Call Out Institutional Racism: End Direct Provision Now!
Updated: Jan 8
The Irish government is putting the lives of asylum seekers in Direct Provision at risk. While the country is in lockdown and the population is adhering to social distancing, asylum seekers are forced to continue to live in cramped and unhygienic conditions. And now COVID-19 is starting to spread amongst them.
In a direct provision centre in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, 20 asylum seekers, including a seven-year-old boy, have tested positive for the virus. Instead of immediately closing down the centre and moving the residents to more adequate housing, the department of health has responded by introducing “restrictive measures”. As a result, asylum seekers are confined to their rooms and the entrance gate to the centre was locked with a chain which has since been removed.
The Industrial Workers of the World join in the calls to end the inhumane direct provision system, with other grassroots groups such as the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) leading the charge.
In the last week the ombudsman who oversees the system revealed he received 168 complaints about direct provision in 2019. He also drew attention to the “unsuitable and unsustainable” accommodations asylum seekers are forced to live in. It is not unusual for seven or more people to share one bedroom. Privacy is impossible. As is social distancing.
In 2019 a UN committee highlighted that the Direct Provision system is run on a “for-profit basis without proper regulation or accountability mechanisms”.
We are not surprised. For two decades successive governments have ensured that private enterprise has profited off the backs of vulnerable people seeking refuge in Ireland. As was recently revealed in the Irish Examiner, private companies have profited to the tune of €1.3bn since the year 2000. Meanwhile, asylum seekers are given inadequate food and shelter so that profits can be maximised.
We call on everyone to oppose the immoral system of Direct Provision.
We demand that asylum seekers be given immediate leave to remain and permit to equal opportunity to employment.
We demand that in the meantime all necessary steps are taken to ensure that asylum seekers are not needlessly put at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Migrant Rights Are Workers Rights!