Staff Accused of Mocking Asylum Seeker's Death on UK Migrant Barge

Staff on the migrant barge 'Bibby Stockholm' accused of mocking asylum seeker's death; concerns raised over treatment of vulnerable individuals in government-provided accommodation.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Staff Accused of Mocking Asylum Seeker's Death on UK Migrant Barge

Staff Accused of Mocking Asylum Seeker's Death on UK Migrant Barge

Staff on the government's migrant barge 'Bibby Stockholm' in Portland, Dorset, UK, have been accused of laughing and joking over the death of an asylum seeker in December 2023. Leonard Farruku, a 27-year-old Albanian migrant, is thought to have taken his own life while living on the barge.

Levana, a former cleaner on the vessel, claimed that within a week of Farruku's death, workers made a 'disgusting joke' saying there was 'one less Muslim mouth to feed.' Levana said she heard other staff making hostile and possibly racist comments about the residents, but did not feel able to report the incident at the time. She also alleged that she was disciplined and unfairly dismissed for being friendly with the residents.

Why this matters: The allegations highlight ongoing issues and controversies surrounding the use of barges to house asylum seekers in the UK. The incident raises concerns about the treatment and well-being of vulnerable individuals in government-provided accommodation.

Multiple former residents of the Bibby Stockholm have described the conditions on the barge as 'like being in prison,' with one saying it made them feel like a 'zoo animal.' They reported strict security measures, including a curfew, constant surveillance, and restricted movement.

A report by Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism, and the Portland Global Friendship Group, which was launched in a parliamentary meeting, called for the immediate closure of the barge and no renewal of its contract. The report also recommended investment in asylum claim decision-makers to address the backlog of cases.

The Home Office has disputed the claims made in the report, stating that there are 'rigorous safeguarding processes in place' on the barge and that residents have access to health and social care services, including mental health support. They maintain that they work to address any concerns raised about the welfare of those in their care.

The death of Leonard Farruku and the subsequent allegations against staff have once again brought attention to the controversial use of the Bibby Stockholm to house asylum seekers. As investigations continue, the incident serves as a sobering reminder of the challenges and potential risks associated with such accommodation arrangements for vulnerable individuals seeking refuge in the UK.

Key Takeaways

  • Staff accused of mocking death of asylum seeker on Bibby Stockholm barge in UK.
  • Allegations of hostile, possibly racist comments and unfair dismissal of staff.
  • Residents describe prison-like conditions, with strict security and limited movement.
  • Calls for immediate closure of barge and investment in asylum claim decision-makers.
  • Home Office disputes claims, says rigorous safeguards in place, but concerns remain.