The truth about sexual abuse in a British detention centre

CLARE SAMBROOK 29 October 2013: What is the government really doing to protect immigration detainees from their guards?

In Parliament on Tuesday 15 October, the Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather challenged the government to come clean about a sexual abuse scandal.

Male guards employed by the commercial contractor Serco have, allegedly, been sexually abusing vulnerable women in their care at Yarl’s Wood, the Home Office’s Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire.

Teather, the former families minister, asked: would the Home Secretary ensure that Serco’s reports on the scandal were published? Would the Home Office investigate?

What procedures were there to protect women from sexual assault and harassment? And had the Home Secretary reviewed the policy of detaining women for immigration purposes?

How does the government’s reply stand up to scrutiny? Let’s take it apart. Continue reading

Open Democracy – G4S and other assorted reports

G4S: Securing whose world?

In a privatised children’s prison, a care worker restrained a boy who died; G4S promoted him. After guards killed an asylum-seeker on a plane, G4S was handed a public contract to provide housing for asylum-seekers — they’ve made a mess of that. In a prison van in Australia they baked a man to death.

Welcome to OurKingdom’s investigation into G4S, the security and surveillance people who see democratic uprisings as a business opportunity. They’re running privatised public services worldwide.

Our coverage, led by award-winning reporter Clare Sambrook, has been followed by the BBCThe TimesThe Guardian and the New York Times. Continue reading

House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Immigration Bill 2013-14

The Committee has been announced and the link is below.  We will have to start lobbying the people below so that they are more likely to push for ending indefinite detention. Do you have contact with anyone on the list below?

House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Immigration Bill 2013-14

Here you can browse the record of the public proceedings of the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Immigration Bill.

PROTESTERS MEET IN SADNESS OUTSIDE CAMPSFIELD HOUSE DETENTION CENTRE AT NOON TODAY

PRESS RELEASE – SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 2013

‘What kind of country allows its government to lock up innocent people in a ‘prison’ that even the fire officials say is unsafe?’ where is the UK’s tradition of human rights now?’ says Liz Peretz,Member of the Campaign to Close Campsfield.
In the latest of a series of fires in UK immigration detention centres, two people from Campsfield House, at Kidlington, near Oxford have been hospitalised. This must call our attention, yet again, to the Home Office ‘duty of Care’ towards the people held in Immigration detention in this country. Continue reading

QARN and Destitution

Destitution is created by inequalities, inadequacies and deliberate policy within the asylum system in UK. We will work with this as a core issue, alongside Children in Detention, and Indefinite Detention.

Anxious wait after Evenia is taken to Heathrow

October 25, 2013Family and friends were waiting anxiously last night to find out if Evenia Mawongera had been put on a deportation flight to Zimbabwe.

After months of campaigning to persuade Home Secretary Teresa May to allow her to stay, she was due to board an Ethiopia Airlines flight from Heathrow at 9pm.

Ms Mawongera, 55, who has made Leicester her home and has children and grandchildren here, has been an outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime and fears for her life if she goes back in Zimbabwe. Continue reading

Fire Officers Assoc renews Sprinkler call after Campsfield fire

Press Release – 23.10.2013: The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) has renewed its call for sprinklers to be fitted in high-risk buildings, after a serious fire at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre last night.

Ten fire engines attended the fire at the Kidlington Centre and one casualty was rescued by fire crews, and remains in a critical condition.  One hundred and eighty people were evacuated from the accommodation block where the fire started, and there was substantial damage to the roof and second floor of the building. Campsfield House did not have sprinklers fitted, despite an earlier incident involving the same accommodation block, during which Oxfordshire FRS had strongly recommended their installation. Continue reading

Destitution: Home Affairs Committee – Seventh Report Asylum

Destitution

84.  People in all stages of the asylum system experience destitution:

  • those awaiting a decision if they are unable to access support;
  • those whose appeal rights are currently exhausted but fail to return to their country of origin, who lose all support and are evicted from accommodation 21 days after a final refusal; and
  • those who have been granted leave to remain and therefore have 28 days to leave accommodation, but are unable to access mainstream support because National Insurance numbers, benefits and housing applications are not processed within this time frame.[133] Continue reading

Home Affairs Committee – Seventh Report – Asylum

Terms of Reference

Key Facts

In 2012, there were 21,955 applications for asylum in the UK.

  • As of 19 September 2013, of those 21,955 cases, 18,423 have received an initial decision and 12,632 have been concluded. This means that 3,523 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision.
  • Of the 12, 632 cases that have been concluded 41% (5173) of those cases were granted asylum although 12% (1543) of those 12, 632 cases only received their grant following a successful appeal.[1]
  • In comparison, 180,000 immigrants arrived in the UK for formal study in 2012 and 179,000 immigrants arrived in the UK for work related reasons.[2] Continue reading

Destitution: take action

Take action: Still Human is calling on the Government to give asylum seekers permission to work if they have been waiting for more than six months for their cases to be concluded, or if they have been refused asylum but cannot be returned home through no fault of their own (e.g. because removals have been suspended).

This will prevent vulnerable people being left in a state of limbo for prolonged periods of time, will reduce the burden on the taxpayer and allow a small number of asylum seekers to support themselves and their families while contributing to the economy. Those who are allowed to stay in the UK, will find it much easier to become part of British society if they have been given the chance to work.

Please ask your MP to support this policy. Take action in less than two minutes on 38 Degrees’ website at: www.38degrees.org.uk/permission-to-work

Try and make your letter individual by writing in your own words or using additional information. For more information see the chapter on work in our report At the end of the line. Continue reading