Shut Down All Detention Centres Now!

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Press Release 07/05/2016
Today members of Manchester Migrant Solidarity and many other groups and individuals marched outside Morton Hall in Lincolnshire calling for an end to #detentioncentres. This march is part of a transnational demonstrations that took place simultaneously across the UK and parts of Europe today, 7th May 2016 in solidarity with asylum seekers fleeing war, torture, trafficking, exploitation, forced marriage, honour killing, homophobia, female genital mutilation and migrants that get locked up indefinitely in detention centres in the UK.
The need to shut down all detention centres couldn’t be more needed in the light of this damning report by Nick Hardwick, HM’s Inspectorate on Prisons during an unannounced visit to the centre in August 2015, and found yarl’s wood, a centre of ‘national concern’.

Away from the public eye: self-harm, abuse and trauma. Every year, over 30,000 people – including children – are detained in high-security prisons without adequate access to legal advice, and with poor to non-existent health care provision. Detention centres rarely garner media attention: journalists are not permitted to visit people in detention, and people detained have limited internet access, and no access to cameras, making primary source materials nearly impossible to obtain. However, research reveals the tough conditions:

  • 2,230 attempted suicides in UK detention centres since 2007
  • 26 deaths across the UK detention since 1989
  • Physical and sexual abuse by staff
  • Bullying of LGBT detainees
  • Increase risk for PTSD and mental health disability, particularly for people who suffered persecution in the past.
  • Pregnant women, children, and survivors of torture are detained against the Home Office guidelines

“The detention estate in the UK has been expanding for many years, often run by private companies such as G4S, Serco, and GEO, who profit from the imprisonment of people considered to be “illegal” by governments. Detention centres are rarely discussed in the media or on the street, with the Home Office banning the UN from entry into Yarl’s Wood, but May 7th plans to bring to attention their existence and the dehumanising conditions for people imprisoned within them. Along with constant physical and sexual abuses of detainees by detention staff, there have been 2,230 attempted suicides since 2007 (an all-time high), and 26 deaths across the UK detention estate since 1989 – showing the devastating effects of detention on physical and mental health. Despite claiming not to, the Home Office consistently ignores its own guidelines and detains pregnant women, children, or survivors of torture, all continue to be detained at one point or other. We want to challenge the inaction taken by many organisations and charities, who so often rely on having good working relationships with the government. Read more here.

You can watch the ITV coverage of the Morton Hall demonstration here.

We urge the government to shut down detention centres as they add no value to human rights, morals and beliefs of all well meaning people all over the world.

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