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Detention and removal of migrant rough sleepers must stop

16.06.2017 2290 XX

Yesterday a complaint was filed with the EU Commission against the UK Government’s policy of detaining rough sleepers from the European Economic Area and sending them back to their country of origin. The complaint comes from FEANTSA – a respected umbrella body representing homelessness organisations across Europe - who claim the policy abuses EU free movement rights and criminalises vulnerable people.

Responding, Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:

“We share FEANTSA’s concerns about the impact of this policy on vulnerable rough sleepers. In recent weeks and months, a number of our own clients have been detained without warning and with no consideration for their best interests. Some have simply disappeared, and we have no way of knowing what’s happened to them.

“This is completely unacceptable, and potentially very dangerous, as we have no evidence that people’s health needs are being properly managed. It is hard to imagine UK nationals ever being treated with such little respect for their wishes or wellbeing. These people were actively using our services - looking for a job, working towards qualifications, learning new skills, and attempting to find accommodation, and this policy means that people who are already extremely vulnerable are less likely to get the support and help they need to get out of homelessness and to get on with their lives either here in the UK or elsewhere.

“Homeless people deserve better than this, and we urge the Government to suspend this policy and instead work with Crisis and others to understand the best approach to safe and responsible solutions for migrant rough sleepers.”