English Channel Migrants Held in Poor Conditions at UK Detention Centers, Reports Say
11:48 GMT 16.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
LONDON (Sputnik) – Migrants seeking asylum in the United Kingdom after crossing the English Channel on small boats are still experiencing "very poor treatment and conditions" at the detention centers where they are held while their applications are processed, despite government's pledges to make significant improvements, UK prison inspectors said.
"Despite some limited progress, detainees, including large numbers of unaccompanied children, continued to experience very poor treatment and conditions," the chief inspector of prisons, Charlie Taylor, said in a report issued after his staff made unannounced visits to detention facilities in Kent, southern England, over the last three months.
Inspectors found, for example, that at one of the centers, many people, including families with young children, spent over 24 hours in tents with no sleeping facilities.
They also raised concern about the inadequate follow-up attention given to two women who claimed that they had been raped and another who said she had been sold into domestic servitude.
In other cases, unrelated men, women, families and unaccompanied children were regularly held together in the same facility, which according to the report, had at times resulted in significant safeguarding concerns.
"There had been a lack of urgency in implementing positive changes, and planned new facilities designed to respond to the demands of this long-running situation were not due to be fully operational until spring/summer 2022. In the meantime, detainees experienced what were at times appalling conditions," it added.
More than 25,600 people — a figure that is more than triple the total for last year as a whole — have illegally crossed from France to the UK in 2021, according to official figures.