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Refugee Action joins more than 65 organisations to call for closure of Bibby Stockholm

By December 16, 2023Press release

Refugee Action has joined more than 65 other organisations to call for the closure of the Bibby Stockholm, a de-facto prison boat housing people seeking asylum.

The call, published in a letter to the Guardian newspaper on Friday December 11, follows the tragic death of a person on the barge last week.

The letter read:

Dear Guardian Letters,

Following the suspected suicide of a person seeking asylum on the Bibby Stockholm on Tuesday (Growing despair of asylum seekers on Bibby Stockholm over living conditions, Dec 13) we are calling for the immediate closure of the barge.

For those on board, the Bibby Stockholm feels like a prison. It is cramped, restrictive and segregated.

The barge is no place to accommodate people who have fled violence, persecution, and torture, many of whom are traumatised and isolated. They are unable to get the help and specialist support they need. Their mental health has deteriorated and some have felt suicidal.

While people on board pay an appalling price, the government is paying £22.5 million to operate the barge. These funds should be spent on providing people seeking asylum safe housing in the community.

It is also vital the Government launches an independent inquiry into the death so that lessons are learned and those responsible are held accountable.

This country must never again house those who come to our shores seeking safety in such an inappropriate and inhumane place.


Nicola David, One Life to Live

Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action

Enver Solomon, Chief Executive, The Refugee Council

Sophie Wickham, Director, Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL)

Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family

Maya Esslemont, Director, After Exploitation

Gee Manoharan, Co-Director of Policy and Influencing, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)

Paul Hook, Director, Asylum Matters

Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project

Pierre Maklouf, Legal Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees

Andrew McCarthy, Acting CEO, Bristol Refugee Rights

Yvonne Rendell, Chair, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees.

Eleanor Brown, Managing Director, Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)

Steve Smith, Chief Executive, Care 4 Calais

Emma Stevenson, Deputy CEO, Choose Love

Thomas Martin, Director, City of Sanctuary Sheffield

Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK

Mauricio Silva, Co-Ordinator Dialogue and Migrant Ministries, Columbans in Britain

Leyla McLennan, Director, Connected Routes CIC

Nathalie Marytsch, Deputy Co-Ordinator, Fatima House, Birmingham

Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture

Gisela Renolds, Executive Director, Global Link Lancaster

Traci Kirkand, Head of Charity, Govan Community Project

Kerry Smith, Chief Executive, Helen Bamber Foundation

Rabbi David Mason, Executive Director, HIAS+JCORE 

Roger Wilson, Trustee, Hope and Aid Direct

Maddie Harris, Director, Humans for Rights Network 

Naima Khan, Director, Inclusive Mosque Initiative

Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service

Aria Danaparamita, Advocacy Director, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)

Sheila Rushforth, Director, Journey LGBT+ Asylum Group

Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service 

Rosario Guimba-Stewart, CEO, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

Ruth Ehrlich, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Liberty

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Lara Parizotto and Alex Bulat, Co-Directors, Migrant Democracy Project

Brian Dikoff, Legal Organiser, Migrants Organise

Fizza Qureshi, CEO, Migrants’ Rights Network

Nazek Ramadan, Director, Migrant Voice

Debbie Royle, Deputy Director, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum

Amos Schonfield, CEO, Our Second Home

Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM

Rob Hooper, Pastor, Oasis Church Edgbaston

Susannah Baker MBE, Trustee and Director, The Pickwell Foundation

Sally Daghlian OBE, CEO, Praxis

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, Rainbow Migration

Nick Beales, Head of Campaigning, RAMFEL

Tigs Louis-Puttick, Director, Reclaim The Sea 

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, Rene Cassin

Kate Higgins, Chief Operating Officer, RefuAid

Carly Whyborn, Executive Director, Refugees at Home

Jenny Longford, Chair, Refugee Support Devon

Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore (Birmingham Churches Together)

Eiri Ohtani, Director, Right to Remain

Katie Morrison, CEO, Safe Passage 

Sabir Zazai, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council

Taz. Mohammed, CEO, Slough Refugee Support

Nikki Walters, Chair, Southampton Action

Mariko Hayashi, Executive Director, Southeast and East Asian Centre 

Sara Robinson, Director, St Augustine’s Centre

Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees

Nick Watts, Director, Together with Migrant Children

Professor Bridget Anderson, Migration Mobilities Bristol Director, University of Bristol

Joanne MacInnes, Director, West London Welcome

William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast

Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO, Work Rights Centre

Paola Uccellari, CEO, Young Roots

Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East

Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside

Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam