UK refugees no longer obliged to wear wrist bands

Asylum seekers in Cardiff, Wales not obligated to wear wristbands to request food

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees at a UK refugee centre in Cardiff, Wales are no longer obligated to wear wristbands to claim food, as they were previously required to.

Clearsprings Ready Homes, which currently houses the refugees on behalf of the British government, put into effect a system that obligated refugees to wear a colourful wristband to specify their meals.

This system was put into effect May of last year. 

"As in numerous such establishments where large numbers of people are being provided with services, wristbands are considered to be one of the most reliable and effective ways of guaranteeing delivery," the company stated commenting on the issue.

The company agreed to drop the policy after the wristbands resulted in a negative reaction from several British government officials, as well as campaigners.

"We are always reviewing the way we supply our services and have decided to cease the use of wristbands," the company said.

Many refugees complained, stating that ever since the policy was put into effect, they had been targeted and abused by local residents.

"Sometimes drivers would see our wristbands, start honking their horns and shout out of the window, 'Go back to your country,'" 36-year-old refugee Eric Ngalle who spent a month at the centre, said.

"If you take off the wristband you can't reseal it back onto your wrist so if you want to eat you have to wear it all the time," he added.

The practice at the Lynx House centre was brought to the public by a report at the Guardian newspaper followed by an outcry by campaigners.

"It harks back to the Nazi regime with people being forced to wear a Star of David and stand out," said Hannah Wharf, policy officer of the Welsh Refugee Council.

"It's absolutely appalling, it is treating people like lesser beings. It is treating them like animals lining up to feed."

Refugees in Northern England also stated that on several occasions their doors were painted red in order to identify them.

TRTWorld and agencies