UK refugee charity calls for ban on naming migrant hotels

People thought to be migrants who undertook the crossing from France in small boats and were picked up in the Channel, wait to be disembarked from a British border force vessel, in Dover, south east England, Friday, June 17, 2022. The British government vowed Wednesday to organize more flights to deport asylum-seekers from around the world to Rwanda, after a last-minute court judgment grounded the first plane due to take off under the contentious policy. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
By Thomas Brooke
5 Min Read

The Refugee Council in the United Kingdom has called on British lawmakers not to disclose the names of migrant hotels to the general public, citing safety concerns.

It is understood that the charity’s chief executive, Enver Solomon, wrote to the House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, expressing “serious concerns” over the safety of asylum seekers arriving in England in small boats across the English Channel.

The move comes after a lone far-right British man threw petrol bombs at a migrant processing center in Dover, Kent late last month before taking his own life.

Solomon warned MPs that by naming hotels in their local constituencies, they were increasing the risk of harm for asylum seekers residing at the facilities.

It should be noted that Remix News is not aware of any other attempts to target facilities accommodating asylum seekers, and at the time of the aforementioned attack, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East Ch Supt Olly Wright said there was “nothing to suggest any ongoing wider threat at this time.”

In his letter, Solomon claimed the Dover migrant center attack “served to underline that people in the asylum system are vulnerable to violent attack by extremists, and many are staying in hotels with minimal security.

“It has been Home Office practice to not publicly name hotels where people are staying in order to guard their safety and privacy, but we know that increasingly MPs are naming specific premises when they raise this issue.”

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The refugee charity’s chief executive accepted that MPs should be able to raise any constituency issue in parliament, but insisted “this can be done without identifying a specific hotel and potentially making it more vulnerable to attack.”

Solomon urged the Commons leader to “communicate with MPs on this matter,” and asked that they “refrain from publicly identifying hotels that are housing people seeking asylum, to maintain the security at these sites.”

The Home Office has now block-booked more than 200 hotels across Britain and Northern Ireland to temporarily house individuals entering Britain via small boats and claiming asylum, and resettled Afghans; a move that is costing U.K. taxpayers around £7 million a day.

According to Home Office figures given to parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee last month, more than 37,000 migrants are being accommodated for, and with an asylum system that has only processed 4 percent of the tens of thousands of individuals who arrived in the same manner to Britain last year, the accommodation has become semi-permanent for most, and the number of arrivals continues to rise.

Latest figures as of the beginning of this week put the number of arrivals via the English Channel so far this year at 41,769, with a further 30,000 supposedly thwarted by French police patrolling the country’s northern beaches.

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British MPs have contacted the Home Office as they have sought to address the escalating number of complaints made by their constituents over the inappropriate hotel locations being used by the Home Office.

Labour’s Lisa Nandy claimed a hotel in her constituency was unsuitable to accommodate large groups of adult males due to its location near to a secondary school, after numerous reports of girls’ P.E. lessons being watched by groups of men, and harassment of school girls walking home.

Peterborough City Council, supported by local Conservative MP Paul Bristow also recently opposed the use of a luxurious city center hotel in the town by asylum seekers, with the council claiming its social services had reached capacity.

Ipswich Borough Council and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council both also recently argued that hotels were being converted to hostels for asylum seekers, in breach of their local planning controls.

Local authorities in Kent and the surrounding area wrote to Home Secretary Suella Braverman last week telling her department its social services were at “breaking point” after saturating its social housing and hotel accommodation to house migrants.

Ethical questions will arise as to whether residents near to migrant hotels should be informed of plans to house large groups of asylum seekers, and whether anonymity as per the locations being used to house them could lead to further incidents among unassuming locals.

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