Wristband row leads to apartheid accusations in Cardiff

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© MarkHutchings1/Twitter

NEWLY ARRIVED migrants and refugees residing in Cardiff have complained after being forced to wear coloured wristbands by the government contractors managing their accommodation. 

Following allegations of an ‘apartheid’ situation developing in the UK town of Middlesbrough after security firm G4S housed a group of asylum seekers in homes with red doors, UK press reports on January 24 reveal that the migrants and refugees in temporary accommodation in Cardiff have been similarly discriminated against. 

Private-firm Clearspring Ready Homes, contracted by the Home Office, apparently warned residents of the former-guesthouse-turned-refugee-shelter Lynx House that failure to wear the wristband would result in them losing their right to have three free meals a day. 

One former resident, at the so-called ‘initial accommodation’ writer Eric Ngalle, 36, told reporters his time in Lynx House was ‘one of the most horrible’ of his life. 

He claims those asylum seekers accommodated there were also warned that the Home Office would be informed when the bands, which Mr Ngalle refers to as the ‘garments of an outcast’, weren’t worn. 

Others who have passed through Lynx House have also come forward to express their dismay at being publically marked out. Maher, 41 was a Lynx House resident before being granted refugee status. He described his anger and shame at being made to feel he had to ‘hide the band’ when out in public because local people would ‘know who we are and where we live.’

A spokesperson for Clearspring Ready Homes confirmed that the controversial system had been in place since 2015 because of an upturn in the ‘volumes of people in initial accommodation sites, including Cardiff.’ 

The private firm insisted that wristbands form part of an identification system for those staff issuing meals to the migrants staying in full-board accommodation.  The offending wristband is said to bear ‘no other logo or text identifying its use or origin.’

A tweet by local MP Jo Stevens, on January 25, has since clarified that Clearspring Ready Homes will no longer insist that their Cardiff residents need to wear wristbands to get their meals. 

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