27 July 2020
A new report by the Sisters Not Strangers coalition examines the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women in the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown. The authors argue that their findings confirm what they already knew - that refugee and asylum-seeking women have been some of those hardest hit by the pandemic and the measures introduced to contain it. Existing inequalities and disadvantages have been exacerbated, and those interviewed for the report "have experienced hunger, homelessness, mental health has deteriorated and women with pre-existing health conditions have struggled to access healthcare."
Sisters Not Strangers Launches 'Hear Us' Report (Refugee Women Connect, link)
"As Sisters Not Strangers coalition partners we are proud to release the 'Hear Us: the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women during the pandemic' report. We have surveyed over 100 asylum-seeking women from England and Wales to hear how they are surviving during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was completed by women who are seeking and have been refused asylum, as well as those with leave to remain. These responses were supplemented by a survey of 24 staff and volunteers who have been supporting asylum-seeking women since the outbreak.
Findings of the survey confirmed what we already knew; that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the safety and well-being of asylum-seeking and refugee women. Already marginalised by mainstream society and subjected to deep structural inequalities, asylum-seeking and refugee women are some of the hardest hit by the virus. They have experienced hunger, homelessness, mental health has deteriorated and women with pre-existing health conditions have struggled to access healthcare. Women have experienced high levels of social isolation as a result of digital poverty and haven't been able to secure based items such as soap and hand sanitiser."
See also: Asylum seeker slept on bus for a week during lockdown to escape rat-infested accommodation (Coventry Live, link):
"A woman has told how she slept on buses for a week in lockdown in a shocking report which sheds light on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected asylum seekers.
Lo Lo, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, told researchers that the accommodation she was placed into was filthy, overcrowded, with cockroaches and rats and no hot water.
Men would come into her room without her permission, but no action was taken despite her complaints, so, fearing for her life, she left."
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