Archive | Solidarity Campaigns RSS feed for this section

Benjamin Update- Flight Stopped and other news

4 Aug

Some good news – Benjamin’s flight has been stopped!

Thanks to everyone who called, faxed and emailed about his scheduled removal to Greece and about his medical care.

This afternoon, the courts in Scotland issued a court order to prevent the Home Office from forcibly sending him to Greece tomorrow (Wednesday 4 August). This is the second time his removal from the UK has been stopped. A judicial review of his case is now pending.

Lots of groups and individuals have been getting in touch with Benjamin to offer support and solidarity, and he sends his best wishes to everyone. He’s hoping to get out of detention and back to Glasgow soon.


Other news – in Campsfield immigration prison, there are currently 140+ people on hunger strike. See for the statement released by the detainees and how you can support them.

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

Yarl’s Wood: Update

2 Mar

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

Read the full update at:

Detention, Human Rights: The Government

25 Feb

Probably everyone is aware of what is happening at Yarl’s Wood. This month there have been 3 other developments in the use of Detention in the UK which highlight our Governments attitude towards it.

Firstly, there was a Council of Europe resolution of 28th Jan this year which criticises the overpopulation of detention centres, and the deterioration of conditions and safeguards for asylum seekers and irregular migrants. It also criticised the lack of fair access to legal support created by detention

more at

Secondly, on the 2 days ago February 23rd, ‘Human Rights Watch’ issued a report under the heading UK: ‘Fast Track’ Asylum System Fails Women

‘The ‘detained fast track’ system doesn’t meet even the basic standards of fairness. It is simply not equipped to handle rape, slavery, the threat of ‘honor killings,’ or other complex claims, and yet such cases are handed to it regularly.’

read the report at:

In fact, as noted by Alasdair Mackenzie of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association: ‘The process rushes a person through the decision-making process without time to gather the necessary evidence’.

So here are 2 pretty mainstream organisations directly criticising the UKs detention programme. Specifically the fast track system and specifically it’s effect upon women.

In particular Human Rights Watch focuses upon the effect of detention upon the vulnerable and the traumatised (the last people we should be denying protection to). When people are fast-tracked they are not provided with the time or the conditions they need to build trust and discuss their major experiences of persecution. And so their claims are often missing the most important bit.

Essentially they are silenced by the violent nature of detention, rushed through a complicated legal process and ejected as quickly as possible from the country. And we are asked to believe that this is ‘firm but fair’ decision making.

So what is the UK government response? To these reports, to the many other criticisms, to the hunger strikers at Yarl’s wood who are resisting this violence by starving themselves until enough people decide that this is an outrage?


The Home Office is to opt out of a European directive which lays down minimum standards for the treatment of asylum seekers. A directive which exists ‘to ensure that the applicants have a dignified standard of living’.

And we will be opting out because…

‘That would stop us operating our existing detained fast-track system, which provides fast and fair decisions on the applicants who go through it. It is an excellent way of managing the sort of asylum claims that are capable of being decided quickly.’

Yarl’s Wood

23 Feb

What is really going on at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre? Why are 50 women detainees on hunger strike? The report the UK Border Agency does NOT want you to see.

Burn the Border! Freedom for the Vincennes 10!

11 Jan

January 25th, 26th and 27th 2010: trial of the revolt that set the detention centre of Vincennes on fire. Action Week, January 16th to 24th 2010.

The revolt, which led to the fire that destroyed the largest prison for foreigners in France, is a concrete and historical response to the existence of detention centres and to the whole of the policy of control of the migratory flows.

On January 25th, 26th and 27th, ten persons will be tried for this revolt by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris (a court which tries misdemeanours).

Our solidarity has to be at the height of the stake: the acquittal of the accused and beyond that, freedom of movement and installation.

The largest detention centre in France burnt on June 22nd 2008. From June 2008 to June 2009, some ten former detainees have been arrested and imprisoned – most of them for nearly one year – in preventive jail. They are charged with “damage”, “voluntary destruction of the buildings of the Vincennes administrative detention centre”, and/or “aggression in band against a police officer, without causing an incapacity of work for more than eight days”.

Movements of protest of the locked up sans-papiers have taken place ceaselessly during the six months before the fire. Hunger strikes, beginnings of fires, refusing to be counted, and individual or collective oppositions followed each other during this period. Outside, demonstrations and actions exposed the very existence of these centres and support the revolts.

On June 21st 2008, Salem Souli died in his room after he had asked in vain for medical care. The next day the detainees organized a march in his memory, which was violently repressed. A collective revolt followed and the detention centre was reduced to ashes.

A trial for the example
To prevent this type of revolt from spreading, the State must strike hard, it has to find culprits. Ten persons were arrested to serve as examples. We do not care whether they are “culprit” or “innocent”. By the punishment of these persons, the State wishes to make disappear revolts, denials of submission, and acts of resistance from the part of those who are, or will be in the future, between the walls of these centres. The Vincennes revolt is not isolated. Wherever are detention centres, revolts will spring up, fires will start, flights, hunger strikes, mutinies, and destructions will take place. It has been so in France (centres were burnt in Nantes, Bordeaux, and Toulouse), and in many European countries (Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain) or in countries to which border control is outsourced such as Turkey and Libya.

The fire at the Vincennes detention centre is not only a symbol: as an immediate consequence of the disappearance of its capacity for 280 people, rounding up and deportations greatly decreased in the Paris region during the following period. Concretely, arrests were avoided by the thousands. This act of the detainees has put out of order for a while the deportation machine.


info from

Jump the Channel!

24 Nov

from Calais Migrant Solidarity:

Transnational protest against the border regime! Whatever side of the channel you live on, join us on Saturday! Protest outside the ‘Joint Centre for Intelligence’ Bouverie House, (Folkstone police station) Bouverie Road West, 3pm..

On Saturday 28th November 2009, French and British solidarity activists will stage a cross-channel protest from Calais to Folkstone. They will protest against the tightening of border controls and collaboration between the French and the British authorities, which is creating a heightened humanitarian crisis in Calais where hundreds of migrants now sleep rough and suffer constant police abuse, after being stopped from entering Britain, and having their homes in Calais bulldozed in September of this year

The protest will start at 10:00 local time in Calais, where both migrants and activists will gather at the town hall before boarding ferries in Calais and travelling on to Folkstone. While on the ferry, workshops will be held discussing the UK Border Regime and its impacts on migrants in Calais, and in Folkstone the final protest will be held outside the newly built Joint Intelligence Unit, which is a centre for both the British and French services who specialise in trying to combat international ‘illegal’ immigration networks. Join us at 1500 to demonstrate! Bring banners, and make some noise!

What they call ‘illegal’ immigration is in fact the visible human cost of war, which they don’t dare face. Everyday increasing numbers of UK troops are sent to Afghanistan, but when the human stories emerge and people inevitably migrate, we respond with further violence and hardships against these individuals.

Phil Woolas has announced that the United Kingdom will immediately contribute £15 million to the introduction of improved security mechanisms, such as developing high tech monitoring equipment, and building increasingly large detention centers, such as the biggest ever planned at Bullingdon house… all the while failing to acknowledge the reasons why people migrate. When Besson cleared the “jungle”, he did not stop migration. Attempts to make the borders ‘impermeable’ by 2010 will not stop people trying to cross, but only force them to take more life threatening measures.

France and England are tightening their grip on the border, but on both sides of the channel, resistance is spreading in solidarity with all those without papers. The demonstration today began and will end in Calais, with activists from across Europe travelling back together to Calais in order to continue the work with those migrants could not cross today. We will continue to resist police oppression in Calais and demand an end to these racist border controls, freedom of movement for all, and the right to stay without fear of persecution, invasion or natural disasters.

