Stop the barge: no to floating prisons for refugees

The government’s inhumane prison-style barge has just docked in Dorset – and they plan to begin using it within weeks.

They plan to cram in 500 refugees into the barge – even though it was only designed for 200 people.

The Home Office claims it is not a prison or detention facility – but residents will “not be free to move around the port”. The Refugee Council says people will be held in “detention-like conditions”.

When the barge was used previously in other countries, human rights campaigners found appalling conditions on board, and in the Netherlands in 2008 one person died. Freedom From Torture called the barge “cruel and inhumane” and “a catastrophe waiting to happen”.

The Bibby Stockholm barge and its owner Bibby Line even take their name from founder John Bibby, who was involved in slavery in the 19th century.

The government claims that the barge is a money-saving measure, but it has paid a private company a massive £1.6 billion to manage the barges, so savings are deeply unlikely. Their real purpose is performative cruelty.

If the government wanted to save money, it would dedicate resources to processing the backlog of asylum applications, instead of paying to keep people waiting in limbo for years.

The barge is just another effort to scapegoat refugees for the economic crisis caused by Tory policies.



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