Britain’s treatment of asylum seekers has been criticised in
Amnesty International’s annual report on worldwide human rights
The organisation highlights the “alarming shortfall” of legal
advice available to dispersed asylum seekers. It criticises the
dispersal scheme, which has placed some asylum seekers in areas
where local people had little experience of living within a
Amnesty slates the negative media coverage of asylum seekers,
which it claims “pandered to racial prejudice and created a hostile
environment for many asylum seekers.”
The annual report, which was published last week, states that
although many asylum seekers were granted temporary admission
pending the decision on their claim, up to 1,000 were held in
detention at any given time.
Britain’s record was not the only one to come in for criticism
in the report. Amnesty says conditions in holding areas for asylum
seekers were described as “inhuman and degrading” in France.
Similar conditions were noted in Germany. The report highlights
the case of the asylum seeker who committed suicide at Frankfurt
airport, where conditions of detention had been criticised by the
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Another area for concern in the UK, according to the report, was
ill-treatment of prisoners. Reports of racist abuse and degrading
treatment were received from prisons including Wandsworth, Durham
Reports of ill-treatment of young offenders were received from
Medway Secure Training Centre, in Kent and Lisnevin Juvenile
Justice Centre in Northern Ireland.
Amnesty highlights the case of the racist murder of Zahid
Mubarek in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.
The report called for a public inquiry into the killing and
failures of the institution, as well as the compatibility with
international standards of detention policies and treatment of
children and young offenders.
Amnesty annual report at www.amnesty.org