For more information,
Phone number (live from Friday 07535319119)
Twitter: calaisolidarity

Update to the last post

18 Nov

It looks like the British Airways numbers are different.

should be

customer relations 0844 493 0 787 / Fax: +44 (0) 17 8788 3195 – lines opn untill 6.30

general enquiries 0844 493 0 787 – lines open untill 8 pm


18 Nov

Mehdi (home office number M1401348) is being forcibly deported tomorrow morning on British Airways flight number 572. Medhi’s full story is at the bottom of this email, but in summary Mehdi (prefers no second name, home office number M1401348) has lived in the North East for 5 years. He came to the UK from Iran in 2003 because he faced persecution from the Iranian Police for known anti-government views. At first he lived in Hendon, Sunderland during which time he met Claire, a British Citizen, who is now his wife. After his first claim was refused he was denied support, was made destitute and became homeless as he was not allowed to work and did not want to return to Iran. Because of this Claire invited him to live with her and her sister in Benwell in 2004. Then, in January 2006 he and Claire moved into a house in Gateshead and on the 24th, February 2008 they were married in a mosque on Westgate Road. They were very happy. This forced removal by the Home Office aserts that the last 6 years of his life, including his happy marriage is ‘illegal’ and in doing so breaks article 8 of the human rights act, ‘respect for private and family life’.

Mehdi and Claire are being forcibly separated from each other by the Home office for these reasons. 1.Mehdi had a driving fine of £120 which he paid 2.Mehdi and Caire are not rich enough. 3.Mehdi has had his Iranian Passport confiscated and this, according to the Home Office makes him an ‘illegal’ person. 4.Their marriage is not sufficiently ‘legal’, because it is Islamic.

Responses: 1. To forcibly remove Mehdi and to continue keeping him and Claire apart breaks Article 8 of the human rights act on ‘respect for private and family life’. Additionally, it is an inhumane and action and is essentially violent in character. It should not go ahead. 2. To continue to penalise Mehdi for a driving offence for which he has already been punished is unjust and petty when compared to the importance of family life. 3. Through treating Mehdi as ‘illegal’ for having no papers the Home Office is effectively cooperating with the discredited Iranian Regime in forcing Mehdi into the condition of being destitute and outside of the protection of the Law. 4. If Mehdi were regularised then he would be allowed to work and their income would double. Mehdi has actually been offered full time work upon his regularisation and this offer will stand until he can take it up. 5. Refusing to accept their marriage because it is not Christian and consequently annulling their 5 year long relationship is an offense to the multi-ethnic society in which we live.

WE NEED TO ACT QUICKLY RING THE AIRLINE DEMANDING TO KNOW WHY THEY ARE FORCIBLY DEPORTING A VULNERABLE MAN > British Airways – UK > General Enquires Tel:0870 850 9 850 > Customer Relations Tel:0870 850 9 850 > Customer Relations Fax:+44 (0)20 8759 4314 > You could also contact Heathrow directly – fax 0208 7454700, phone 0208 7454705 > > Phone Duty Immigration Officer at Heathrow on 02087456941 and ask to log your concerns about the removal. They may pass you back to North Shields > immigration reporting centre. Different departments tend to pass the buck to each other. As many departments that are aware of this the better. > > Please send urgent faxes/Emails immediately to Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Medhi (M1401348)) be granted protection in the UK. Fax: 020 7035 4745 (+44 20 7035 4745 if you are faxing from outside UK) > > Email: and > > and Lin Homer, chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency. > Lin Homer Tel 020 7035 1678 Fax 0870 3369050 > We are worried about his mental health and for his safety and the safety of other passengers should he be forced onto the flight.

