It sparked widespread controversy… a British plan to house refugees in a sea barge

London – The British government is enacting laws against refugees in a successive and unprecedented manner, which sparked widespread controversy, and the laws came between the boat law that seeks to limit immigration by sea, passing through deportation to Rwanda, until it arrived on the fifth of April this year to announce the government's intention to settle 500 refugees aboard a 93-meter-long barge floating in the sea.

Against barge quartering

The plan met with strong opposition, not only from civil rights organizations defending the rights of refugees, but also from the heart of the Conservative Party themselves, including the local councils in Dorset (the port expected to receive the barge) and the local Conservative MP Richard Drax, who is a supporter of restricting the numbers of immigrants to Britain, However, he opposed sheltering the refugees in the barge and considered it an ill-conceived plan.

For his part, Representative Richard Drax threatened Interior Minister Soyla Braverman to enter into a legal dispute over her plan to accommodate immigrants on board the barge, citing the pressure this would cause on local facilities in Portland Dorset, especially the police and health sector, as Drax explained that the barge docked in the port from Without reviewing the local authorities, while Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick indicated earlier that the refugees would be accommodated in rudimentary accommodation to meet their basic needs and nothing more.

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Forced shelter in difficult conditions

The floating barge consists of 3 floors, and it has 222 single bedrooms with an en suite bathroom and a kitchen, and it contains some entertainment rooms such as television, a gym, and a games hall. The British government intends to place double beds in those narrow rooms to double the number of refugees residing in them, according to the announcement of the Ministry of the Interior. The barge is intended to accommodate Adult males only. According to the calculations of local newspapers, the ratio of the area of people to the area of the barge indicates that the estimated area in which an individual lives will be less than the area used to park a car.

While The Times reported that the cost of renting a barge is 15,000 pounds ($19,000) per day, in addition to the cost of mooring fees in Portland Dorset 4,500 pounds per day, meaning that the cost of a refugee as a daily residence on average is 39 pounds. Sterling, in addition to some additional daily expenses such as security services and restaurants.

Military bases to house refugees

The government intends to implement a comprehensive plan that uses boats and military sites, as the government proposed using the British Royal Air Force military base in Lincolnshire to house thousands of refugees as a less expensive alternative to hotels that cost the government about 6 million pounds a day to house the 51 thousand refugees whose files are now being considered.

According to research conducted by the Independent Commission for Aids (ICAI), the average cost per night per person in a hotel is an average of 120 pounds sterling, compared to 18 pounds sterling for accommodation in long-term homes and apartments that have a more stable character for refugee families, and yet the United Kingdom is experiencing a housing crisis. Refugees in stable homes The length of stay of refugees in hotels often exceeds a full year or more.

Tragic history of similar experiences

The ship's operator, Bibby Marine limited – based in Liverpool – announced that the barge is returning to service after its refurbishment, due to what it described as being an "oppressive environment" for asylum seekers in the Netherlands.

Al-Jazeera Net searched for the experiences of the detention of refugees on barges, and among them was what happened on board the "Baby Stockholm" previously, as repeated incidents were monitored in 2012 of migrants on board the barge, which at the time had a density of only 222 detained refugees.

Many quarrels and rapes were recorded on board, as well as the deaths of Rashid Abdel Salam (Algerian) and Ahmed Mahmoud Al-Sabah (Egyptian) due to the deterioration of health care, according to the human rights organization "State Watch".

While a barge used for the same purpose witnessed a fire accident that resulted in the death of 11 detained refugees affected by the fire accident in which the Libyan Ahmed Issa Al-Jibali (24 years) was accused and sentenced to 3 years in prison, as the Danish investigations claimed that his smoking caused the fire and held him responsible for the accident in complete disregard for neglecting safety standards. and safety on the barge.

Warning of the effects of forced shelter

Al-Jazeera Net corresponded with Médecins Sans Frontières' Immigration Defense Officer, Sophie McCann, who said, "We are concerned about more inhumane and harmful government plans to shelter refugees seeking safety in the United Kingdom, and it has come to stacking them on giant boats, ferries and military bases." precedent".

She added that they have great concern, as detaining people in prison-like conditions and isolating them from society will have severe consequences for their physical and mental health, in addition to threatening their access to quality health care, as happened in the past.

She stressed that refugees are looking for safety, and have been subjected to torture, violence and imprisonment in their countries of origin and danger during migration journeys, and detention in prison-like conditions can lead to complex post-traumatic stress disorder and may cause mental illness or exacerbate existing psychological crises.

MSF teams in Greece witnessed the horrific health effects of containing people seeking sanctuary in high-security shelters, where the organization detected high levels of mental anguish, exacerbated by the appalling conditions, lack of information about their legal status and the length of their stay in a harsh environment.

McCann stressed that the government must realize that punitive deterrent measures, including the Boat Act, will not prevent refugees from trying to reach the UK, and that the draconian plans must be abandoned immediately, and they must be placed in safe and dignified accommodation.

The United Kingdom is witnessing a high wave of attacks on refugees at all levels, and despite the dispersal and inconsistency of the incidents, they are all in a direction that harms the interests of the refugees. Last month, London witnessed an incident preventing Afghan refugees from entering the high school exams, while yesterday, Saturday, the city of Nottingham witnessed an emergency evacuation. Refugee hotel due to news received by the police about the possibility of an explosive device inside a suspicious package in the hotel.

Many government institutions plan to take strict measures not only to limit the flow of refugees into the Kingdom, but also to reduce the basic expenses necessary for the subsistence of refugees, knowing that the United Kingdom does not allow refugees to work before a full year of examining their case, which leaves no choice for refugees. In a better life before the availability of a work permit.

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