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‘Close Penally’ Welsh minister tells Priti Patel on International Migrants Day

18 Dec 2020 3 minute read
Priti Patel picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

A Welsh Minister has used International Migrants Day to warn the Home Secretary that the UK’s international reputation will be damaged unless it closes a Pembrokeshire asylum seeker’s camp.

Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt said that she celebrated the contribution migrants had made to Wales and told Prit Patel to close the Penally Asylum camp.

The Penally barracks were repurposed in September to hold asylum seekers. Lawyers have argued that the conditions in the camps are unlawful because they breach Covid-19 guildelines and place residents at risk of suffering from “degrading” treatment due to unhygienic conditions and a lack of access to medical care.

“If the UK Government wants to present a post-EU, open and welcoming nation to the world, the Home Secretary must act now to immediately close the Penally camp and move residents to more appropriate facilities,” Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt said.

“The conditions are unsafe, unsuitable and unsustainable. Wales is a nation of sanctuary and this means treating those seeking sanctuary with dignity and respect.

I’m calling on the Home Secretary to take action now to reverse these inhumane conditions and demonstrate that our international reputation for promoting human rights is justified.”



Jane Hutt said that International Migrants Day should be a time when “we reflect on our nation’s values towards migrants”, whether they came here through choice or because circumstances forced them.

“Migrants have made such an enormous contribution to our Welsh Society, it’s fitting that we champion and celebrate them all on International Migrants Day,” she said.

“We must never forget the impact that migrants have made on our society. Their work right across our nation, in our NHS, in our schools and in our care homes. That’s why we celebrate International Migrants Day in Wales, we respect, welcome and appreciate their contribution to our society.”

The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip also used the opportunity to reiterate the importance for European Union citizens to register for settled status.

“The First Minister and I are reiterating our call today to the European Union Citizens living across our nation, Wales is your home, it always will be and we want you to stay, so it’s vitally important to register for settled status before the deadline of 30 June 2021,” she said.

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