MEDHI’S STORY Mehdi (prefers no second name, home office number M1401348) has lived in the North East for 5 years. He came to the UK from Iran in 2003 because he faced persecution from the Iranian Police for known anti-government views. At first he lived in Hendon, Sunderland during which time he met Claire, a British Citizen, who is now his wife. After his first claim was refused he was denied support, was made destitute and became homeless as he was not allowed to work and did not want to return to Iran. Because of this Claire invited him to live with her and her sister in Benwell in 2004. Then, in January 2006 he and Claire moved into a house in Gateshead and on the 24th, February 2008 they were married in a mosque on Westgate Road. They were very happy. This forced removal by the Home Office aserts that the last 6 years of his life, including his happy marriage is ‘illegal’ and in doing so breaks article 8 of the human rights act, ‘respect for private and family life’. In difficult circumstances and under pressure from both the UK Home Office and the Iranian Government, Claire and Mehdi have done everything they can to regularize their marriage. In May 2008, on advice from their solicitor, they went together to the British embassy in Iran as they were told this was the only way that Mehdi could get a visa. Upon arrival, Mehdi had his passport confiscated. The Iranian authorities said someone had been using his identity to travel in and out of the country. He was told he cold not leave Iran until they had finished the investigation. Claire had to return to the UK after a month and in June the Home Office decide that Mehdi did not qualify for a visa for two reasons. A) Because of a £120 driving fine which Mehdi had paid off in one instalment. B) Because Claire does not earn enough money. These are not just reasons for declaring that a happy marriage and a 5 year relationship as ‘illegal’. During the Iranian elections of 2009, Mehdi faced more persecution and was called a spy. Claire was not able to contact him for 3 weeks and they were both worried for his safety. As he had no passport to use he decided that the best way he could be safely reunited with his wife would be to travel without papers to the UK. He has travelled through Turkey, Greece, Italy and France, having to sleep rough and being detained along the way. He eventually arrived back in the UK in late September 2009 where he called Claire from Oakington removals centre. The Home Office has since detained him for neary 60 days despite Claire positively identifying him and attempting to provide papers to show his entire case history from 2003 including their trip to Iran. However under the much criticised Dublin II convention the Home office say they are obliged to remove him to Italy without considering his new claim. Yesterday he was taken from Lindholme Immigration Removal Centre in Doncaster to Heathrow where the home office intends to deport him on Thursday morning. The flight is British Airways flight number 0572 from Terminal Number 5 to Milan at 07.30. He is now in a room with no windows in Heathrow Airport which he describes as being ‘like a police cell’. The reasons the Home Office have given for deportation are as follows. A) Because he has no passport. B) Because they assert that Islamic marriages are not accepted in UK law. Claire has provided a statement as to his history, his previous file, their marriage certificate, her birth certificate and also her passport with the visa she used to enter Iran to back up their story. However, their sollicitor has not forwarded the papers and states that she cannot appeal the forced return of Mehdi to Italy under the Dublin II convention. The Home Office is apparently conducting this violence ‘legally’. Claire also says that when Mehdi tried to send her the deportation letter, the guards at Lindholme Removals Centre would not let him use the fax machine. ‘They are just being horrible at the moment’, she said. Claire states that Mehdi is ‘in no fit state’ to be forcibly returned to Italy. He will be detained further upon arrival; he does not speak Italian, has no money or clothes and most importantly will be even further separated from his wife. There is no reason to assume that he will be justly treated by the Italian Immigration system as he remains without a passport. In addition to this Mehdi should be given the right to choose where he applies for asylum and the right to a family life should be respected.

Newcastle Mum and Son face deportation to Congo

17 Nov

6 year old Adrian Atkinson and his mother Anna are being faced with deportation back to Congo, after Anna’s divorce and subsequent visa expiration. Anna, who currently lives in Byker with her son, fled the Congo after her sister was killed in the war.

Although Adrian was born in the UK and thus does not legally have to leave, he has said that he will not leave his mother and go wherever she is forced to go.

The situation in Congo remains dangerous, and Anna has said that Adrian will face further difficulties due to him being of mixed race.

Friends from Adrians primary school at Welbeck have started a petition to allow him and his mum to stay, but more pressure is needed to be put on the UK Border Agency, who have stated that if the Atkinsons do not leave before the 25th November then they will be arrested and forcibly deported.

Get in touch with the UKBA and register your anger;

they can be contacted by phone on 0114 207 2966 or by email at

Simm cards contact

13 Nov

When you get the simm cards e mail