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Recent news reports have uncovered a sinister practice apparently carried out to make asylum seekers‘ homes readily identifiable to the public.

The Times identified 168 houses in one of Middlesborough’s poorest areas and discovered 155 had red doors. The homes have since been targeted because their doors have been painted red by a G4S-affiliated property developer called Jomast.

G4S is the outsourcing company contracted by the home office to provide shelter for asylum seekers.


Jomast and G4S denied that only asylum-seekers had their doors painted red but the case is now being reviewed by the Home Office.

The Times reported that asylum seekers at one house felt so stigmatised that they painted their door white, but it was repainted red after a Jomast employee visited and said it was “against company policy”.

Shadow transport minister and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said the practice “reminds you of Germany in the 1930s“.

Although Godwin’s Law (which states that if an online discussion endures for long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism) is inevitable, McDonald’s comparison is an apt one.

Public pressure has resulted in the re-painting of some of these doors, but this matter has been a live issue for over 4 years – only recently hitting the headlines due to the increased level of vandalism and terror wreaked on the residents of these homes.

What beggars belief is that companies such as G4S and Serco remain on the Government’s preferred providers list. It’s largely a rhetorical question by now, but why is G4S continually awarded government contracts? A brief review of their blunders in recent years must surely render G4S a very poor prospect.

Or is this yet another symptom of life in Cameron’s Britain – the fractured, disillusioned, self-serving society begat of successive career politicians and a wilful disengagement with the populace?

Not only has there been a moral failing here, but from a legal perspective it would appear that a civil wrong has been inflicted on the families who have been singled out in this way.

From the information available it seems as if there is a strong case for compensation under European legislation – specifically Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the private life of individuals against arbitrary interference by public authorities and private organisations.

No doubt the families will be taking legal advice, but if this happened in Scotland Thompsons wouldn't hesitate taking action through the courts.

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