Two groups representing migrants in Ireland have said that asylum seekers fear that their direct provision centres will be attacked in a similar way to recent incidents in Donegal and Rooskey.
The joint statement from Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) & Anti-Racism Network Joint (ARN) has strongly condemned last week’s apparent arson attack at the Shannon Key West Hotel and a fire at the Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville in November 2018. Both former hotels are due to be turned into Direct Provision centres for refugees this year.
While both attacks were on vacant properties, MASI and ARN say asylum seekers in other centres around Ireland are now afraid that they will be next.
The attacks are a local example of global currents of ‘anti-migrant racism’, they said, while they also called for an end to Direct Provision.
“Shutting people away in remote accommodation centres makes it easier for racists and xenophobes to target them,” the groups warned.
An estimated 6,000 people, with over 2,000 of that figure being children, are currently housed in Direct Provision centres in Ireland.
Caiseal Mara Hotel is due to take in 100 people in the coming months, while 80 more beds were to be provided at the Shannon Key West Hotel.
The confinement and lack of community integration experienced by asylum seekers in Direct Provision were described as ‘dehumanisation’ by MASI and ARN.
They said: “Direct Provision destroys people from the inside out. It takes away everything – dignity, autonomy, agency. It eats away at your sense of self. Now, you are just this label – an ‘asylum seeker’.
“The Direct Provision system causes this dehumanisation from within, but it also enables dehumanisation from outside. It is much easier to stir up racist, xenophobic hatred when the subjects of that hate are isolated, impoverished and segregated into an actual physical space, an institution, a camp, that sets them apart as less human, less deserving of simple human dignity than the ‘majority’ population.”
The groups have called for a united stance against racism and anti-migrant hatred in Ireland.
“The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland and the Anti-Racism Network Ireland call on the Department of Justice and Equality to vindicate many of the fundamental human rights that are violated through the system of Direct Provision such as the right to work, privacy which includes private and family life, the right to dignity, and to ensure that the best interest of the child prevails for every child in Ireland irrespective of nationality or immigration status.”
They added: “There can be no justice for people seeking asylum until the system of Direct Provision is abolished and the deportation regime dismantled.”Tags: