treats asylum seekers. It has also started conversations about how migrants are seen by the British public.

Organisations dedicated to improving conditions for those seeking asylum in Britain, including the Refugee Council and Freedom from Torture have previously called on the government to improve conditions at the centre.

Issues at the site have been known for a while.

An official inspection in July found “exhausted detainees held for more than 30 hours”, and raised concerns over inadequate health care processes and problems with security clearances of staff.

Detainees should only be held at the site for 24 hours while initial security and identity checks are carried out and should then be moved into immigrant detention centres or asylum accommodation.

However, some reports found people who were held at the centre for over 30 days.

The former airfield in Kent has the capacity to hold 1,600 people, but recent reports showed that over 4,000 were being held there.

The centre was opened in February 2022 to try to manage the amount of people crossing the Channel from France in small boats.

As of 26 October, 38,000 people so far this year have arrived in the UK in small boats.

Updated quarterly statistics on irregular migration to the UK are expected to be released by the Home Office on 24 November.

Words: Yana Trup | Subbing: Nadya Salie

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