Over 80 asylum seekers died in UK Home Office accommodation since 2020: Report

Edited By: C Krishnasai
London Updated: Jun 26, 2022, 03:25 PM(IST)

Asylum seekers crossing English Channel by small boat Photograph:( Reuters )

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A steady increase in the number of deaths has raised questions about the efficiency of the Home Office, which is primarily responsible for protecting the asylum seekers recognised by the government

In UK, at least 107 asylum seekers who were staying in government accommodation have died in the past five years, with the majority of deaths being reported since 2020, a probe has revealed.

Out of the 107 deaths reported between April 2016 and May 2022, 82 have died since 2020, revealing safeguarding failings.

The Guardian report, which has cited a data obtained in a joint investigation by the Observer and Liberty Investigates, stated that despite being officially recognised by the Home Office as vulnerable and potentially in need of protection, these asylum seekers died by suicide or suspected suicide.

Of those, 17 people died by suicide or suspected suicide, according to an analysis of Home Office records released under information laws. Half of those who have died since the start of 2020 (41) were flagged as having a “safeguarding element” – a label officials assign to individuals recognised as having vulnerabilities or needs such as a health problem, reports the UK-based newspaper.

There were four deaths in 2019, rising to 36 in 2020, 40 last year and six so far this year, reveals data.

A steady increase in the number of deaths has raised questions about the efficiency of the Home Office, which is primarily responsible for protecting the asylum seekers recognised by the government.

One MP told The Guardian that their lives had been lost due to “cruelty and incompetence”. Another said the government had questions to answer.

Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, added: “These revelations demand an urgent, independent inspection of the accommodation, healthcare and safeguarding provided [for] asylum seekers.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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