Now 4 detention centres stage protests – demand freedom
Video made from demonstration outside Harmondsworth IRC on Monday 5 May 2014
Asylum-seekers detained at four sites across the UK are staging protests and hunger strikes this week. Home Office retaliations have failed to stop the unrest spreading to more detention centres.
50 migrants detained at Campsfield in Oxfordshire joined the wave of protest yesterday morning and went on hunger-strike.
In a recording posted on YouTube, a spokesman for the Campsfield detainees said they were “being pushed against a wall”, and that their hunger-strike was a “last resort”.
The spokesman said the detainees were not criminals and had not come to the UK for benefits.
Most of them have fled killings in their own countries and came to Britain to save their lives or be with close relatives.
“Our demand is quite simple. We want our freedom. We want our life with dignity. We do not want to be treated in an inhumane way. So that’s why we’re demanding for the closure of all detention centres for immigrants in the UK.”
Campsfield hunger-striker, 7th May 2014
The spokesman said detainees at Campsfield were unable to see doctors, and blamed “security industry giants” for these types of detention centres.
He cited a specific incident from the 1st May when an immigration officer had threatened a Pashto-speaking detainee with solitary confinement unless the man signed a ‘voluntary’ deportation form.
Supporters from the Campaign to Close Campsfield will rally outside the detention centre this evening. Campsfield is run by the FTSE 250 outsourcing company Mitie for the Home Office.
On Tuesday, 20 men detained at Brook House near Gatwick Airport staged an all-night protest in the centre’s exercise yard. The detainees refused to return to their cells and slept outside.
At 11am on Wednesday, the guards placed 16 of the men in solitary confinement, according to Unity caseworker Jasmine Sallis who is in direct contact with several detainees. She says they remain in isolation and cannot contact other detainees.
Immigration staff at the Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres by Heathrow Airport continue to issue deportation orders to men who have staged a series of hunger-strikes there since Friday.
Unity believes the number of detainees targeted for politically motivated deportations after the Colnbrook protest stands at over 50 men.
The Home Office has broken its promise to negotiate with over 150 detainees who staged a mass sit-down protest in the Harmondsworth courtyard on Friday 2 May 2014. Detainees are being interrogated individually about why they signed a petition demanding better treatment.
Local MP John McDonnell has scheduled an Early Day Motion expressing “concern at the reports of a major demonstration undertaken by detainees at Harmondsworth detention centre to highlight their plight on the Government’s fast track procedure for asylum seekers and the lack of facilities to assist in pursuing their appeals, including access to legal advice and means of communication with their legal representatives; and urges the Home Secretary to commission an independent review of the grievances raised by the detainees with the aim of resolving this dispute.”