A cruise ship would serve as a “floating prison,” according to the council.

According to the mayor of Edinburgh, the Home Office’s intention to utilise a cruise ship in Leith to house asylum seekers will turn the boat into a floating prison.

According to Cammy Day, the city council was not contacted before plans to load asylum seekers onto the MS Victoria were made. More than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees had previously resided on board; the last of them is scheduled to depart on July 11. According to the Home Office, it is required by law to “provide accommodation for asylum seekers.” According to Mr. Day, there could be “severe” repercussions for the city and pressure on the services.

The Home Office, on the other hand, reportedly approached the City of Edinburgh Council about their plans to re-commission the ship to host asylum seekers.

On Thursday, council leaders sent a letter to the UK government pleading with them to provide more information about their intentions and to provide “adequate reassurances” that it won’t turn into a “floating prison” for refugees.

The port operator turned down plans for a massive cruise ship to shelter asylum seekers close to Liverpool, thus the plans have been abandoned.

The U-turn, according to the Home Office, is the result of a “significant rise in illegal, unnecessary, and dangerous Channel crossings.” The letter from the council states, “Over the last year and a half, we have demonstrated solidarity with and support for thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have escaped Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine, as well as for Syrian, Afghani, and most recently, Sudanese refugees.

Fortunately, the majority of us will never go through the atrocities these communities have, and we are nevertheless steadfastly devoted to helping them in any manner we can.

When the Scottish Government decided to discontinue utilising the MS Victoria next month, Ukrainian refugees continued to board it, so we were very surprised to learn from the Ministry of Home Affairs that it planned to commission the ship to house asylum seekers.

The letter’s conclusion said, “Many of these people sacrificed their lives in order to get to Europe; whatever they require is acknowledgment and freedom rather than an uncertain future lacking the assistance they so desperately need.”

Although the MS Victoria has given refuge to numerous Ukrainian families who have arrived in Edinburgh, we cannot allow it to become a floating prison for asylum seekers until we have received sufficient assurances from the UK Government about the welfare and ongoing engagement and support.

According to a Home Office spokesperson, the Home Office is required by law to provide housing for asylum seekers who would otherwise be homeless while we review their claims.

Our asylum system is under tremendous strain as a result of the sharp rise in unauthorised, unnecessary, and deadly Channel crossings, and it is yet necessary to house some asylum seekers in hotels.

When locations are used to house asylum seekers, we are devoted to doing everything in our power to minimise the use of hotels and keep in touch with local authorities as soon as is practical.

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