Archive | March, 2010

Benjamin update

10 Mar

Thanks to all who have sent letters/ emailed/phoned/faxed in solidarity with Benjamin!
Benjamin didn’t fly this morning, and a judicial review of his case has been granted by the court.
This is good news, but Benjamin is still in detention and more action may be needed to get him released and home to Glasgow, so keep an eye out for updates.

Solidarity with Yarl’s Wood women

8 Mar

On Saturday 6 March, a huge banner was dropped from the rooftops of the busy Eldon Square shopping centre, in the centre of Newcastle. A group of Newcastle residents, part of the No Borders network, went to great heights to show their solidarity with the women detainees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre, who have been on hunger strike since 5th February 2010. The hunger strike, which initially involved some 84 women, was sparked by detainees demanding the end of the humiliating and unjust detention of migrants who seek refuge in Britain. Since their strike began, the women have endured further violence and mistreatment.

The Newcastle protestors were demanding the immediate release of the Yarl’s Wood women and an end to the unjust, arbitrary detention regime. They began their protest on the roof of Eldon Square, creating a spectacular sight for passing shoppers, while leaflets were handed out in the square below. Members of the public were shocked to hear about the treatment of the women, which has had surprisingly little press coverage. However, the protestors were moved on by heavy-handed security. They continued their protest within the shopping centre, but until being forcibly moved by four security guards.

Similar protests have taken place around the country since the hunger strikes began, as people speak out against the abominable practices of Immigration officials, and private companies such as Serco which are making profits out of the misery of migrants. Every year, thousands of innocent people, including torture and rape survivors, people with serious illnesses and over 2,000 children, are detained arbitrarily and indefinitely in detention centers across the UK, for the sole reason that they do not have the correct papers. Without access to legal representation or automatic right to bail, migrants are criminalized, further traumatized and imprisoned though they have committed no crime and have been sentenced without trial.

Migration is not a crime!

The demands of the hungerstrikers are online at
More background on Yarl’s Wood at

Fast Tracking: Human Rights abusing detention system update

3 Mar

In relation to the ongoing situation at Yarl’s wood there have been some developments this month that are relevant. There is a post on the Blog about it last week under Detention, Human Rights: The government. This is to expand upon these important developments.

Firstly there was a Human Rights Watch report about the fast track process failing women who’ve subject to things like rape, slavery, the threat of ‘honor killings,’ and who are suffering trauma as a result. This report has lots of information in it about the brutal nature of fast tracking.

Secondly, the Council of Europe recently criticised detention practises in Europe as a whole, including the UK, citing the lack of real legal foundation for arbitrarily detaining people as they claim asylum.

Lastly, the UK is not participating in the upcoming amendment of the Eu Receptions Directive specifically because it would interfere with Fast Tracking people out of the UK.

There’s links to all of these on the previous blog entry: Human Rights, Detention: The Government.

The last point is really important because the reasons the Receptions Directive (laying down minimum standards for receiving asylum seekers) is being amended is because it is not binding enough and governments have too much discretion to miss it’s standards – leading exactly to things like fast tracking which abuse human rights.

Basically, this means that the government knows that Yarl’s Wood and the other Fast Track removal centres will not meet the amended human rights standards, and this is why they won’t enter into the more binding directive. Deciding cases quickly and deporting people to meet politically useful targets is more important to them than human rights standards for asylum seekers.

This is compounded by evidence in the Human Rights watch report saying that the fast track system fails the most vulnerable because they don’t have enough time to build trust and properly recount the traumatic events which form the most important part of their claims for asylum. This is because the treatment is too harsh, confusing, fast and they are traumatised. So essentially the Fast Track process prey’s upon the most vulnerable, the people who are the least able to represent themselves and who need protection the most in order to meet their removal targets! Essentially they are bullied and hustled out of the country and denied protection.

This is totally shocking behaviour. Perhaps it is what Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead means by ‘the sort of asylum claims that are capable of being decided quickly’.

The reason that the Receptions Directive Amendment Opt-out is so important is because it shows up the government’s hypocrisy in only entering the non-binding directive. It makes them look good and justifies their Immigration regime but it also means that the government can carry on operating the abusive Fast Track system, of which Yarl’s wood is a part.

Suggested actions: Protest to Phil Woolas and Contact your local MP ( ask what they intend to do as your representative. Demand that they enter the Amended Directive and stop running a target driven removals process which abuses human rights and puts the most vulnerable people in danger. Contact the press with the same. Tell your friends. Get involved in NoBorders: Next meeting is next Monday, the 8th @ the Star and Shadow Cinema, 7 pm.

Yarl’s Wood: Update

2 Mar

The struggle against the UK’s immigration detention system is gathering pace.

Read the full update at: