Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2001: Asylum seekers go on hunger strike over appalling conditions in Landmark flats

On 11th June 2001, asylum seekers began a hunger strike against the conditions they faced in flats owned by the Liverpool Landmark company.

The government had contracted Liverpool Landmark to provide accommodation to six hundred asylum seekers, who they housed in two Everton Park tower blocks. The company had bought the tower blocks from Liverpool City Council, after they had deemed them 'unfit' for tenants. So this was perfect for Liverpool Landmark: they had purchased the towers at literally a knock-down price, and won a government contract to put asylum seekers in these appalling conditions.

The mainly Kurdish asylum seekers had faced terrible hardship and repression in their states of origin, but many were skilled in political organising. Support from local campaigners saw media interest grow, and following a fire on the top floor, the police and fire brigade used their influence to make the government close the flats and rehouse the asylum seekers. A small victory had been won, but the systemic problems remain.
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