HIAS+JCORE joins more than 65 organisations in calling for the Bibby Stockholm’s urgent closure

Image shows the docked Bibby Stockholm barge, taken from a hillside over looking the sea.

HIAS+JCORE has joined more than 65 organisations in signing an open letter, calling for the urgent closure of the Bibby Stockholm barge. The letter, published in the Guardian on Friday 15th December, followed tragic news that an asylum seeker accommodated on the barge had died in a suspected suicide.

Signed by organisations including Refugee Action, the Refugee Council and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the letter highlights that “for those on board, the Bibby Stockholm feels like a prison… [it] is no place to accommodate people who have fled violence, persecution and torture.”

And calling for people seeking asylum to be housed safely in the community, it concludes by stating that this country “must never again house those who come to our shores seeking safety in such an inappropriate and inhumane place.”

Read the full letter text and list of signatories below, and click here to read coverage of the letter in the Guardian.

Full letter text

Following the suspected suicide of a person seeking asylum on the Bibby Stockholm on Tuesday, we are calling for the immediate closure of the barge.

For those on board, the Bibby Stockholm feels like a prison. It is cramped, restrictive and segregated. The barge is no place to accommodate people who have fled violence, persecution and torture, many of whom are traumatised and isolated. They are unable to get the help and specialist support they need. Their mental health has deteriorated and some have felt suicidal.

While people on board pay an appalling price, the government is paying £22.5m to operate the barge. These funds should be spent on providing people seeking asylum with safe housing in the community.

It is also vital that the government launches an independent inquiry into the death so that lessons are learned and those responsible are held accountable.

This country must never again house those who come to our shores seeking safety in such an inappropriate and inhumane place.


Nicola David, One Life to Live
Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
Enver Solomon, Chief Executive, The Refugee Council
Sophie Wickham, Director, Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL)
Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family
Maya Esslemont, Director, After Exploitation
Gee Manoharan, Co-Director of Policy and Influencing, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID)
Paul Hook, Director, Asylum Matters
Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project
Pierre Maklouf, Legal Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees
Andrew McCarthy, Acting CEO, Bristol Refugee Rights
Yvonne Rendell, Chair, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees.
Eleanor Brown, Managing Director, Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS)
Steve Smith, Chief Executive, Care 4 Calais
Emma Stevenson, Deputy CEO, Choose Love
Thomas Martin, Director, City of Sanctuary Sheffield
Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK
Mauricio Silva, Co-Ordinator Dialogue and Migrant Ministries, Columbans in Britain
Leyla McLennan, Director, Connected Routes CIC
Nathalie Marytsch, Deputy Co-Ordinator, Fatima House, Birmingham
Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
Gisela Renolds, Executive Director, Global Link Lancaster
Traci Kirkand, Head of Charity, Govan Community Project
Kerry Smith, Chief Executive, Helen Bamber Foundation
Rabbi David Mason, Executive Director, HIAS+JCORE
Roger Wilson, Trustee, Hope and Aid Direct
Maddie Harris, Director, Humans for Rights Network
Naima Khan, Director, Inclusive Mosque Initiative
Sarah Teather, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service
Aria Danaparamita, Advocacy Director, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Sheila Rushforth, Director, Journey LGBT+ Asylum Group
Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Rosario Guimba-Stewart, CEO, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network
Ruth Ehrlich, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Liberty
Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation
Lara Parizotto and Alex Bulat, Co-Directors, Migrant Democracy Project
Brian Dikoff, Legal Organiser, Migrants Organise
Fizza Qureshi, CEO, Migrants’ Rights Network
Nazek Ramadan, Director, Migrant Voice
Debbie Royle, Deputy Director, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum
Amos Schonfield, CEO, Our Second Home
Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM
Rob Hooper, Pastor, Oasis Church Edgbaston
Susannah Baker MBE, Trustee and Director, The Pickwell Foundation
Sally Daghlian OBE, CEO, Praxis
Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, Rainbow Migration
Nick Beales, Head of Campaigning, RAMFEL
Tigs Louis-Puttick, Director, Reclaim The Sea
Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, Rene Cassin
Kate Higgins, Chief Operating Officer, RefuAid
Carly Whyborn, Executive Director, Refugees at Home
Jenny Longford, Chair, Refugee Support Devon
Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore (Birmingham Churches Together)
Eiri Ohtani, Director, Right to Remain
Katie Morrison, CEO, Safe Passage
Sabir Zazai, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council
Taz. Mohammed, CEO, Slough Refugee Support
Nikki Walters, Chair, Southampton Action
Mariko Hayashi, Executive Director, Southeast and East Asian Centre
Sara Robinson, Director, St Augustine’s Centre
Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees
Nick Watts, Director, Together with Migrant Children
Professor Bridget Anderson, Migration Mobilities Bristol Director, University of Bristol
Joanne MacInnes, Director, West London Welcome
William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast
Dora-Olivia Vicol, CEO, Work Rights Centre
Paola Uccellari, CEO, Young Roots
Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside
Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam

(Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Image source).