Napier Barracks residents protesting against poor living conditions
“I’m from Sudan. I left because of the revolution and the problems; I couldn’t walk down the street without fearing for my safety. I arrived in Napier Barracks in September and have been here ever since.
I have been sleeping outside for 5 days now. I am protesting because the conditions here are not good. Too many of us share one shower and one toilet. There is no privacy. At night no one can sleep because there is too much noise. The situation is unbearable. You cannot settle and there is no peace and quiet.
I have asked for a long time now if there will be any changes and there is no movement. I keep being told ‘maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow’. I am stressed and worried about Coronavirus because it is so cramped here.
It’s a military set up here, it’s like being in prison you can’t do anything without someone knowing, everything you do is watched. I don’t feel safe here, I’m really struggling mentally, the thoughts I’m having are very hard. Being here brings up bad memories, particularly at night. I am suffering from nightmares of my memories. I’m not getting any sleep, 3 or 4 hours maybe each night. I am tired.
I would like more privacy, being around so many people is not good. We want there to be fewer people bunched together. We would like more freedom to be able to come and go. Peace and quiet, better living circumstances.
I have been told by the staff here that if I comment on the conditions here it will affect my asylum claim. We are told that this will make a mark on my file. I was told this by a lot of staff, even the security tell us this. I have been told this about sleeping outside in protest. People warn me not to talk to anyone from outside the barracks or it could harm my claim.”
Our friends in Napier barracks, Folkestone, have now slept outside for 5 days. Their peaceful protest at the conditions at the camp continues. Yesterday, they were joined by many others who waved handwritten banners calling for their voices to be heard and their rights respected.
We talked to one friend who is protesting. He told us how he feels, what the camp is like for him, what his hopes are and how the staff at the barracks falsely threaten him and his friends with adverse effects on his asylum claim should he speak out about the awful conditions inside.
This is misuse of power is completely unacceptable.
These are his words.
Of all the terrible things that asylum seekers face in Napier Barracks, the threat to their freedom of speech is one of the worst. They have fled countries where they cannot speak out for fear of their lives. When they come to the UK, the least they should be able to do is speak out.
To donate to our fundraiser for Napier Barracks residents, please go to https://www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/warm-clothes-for-Napier-Barracks