Stand Up To Racism protesters demand safe routes and good conditions for refugees (Picture: Alisdare Hickson)

A refugee kept in the notorious Manston processing centre in Kent has died. He was taken to hospital last Friday after becoming unwell and subsequently died last Saturday morning.

He arrived in Britain from Iraq via a small boat across the Channel the previous Saturday.

The Home Office was quick to try to shift blame. A spokesperson claimed there is “no evidence at this stage” to suggest his death was “caused by an infectious disease”.

A post-mortem is currently being carried out—and the Home Office wants to stay silent until then.

“We take the safety and welfare of those in our care extremely seriously and provide 24/7 health facilities with trained medical staff at Manston,” the spokesperson added.

Numerous reports from the hellish processing centre claim otherwise. It is meant to have a capacity of 1,600, and to hold people for a maximum of 48 hours. But Manston had been caging over 4,000 men, women and children for weeks.

Home secretary Suella Braverman is watching on as migrants suffer horrendous conditions. Scabies, diphtheria and other diseases ran rampant. Pregnant and elderly people were denied access to medical care and left to sleep outside underneath big gazebos.

They are forced to cope with freezing winter conditions, without access to washing facilities, a change of clothes or proper food.

Unconfirmed reports received by the Guardian newspaper say that the deceased man contracted sepsis. There are now thought to be 650 people in the centre.

Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest, said, “It feels as if it was only a matter of time before a death like this happened in this completely closed facility.

“An independent investigation is needed.

“Maybe this death will shock people into doing something about the Manston facility.”

It’s not surprising if the horrific conditions at Manston—and the Tories’ wider border policy —were responsible for the man’s death. Many more will suffer until the camps are closed.

Anniversary vigil for the victims of Channel drownings, Thu 24 November, 6pm, Parliament Square, London. Called by Stand Up To Racism, Care4Calais and the TUC

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