PEACEFUL PROTEST inside Harmondsworth IRC NOW – 2 May 2014

Protests taking place NOW inside Harmondsworth Detention Centre

Today 2 May 2014


Presently there is a peaceful protest taking place in one of the
courtyards of Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, near Heathrow
(Europe’s largest migrant detention centre).** Approximately 150 detainees
are occupying the courtyard, sitting down in protest of the fast-track
asylum system in which individuals claiming asylum are placed immediately
in detention and held whilst their asylum cases are processed. Protesters
are refusing to eat and to move. Security has started taking the ID cards
from each individual involved in this peaceful sit down protest.

The demands of detainees are as follows:

– To be taken off the fast track system which is viewed as unfair

– To not be being treated as criminals by being locked up

– For communications with lawyers to stop being interfered with (claims
that faxes are often not received and letters to lawyers not sent by
detention staff are being made).

-Access to adequate legal representation

Detainees have expressed the following sentiments:

Detainee 1 ‘we don’t even know the meaning of fast track; they give us an
interview today and decide tomorrow, it is not fair’
‘some people have gone back to their countries and been killed’
‘we are expecting letters from lawyers but don’t receive letters; we send
letters and they don’t go out’
‘people need help, no one is going to eat food, no one is going for visits’
‘they are treating us like criminals in here’

Detainee 2
‘our point of view is this one, we are all put on fast track and have no
proper time; just one day before we get decision then they finish our case
within 5-6 days’
(talking about appeals and decisions)

‘we are not given time to get evidence if someone wants to save their life
that’s why they come here…’
‘there is no time to prepare a case and we have to find all our
own evidence’
‘80% of people in here have no solicitor’
‘they consider everyone the same, there is no proper time to make a claim,
if someone needs evidence from their country it is not possible in 1 0r 2
days to get this’
‘judges give decisions of appeals in the same day as they are heard’
‘99% of cases on fast track are refused’

Detainee 3
‘we are scared what will happen now, they are taking our IDs; they are
taking us away 5 or 6 at a time’
‘we don’t know each other but we are all suffering in the same way’
‘there are about 150 of us sitting here’

For further information please contact Jasmine at the Unity Centre on
07448617766. We can also pass on contacts of detainees who can speak on
the phone.

for further background on Harmondsworth see: