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“Cover-up” fears at Penally Asylum Camp

WELSH Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns that there might be a cover up of the harsh and unsafe living conditions which the asylum seekers are facing at Penally Camp.

This follows a report in the Guardian that volunteers at the Napier Camp near Folkestone are being required to sign confidential agreements underpinned by the Official Secrets Act.

Both Napier and Penally are being run by Clearsprings.

Alistair Cameron, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said:

“Clearsprings and The Home Office need to urgently reveal if they are forcing those working and volunteering at Penally to sign confidentiality agreements, and if they are that practice must stop immediately.

“There is no national security reason for volunteers having to sign confidentiality agreements and free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy.

“Any reasonable person would expect the refugees to be accommodated in warm, clean and safe accommodation whilst their claim for asylum is being considered. We would expect similar consideration if we were forced to flee from our homes and claim asylum abroad.

“Conditions at the camp will be deteriorating rapidly as we move into Winter. However, they should be a matter of public knowledge, not least because many local people will wish to help the refugees.

“However, what we really need is for the Home Office to transfer the asylum seekers to warm, decent and safe accommodation as soon as possible. A military camp is completely unsuitable for people who are fleeing war, violence and persecution. Moreover, Hywel Dda Health Board have criticised the camp’s unsuitability for maintaining social distancing at a time when we all still face grave dangers from the coronavirus pandemic.”

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