The fight against Priti Patel’s fascist policy of forcing migrants to live in concentration camps like Napier Barracks in Kent has taken a major step forward.
The High Court has ruled that a Home Office decision to force migrants to live in the “squalid” and overcrowded former barracks was “unlawful”.
Home Secretary Priti Patel may now have to pay a damages claim against her, and the ruling could lead to further cases from any other men held at the camp who can bring similar evidence to court.
Mr Justice Linden made his judgement after considering evidence including details of a fire that broke out in the camp in January, and an outbreak of Covid-19 earlier this year that infected 200 people.
The judge said the camp’s failings included overcrowding, the use of communal dormitories during a pandemic, lack of ventilation, “filthy” facilities, significant fire risks, run-down buildings, and a “decrepit” isolation block that was not fit for human habitation.
He said: “I do not accept that the accommodation there ensured a standard of living which was adequate for the health of the claimants.
“Insofar as the defendant considered that the accommodation was adequate for their needs, that view was irrational.”
And he criticised the “detention-like” setting for the men.
He said: “They were supposed to live voluntarily pending a determination of their applications for asylum.
“When this is considered, a decision that accommodation in a detention-like setting – a site enclosed by a perimeter fence topped with barbed wire, access to which is through padlocked gates guarded by uniformed security personnel – will be adequate for their needs, begins to look questionable.”
Let’s be honest: these people were imprisoned there, without trial – without even having committed a crime, in accommodation that was unfit for human beings to the extent that hundreds of them contracted a disease that could have been fatal.
This Site has been reporting on the situation at Napier Barracks for a considerable period, and it would be unreasonable for Priti Patel to say she had been unaware of conditions there:
Responsibility for conditions at Napier lies squarely with the Home Secretary herself, as the Home Office’s advocate said Patel had decided the barracks could be used safely by “introducing safeguards”.
But it is clear that any such safeguards that were introduced were not enough. Is this another example of Tories refusing to fund anything that doesn’t generate a direct profit for themselves or their donors?
The judge declined to rule that the barracks could not be used to house migrants in the future – but he said there must be significant improvements.
From the judgement itself, we may reasonably deduce that these would include changing the sleeping arrangements to end communal dormitories, taking down the barbed-wire perimeter fence, padlocked gates and guards, and giving the entire site a clean.
But this is one example of Tory racism that they won’t be able to whitewash away.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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