Immigration and migrants' rights

Napier Barracks breach human rights

Posted on 14 Apr 2021

Conditions at Napier Barracks are inadequate and breach people’s fundamental human rights.

  • Liberty intervenes in case on living conditions for asylum seekers
  • Accommodation falls short of human dignity, Liberty says
  • Disabled people’s needs ignored

Liberty has warned conditions at Napier Barracks are inadequate and breach people’s fundamental human rights.

Today (14 April) the human rights group intervenes in a High Court case brought by six asylum seekers who are challenging the lawfulness of the Government’s provision by housing them at Napier Barracks in Kent.

In its submission to the court Liberty said the accommodation does not uphold human dignity, puts asylum seekers at risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, and fails to meet the needs of asylum seekers.

Liberty said Napier Barracks is incompatible with people’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 3: Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and is incompatible with basic aspects of human dignity, because of:

  • Overcrowding in barracks-style accommodation creates a significant risk of a COVID-19 outbreak
  • Basic sanitary and hygiene requirements not met – made worse by the lack of adequate toilets or wash facilities
  • Conditions at Napier have distressing associations for most, if not all, asylum seekers

Liberty said the accommodation also falls short of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007, as well as the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010. Liberty said the Home Office does not properly monitor disability, and is therefore unable to assess what adequate accommodation or living standards for disabled asylum seekers look like at Napier.

Lara ten Caten, the Liberty lawyer working on the case, said:

“We should all have somewhere safe to shelter, where our dignity is respected and where our needs are met. The accommodation at Napier Barracks falls far short of this. It is overcrowded, unhygienic, and has already proved to put people at risk of a coronavirus outbreak. This is a clear breach of people’s fundamental right to respect for human dignity.”

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