Yarls Wood detainees forced to use O2 phone service

New detainees arriving at Yarl’s Wood immigration prison, run by outsourcing giant Serco, are being given new mobile phones locked to O2 SIM cards with the back covers glued on so that no other SIM cards can be used, Corporate Watch can reveal. The new system, criticised by campaigners for isolating, monitoring and exploiting detainees even further, follows a similar scheme introduced by G4S in Tinsley House, near Gatwick airport. Continue reading

No plans to adopt a maximum time limit for immigration detention

Damian Green says in a letter replying to a question put to an MP:

‘There are no plans to adopt a maximum time limit for immigration detention. This would be out of step with long-standing UK law and policy and goes beyond the requirements of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.’

We had hoped for changes that would affect the length of detention for those in the immigration system,  and this may still come through the Judges who have decision-making authority when a bail application comes before them. See: Immigration Bail Hearings: A Travesty of Justice? Observations from the Public  Gallery, Campaign to Close Campsfield, March 2011.  http://closecampsfield.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ccc-bop-report-low-res.pdf.

A default position was not mentioned in Damian Green’s letter. It looks as though we have some way to go with this campaign, and QARN as a network seeks to make connections with other campaigning organisations so that we can work collaboratively.

29.9.2011

Selling the state: the ‘unethical’ companies taking over UK public services

The companies managing UK immigration have come in for criticism once again, in new research — ‘Is that what you call good service?’ — by pressure group Ethical Consumer.

The report scrutinises the environmental and ethical records of twenty of the companies now profiting from the privatisation of public services — including health, education, care and justice — and rates them among the UK’s most unethical. Companies entrusted with the care of asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors and families with young children, are among the very worst. Continue reading

In Nick Clegg’s fantasy world, child detention in the UK has ended

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told his fellow Liberal Democrats at the party’s conference in Birmingham to “hold your heads up and look our critics squarely in the eye”.

Among the many things that Liberal Democrats can be proud of when squaring up to their critics,Clegg told delegates, was that child detention has “ended”. Continue reading

Briefing on Immigration Detention of Children September 2011

Despite having committed to ending the immigration detention of children in May last year, the Government opened a new family detention facility in Crawley, Sussex in September 2011. This centre is described by the Government as ‘Pre-departure Accommodation’. However, the centre is secure and has areas where families and individuals can be held in isolation. Families will be detained there under Immigration Act powers. It will be run as an offshoot of the nearby Tinsley House detention centre and inspected by the Chief Inspector of Prisons. Continue reading

Man’s inhumanity to man: why and how the UK asylum system must change

Studies over the past ten years consistently demonstrate the callous disregard for human rights and human dignity that accompanies asylum seekers who are being removed from the UK. Medical Justice, Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture — now called Freedom from Torture— have reported on research that shows brutal physical violence and traumatized and ill-treated children. The UK Border Agency (UKBA), responsible for removals, has from time to time claimed to improve their systems, but the abuses continue, as this month’s reports by HM Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, confirm. Continue reading

Making Asylum Claims 2

The August 2011 “Making Asylum Claims” information sheet provides information about how an  asylum claim may be made by someone in the UK. It includes information about the telephone appointment system operated by the UK Border Agency – including the telephone number to make an appointment, and the hours during which that number is answered.
This information sheet gives further information about the telephone appointment system. In particular, it sets out the information that the UK Border Agency may ask for if someone telephones to make an appointment to make an asylum claim. If the UK Border Agency wishes to ask these questions, it can be asked to phone the caller back and to get an interpreter. Continue reading

UKBA fails to act in accordance with its own procedures: Lydia and Bernard

RAPAR: the Manchester-based Human Rights Organisation: LYDIA AND BERNARD MUST STAY CAMPAIGN

LAWYERS TO APPLY FOR INJUNCTION TO STOP DEPORTATION OF LYDIA BESONG AND BERNARD BATEY ON SATURDAY – DECISION ON CASE TAKEN THREE WEEKS AGO BUT COUPLE NOT TOLD UNTIL MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th. 

Veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell and “Billy Elliot” creator Lee Hall join hundreds of supporters throughout the UK who have written protest letters to Home Secretary this week.

Lawyers for Cameroon playwright Lydia Besong and her husband Bernard Batey will seek an injunction tomorrow to stop the deportation of the couple from the UK on Saturday. Continue reading

QARN: Statement on Indefinite Detention of migrants and people seeking asylum

Statement on Indefinite Detention of migrants and people seeking asylum

As Quakers we believe that there is that of God in everyone. We see the Testimony to Equality as clearly relevant to our concerns about those migrants and asylum seekers who are kept in detention. They are treated much worse than those born British.

Public outrage – and indifference

The right to liberty is a fundamental right enjoyed by all people in the United Kingdom, whether British citizens or subject to immigration control. It is a right established in common law as well as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Recent anti-terror legislation that allows for terror suspects to be locked up without being charged has been controversial. The time limit has now been reduced to 14 days. There has justifiably been an outcry about this situation. However, thousands of people are kept every year in detention by the UK Borders Agency with no date set for their release, yet there is no public outrage about this.

The Immigration Act 1971 first included the power to detain immigrants; later legislation has extended or amended that power. People can be detained on arrival in the UK as immigrants or when seeking asylum, if considered likely to abscond, or when they have already been refused the right to remain and deportation is expected to be imminent.[1]

 Immigration officers decide

The decision to detain is made by immigration officers without reference to a court. In theory each detainee has the right to apply for bail after 7 days, but many people are unaware of this procedure and find it difficult to access legal advice. The immigration court ‘judges’ do not have to be trained or experienced to the level of judges in the criminal and civil courts, inadequate records are kept, and in many cases the Home Office view that the applicant is likely to abscond is accepted without evidence.[2]

In theory it is Government policy not to detain survivors of torture or those with serious medical conditions or mental health problems, but in practice even proven survivors of rape and torture, pregnant women, and those with severe mental and physical health problems are often found in detention. Many innocent men, women and children who have been locked up in immigration detention centres have suffered severe mental health problems, with detention in many cases adding to trauma already suffered in their home country. [3]

Our Objective:

 ‘That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right’ 1822   QF&P 23.26

 We call for the ending of indefinite detention, which is fundamentally unjust and causes much suffering to its victims.

Website: http://qarn.org.uk

See also: Detention Action http://www.detentionaction.org.uk

 


[1] In practice there can be numerous delays or an indefinite wait, and often eventual release

[2] Immigration Bail Hearings: A Travesty of Justice? (2011) http://www.closecampsfield.wordpress.com