THE UK Government’s immigration system “does not respect asylum seekers as human beings”, Scotland’s first refugee councillor has said after hearing about congested conditions at an immigration centre in Kent.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is facing questions over the conditions at the Manston site which Tory MP Sir Roger Gale has branded as “wholly unacceptable”, with reports of asylum seekers testing positive for diphtheria – a highly contagious and potentially serious bacterial infection.

Glasgow councillor Roza Salih, who is from Southern Kurdistan and came to Scotland with her family to seek asylum in 2001, said what asylum seekers are facing is “cruel”, insisting she had not seen any improvement to the immigration system in the UK in the 18 years she’s been campaigning for change.

Salih, who fled her home country after her grandfather and two uncles were executed for opposing the then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, said: “The immigration system does not respect asylum seekers as human beings.

“It’s so racist and xenophobic that they don’t accept them as human beings.

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“Many asylum seekers come from warzone countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria. We already know what’s going on in these countries, it’s not like we don’t know. We know people are suffering. So of course people will be coming and seeking a better life, and we are not even helping these countries at all.

“There’s just a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding, and I think the right-wing absolutely want to make it the migrants’ problem.”

Major concerns about conditions at the Manston facility came to light after incendiary devices were thrown at a Border Force migrant centre in Dover.

The National: Suella Braverman apparently made a decision to stop booking hotels for Manston migrants Suella Braverman apparently made a decision to stop booking hotels for Manston migrants (Image: PA)

Hundreds of people were bussed to Manston as a result and it is understood around 4000 are being held there when it should only hold 1500.

People should only be held at the Manston facility for 24 hours while undergoing checks, before being moved into detention centres of asylum accommodation – but the independence chief inspector of borders and immigration David Neal said last week that he had spoken to a family from Afghanistan who had been living in a marquee there for a month.

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Other families, from Iraq and Syria, had been sleeping on mats on the floor with blankets for weeks. Neal said there was four cases of diphtheria confirmed during a site visit on October 24.

Salih said the attitude the UK Government has towards asylum seekers was leading to members of the public having lack of empathy.

On the situation at Dover, she added: “The conditions are already so bad [at the immigration centres] and then on top of that being attacked is horrendous.

“They’ve risked their lives to come to this country, and many don’t understand how hard it is to seek asylum, to make that decision to leave your home country. Why would you want to do that?

“People complain about people coming through boats, but that is the only way they can come. How would you want them to come? They can’t come legally. It’s just impossible.

“Since I was 15 years old I have been campaigning to improve the asylum system, and it’s got worse.”

It has now emerged Braverman took decisions to stop booking hotels for people being processed at the migration centre in Manston, resulting in thousands of people being detained illegally, according to six current and former senior government sources.

Salih said she found it “hurtful” Braverman could make such an “inhumane” move.

She said: “She doesn’t represent ethnic minorities whatsoever and for me it’s more hurtful when I see an ethnic minority person coming to this country and then implementing these cruel laws. The inhumanity of it is just beyond belief.

“She was fired and now she’s been rehired to do the same job. She’s already breached laws, it’s clear no one cares. The Tories just do what they want.”