Afghan Refugees in UK Left Without Essentials

Afghan Refugees in UK Left Without Essentials
Source: MoD/Reuters

Elia Duran-Smith

Europe & Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

In a demand for the government to do more to help Afghan refugees, the Refugee Council, a British charity, said on the 8th of September that a significant number of Afghan refugees in the UK have no access to essential items such as toothpaste, sanitary towels, nappies and medicines while being housed in temporary quarantine hotels. These hotels do not supply these items and the refugees themselves cannot afford to buy them. The refugees are also being held in quarantine twice as long as the 10 days mandated by the government. They also have little access to fresh air and time outside, with some families only being able to go outside for 15 minutes a day, which some have called worse than prison conditions as they are allowed outside for an hour a day.

Additionally, several Labour opposition MPs warned that many Afghan refugees are likely to face homelessness and destitution because of the Home Office’s lack of coordination in securing permanent housing and effective communication with local councils. Peter Barnett, lead officer of refugee resettlement at Coventry Council said that the council had had permanent accommodation ready to house around 30 Afghan refugees for weeks but lack of communication from the Home Office meant they couldn’t move families in. Since the arrival of 8000 Afghan refugees, only 2000 of them have so far been allocated permanent housing. Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council has stated that many Afghan families will likely be housed in bridging hotels for the months to come.


 Allegretti, A., Murray, J., & Gentleman, A. (2021, September 14). Afghan refugees in UK quarantine hotels treated like ‘prisoners.’ The Guardian.

Bulman, M. (2021, September 8). Warm welcome? Afghan refugees arriving in UK left without toothpaste, nappies or medicines, charity warns. The Independent. 

Hewett, A. (2021, September 7). Refugee Council urges government to do more to support Afghans fleeing persecution. Refugee Council.

McVeigh, K. (2021, September 20). Afghan evacuees in UK face homelessness and destitution, MPs say. The Guardian.