Aderonke Apata is a Nigerian activist – an activist for LGBT rights, asylum rights, human rights. Aderonke is a lesbian, which means her life would be in danger if she were forced to return to Nigeria. For this reason, Aderonke claimed asylum in the UK, to be protected to live her life freely and openly with her partner and to carry on fighting for people’s rights.
Growing up in Nigeria, I was unable to disclose my sexuality, yet unable to hide it.
The culture in Nigeria makes it clear that being gay or transgender is a sin, a sentiment that is fueled by homophobic messages from faith communities, political leaders, families, and schools.
I took these messages in, identified with them, and carried the shame of being a lesbian woman in Nigeria. Read more
The UK is the only country in Europe without a time-limit on detention. Migrants can be imprisoned indefinitely, solely for bureaucratic convenience, often for many months and even many years.
Britain has a long tradition of legal protection for civil liberties. This tradition is undermined every day that migrants are detained without time limit. Many people experience long-term damage to their physical and mental health. Their families also experience the distress of separation. Detention without time limit damages the UK’s international reputation for defending human rights.
Souleymane, who has experienced the trauma of indefinite detention, has said that:
In prison, you count the days down [till your release]. In detention, you count the days up.
As Detention Action’s recent report on the State of Detention in the UK shows, the statistics on indefinite detention are disturbing and yet even they do not paint the full picture:
In 2013, 904 migrants left detention after spending more than six months locked up; 237 more were still in detention at the end of the year, suggesting that 1,141 people went past six months in detention during the year. However, these statistics are misleading, as they arbitrarily exclude migrants whom the Home Office chooses to detain in prison, although their legal status is no different. Read more
The current plans are to double the size of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre – IRC. The Home Office and Ministry of Justice are pressing ahead before the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention has made its recommendations, and at a time when the Home Secretary is concerned about conditions in IRCS. There is unanimous opposition locally and across all parties.
Quakers in Oxford signed a joint letter with 20 other organisations expressing concern. Read more
The Joint Committee on Human Rights report on violence against women and girls has been published. The key findings on immigration and asylum are from page 53. Some significant findings include the following (with thanks to Laura):
- women at risk of domestic violence unable to regularise their immigration status are left with the choice of remaining in a violent relationship or being left in destitution;
- screening processes for gender-based asylum claims are inadequate
- the detained fast track has a traumatising effect on asylum seekers who may already be experiencing mental health issues and limits their ability to give a cogent account of their claim;
- there is a ‘culture of disbelief’ which leads to women being less likely than men to receive a correct decision on their asylum claim, although this point is not accepted by the Minister;
- the UK does not have a gender-sensitive interpretation or gender-sensitive reception procedures, e.g. women can be given male interpreters in front of whom they find it difficult to disclose testimonies of sexual violence, and can be housed in mixed accommodation. Read more
Detention can be seen in many ways: through official statistics, legal judgments, monitoring reports, visits to detention centres, or through being detained yourself. This report brings together and reflects on many of these partial perspectives on detention, in order to understand the key problems of the detention system.
We believe that a picture emerges of the state of detention today. It is a picture of a system in crisis. This is a crisis of over-extension.
Detention has expanded too fast, with insufficient checks and scrutiny. Political priorities to detain and deport have overridden practical considerations of effectiveness, as well as basic concern for the people detained. In the words of the Chief Inspector of Prisons, following the death in handcuffs of an elderly man with dementia, “a sense of humanity has been lost.” Read more
Currently single people receive about 50%of the normal income support rate when they receive support from the NASS system. It is arguable that even asylum seekers on NASS support can be defined as destitute, because they cannot meet their basic needs on the amount of support they receive.
- Do you support asylum seekers on NASS support receiving a minimum of 70% of income support rates? Read more
This is the first in a series of posts giving examples of questions that you may want to put to your MP, or at a Hustings. It will be updated as questions come in. The topic for this blog is detention:
People who have been detained for immigration purposes have no idea when they may be released, and some are detained for many months, and sometimes years.
- Would you support a rule that there be a maximum detention time of 28 days for those detained in the immigration detention estate? Read more
A Pakistani man had died overnight at the Amygdaleza detention center in western Athens in a suspected suicide.
“Detention centers – we’re finished with them,” Deputy Interior Minister Yannis Panousis, who is in charge of public order and civil protection, told reporters on Saturday when he visited the center. Read more