JRS UK ran an outreach service to Napier for two years from October 2020. What they saw on the ground was deeply troubling: the site was bleak and rundown, the setting was securitised, the accommodation overcrowded. This all took a serious toll on the mental health of those put there:
“Throughout my life, I have acquired different identities, and each has carried their own unique adjectives. Once I was a smart student who was passionate about literature and history, spent years painting landscapes and portraits, then a hardworking social worker who wanted to aid those who were in need and empower those who were left behind. And one day I was just an “illegal immigrant”, an “invader”, “swarm” or whatever they call people like me from newspapers to the halls of the Houses of Parliament. Truthfully, I had not cared about this kind of language until I became a subject of it. Then I realised these are not just words. They build a completely new identity, which then justify how you will be treated, seen and talked about. The language that dehumanises people makes it seem acceptable to place them in inhumane conditions and cut off from society. Acting as if they are criminals by putting them in a disused army camp, surrounded by barbed wire fences and keeping them under their constant watch.” - Erfan (a refugee friend being supported by JRS UK)
The report draws from the accounts of 17 forcibly displaced people supported by JRS UK held in Napier Barracks between July and November 2022. Find out more and download the report here.
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