UK asylum-seekers: Red doors 'mark' us as abuse targets

UK asylum-seekers: Red doors 'mark' us as abuse targets

A lengthy investigation from The Times forced the two companies - commissioned with taxpayers' money to run asylum seeker housing in North East England - to U-turn on a policy of painting doors red at homes used by refugees.

According to The Times investigation, of the 168 Jomast houses it identified in two of Middlesbrough's most deprived areas, 155 had red front doors.

Fletcher recalled a spate of attacks against asylum seekers living in the red-doored house in Summer 2012, but even after several of them attended a meeting with G4S, and were given assurances by the security company that the problem would be looked at, no change was implemented. "If we find any evidence of discrimination against asylum seekers it will be dealt with immediately as any such behavior will not be tolerated". Fletcher says that at the time G4S had said that it would not ask Jomast to repaint the doors. Out of every 173 residents, one is an asylum claimant.

The contractor stressed its asylum accommodation is inspected frequently by the Home Office and has been found to "meet the required standards".

The report quotes asylum-seekers as complaining that the distinctive paint singles them out as easy targets of vandalism.

Iranian Mohammed Bagher Bayzavi, 58, who lives in Union Street, has been in Middlesbrough for three years and said people could tell from his red door he was an asylum seeker. The door was then repainted red.

She said: "Over four years ago when I was working with groups of asylum seekers, they were anxious it marked them out and were anxious about attacks".

A G4S spokesman told Reuters that Jomast has no policy to house the immigrants in houses with red doors, "although they do accept that the majority of doors, for both private and asylum accommodation, are painted red".

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said he had ordered an urgent audit of housing for asylum seekers in northeast England, which is provided by G4S under a government contract.

People at one house reportedly painted their door white, only to have it repainted red by contractors.

Refugees are saying the red doors are making them easy targets for racism and harassment.

Director of Human Development, facilitate Global, Clive Hambidge says the process of singling out asylum seekers dates back to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's era and despite what the officials say no serious works are set to be carried out to put an end to the trend.

The minister revealed that Middlesbrough was the only area in the country where there is a higher concentration of asylum seekers than the Home Office yardstick of one per 200 people.

However, following the story in the Times, G4S has agreed to paint the doors in different colours: "We have agreed to repaint doors in a range of colours after these concerns were brought to our attention".

It is unacceptable for asylum seekers to flee persecution and end up facing hate in Britain, the Refugee Council said. This was despite the company's representatives reportedly telling an asylum seeker the policy was so staff visited the right address.

Mr Kadari said: "I like it here".

He said: " We think that this has been blown out of all proportion but we are responding to it, and we are going to repaint the doors to make sure there isn't a predominant colour.

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