UK's 'Apartheid' policy for asylum seekers?

A suspected housing policy to paint the front doors of asylum seekers' houses red has garnered claims of unofficial apartheid policy.

Raphael Poch ,

Syrian refugee holds passport (illustration)
Syrian refugee holds passport (illustration)

British newspaper The Times revealed that a secret ‘“apartheid” policy has been put in place in the Government-funded asylum accommodation in Middlesbrough, one of England’s poorest towns.

The policy as revealed by the paper is to paint all of the doors in the houses in which Middle Eastern asylum seekers reside in red. The bright red doors have made asylum homes easily identifiable, and have reportedly subjected the asylum seekers to countless attacks and their homes to vandalization. The asylum seekers themselves have “become victims of harassment and abuse,” said the paper.

The red door policy is being compared by some to Nazi Germany’s policy to force all Jews to wear yellow stars so as to easily identify them.

The houses are being managed under the organization by the name of Jomast, a leading British property development, investment and regeneration company that claims residential real estate assets in excess of £250 million.

Jomast is a subsidiary of the international security organization G4S, an organization that has a significant security investment in Israel as well.

The Daily Mail reported that Ian Swales, a former Liberal Democrat MP who lives in the area, said that “the doors were a mark of separation that reminds you of Germany in the 1930s. I thought it was shocking. I assumed the management of G4S would be equally shocked and would do something about it. To find out nearly two years later that nothing’s been done is appalling.”

G4S is run by Stuart Monk, who, according to the report in the Times, is paid millions of pounds per year to house asylum seekers securely. While sources at G4S said that the doors to asylum seeker houses are painted in a variety of colors, Times reporters investigated 66 houses that had red doors, and found that 62 of them housed asylum seekers while two housed previous asylum seekers who have become naturalized citizens, and only two housed born Englishmen.

Homes that have red doors have suffered the smearing of dog excrement on doors, and eggs and stones being thrown at windows, and the residents have been verbally accosted both at home and on the street.

A spokesman for G4S said that the accusations of the door paint suggesting apartheid were “grotesque."

He said that “there is categorically no policy for G4S to house asylum seekers especially in houses painted with red front doors. Our subcontractor Jomast has no policy to paint asylum seeker doors a particular colour, although they do accept that the majority of their doors, for both private and asylum accommodation, are painted red.”

The spokesman went on to add that there have been no complaints to the company from asylum seekers themselves. “Although we have received no complaints or requests on this issue from asylum seekers we house, in light of the concerns raised Jomast has agreed to address the issue by repainting front doors in the area so that there is no predominant colour.”

He added that the accommodations are inspected regularly by the Home Office and have met all the required standards.