Solidarity condemns, absolutely, the decision to evict over 300 Asylum Seekers and demands the Scottish Government, in conjunction with Glasgow City Council, to support the initiative of Mike Dailly of the Govan Law Centre.
This is a situation where no-one in government, or SERCO themselves, is accepting responsibility and one which even the relevant charities cannot address. Charity is therefore, not a solution.
The Home Office gave the contract to SERCO to house Asylum Seekers. SERCO is a multi-national company which, according to reporter Christopher Knaus of the Guardian‘, has an abysmal record in Australia, with allegations of fraud, covering up the abuse of detainees (in their private prisons) and even the mishandling of radioactive waste! They run 11 of Australia’s onshore immigration detention centres and in the UK operate six adult prisons. The infamous Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre helps manage healthcare facilities and provides critical support services to the military.
There has been a history of allegations ranging from tax evasion to covering up sexual abuse of immigrants in Yarl’s Wood. Also, they were under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for billing the government for the electronic monitoring of criminals who turned out to be still behind bars or deceased. They paid back £68.5m but were never prosecuted. They are the company which the Westminster government decided would be fit to provide fair treatment and accommodation to Asylum Seekers.
That is the company, Paul Sweeney Labour MP, wrote to asking if an equality impact assessment had been undertaken and asking them to suspend evictions pending a full investigation taking place. Good luck with that one, Paul. Thanks for nothing.
Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, also wrote to Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, who took the Pontius Pilate approach and washed his hands of the affair.
Mike Dailly, Govan Law Centre, has declared that SERCO is proposing to act illegally in evicting the Asylum Seekers. The Scottish Government and Glasgow Council must take note and act as quickly as possible to avoid further distress to people who have already been traumatised in their own countries. And give them the peace, comfort and dignity they deserve.