We are the friends and neighbours of detainees and deportees, some of us are migrants ourselves, some of us not. We are fellow human beings who give a damn about the invisible suffering of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants; a suffering that happens on a daily basis.
That injustice is not just the result of a nebulous system. It needs individuals willing to capitalise on it. Those individuals are the Ministers and the senior civil servants making policy decisions, but also the Immigration Officers prepared to carry out the dirty work. Although they may be at the bottom of the echelon, they still make a hefty sum from this business. After all, it’s probably not that easy to find people who can inflict such suffering on other human beings and remain unaffected by it.
These officers are few in number and need to be exposed. If they have the shamelessness and arrogance to show their faces on shows like UK Border Force, given what they are responsible for, they can be identified here. These people are given free reign to do what they can to detain and deport migrants without ‘permission’ to be here. They act with total impunity. We need to challenge the acceptability of this profession. We need to challenge the norm of immigration control.
While they bear full responsibility for their actions, even these officers do not see the full picture. For a start, the sector is sanitised with terms like removal and pre-departure accomodation; and of course it is also criminalised with concepts such as illegal immigrant and sham marriage. Secondly, Immigration Officers are ignorant – whether willingly or not – of what migrants have experienced prior to the encounter with them, and are equally ignorant of or refuse to engage with what might happen to these people as a result of their work.
We are doing this for all those assaulted or killed by UKBA officers or their corporate partners – deaths which have gone barely investigated – and for those who’ve died or suffered after deportation. We are doing this for approximately 3,000 people currently held in the in misery of British detention centres; for the asylum seekers who’ve been pushed to self-harm or suicide whilst being held indefinitely in immigration detention, with the fear hanging over them of being returned to persecution, torture, female genital mutilation, rape, or war. We are doing this for the friends ripped away from us, for the families torn apart. It’s time to expose the lies and shine a light on these collaborators.
The government has admitted that it has tried to forcibly remove tens of thousands of people from the UK unlawfully (Guardian newspaper website 22nd March 2013).
March 23, 2013: Periodic controls and arrests in the Pashtu jungle and in town
During the past weeks the police have been frequently entering the jungles and performing ID controls and arresting people, taking them to Coquelles and trying to deport many back to other European countries (under Dublin II), particularly Italy.
It has started to become daily raids again in the jungles. On Friday (22nd) morning about 20 people were arrested. 17 people were released, three were taken to detention.
Also people are being harassed in the parks a lot, with the same police officers ID controlling the same people repeatedly again and again in the same day, sometimes after only minutes, including those who have papers for France.
And people are again being picked up late at night for ID controls in town, not just by the port, and held over night in cells at the police station illegally. It is illegal for the police to detain people for ID controls for more than 4 hours (from the moment they are stopped) and they are not allowed to hold them in custody cells at all for the purposes of ID controls. Yet this continues to be routinely ignored.
More about Calais Migrant Solidarity: http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/
Latest Morton Hall update, also on Nottingham Indymedia. 17th Jan 2013.
Another Hunger Strike at Morton Hall
A number of detainees have been on hunger strike inside Morton Hall IRC for as many as 9 days. Abbas Ayub, a Pakistani national said 3 men were protesting because they want to be returned to their countries of birth but the UK Borders Agency continues to detain them. Abbas said he had been refusing food since last Monday because he has been detained since May, even though he has agreed to return to Pakistan voluntarily. He said that no one from UKBA had spoken to him about his protest. “I just want to go back” he told No Borders Nottingham.
Indefinite detention is a deeply controversial part of the UK’s immigration detention system. According to Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, speaking last month, some immigration detainees have “simply been forgotten”. One Somali migrant has been held for 9 years after he completed his prison sentence.
The hunger strike is the most recent in a series of protests by Morton Hall prisoners regarding their treatment over the last twelve months. On Wednesday 9th Jan, a Sudanese detainee attempted suicide by slitting his wrists. Friends of the man said that he was frustrated and angry at his long period of detention. Prior to this, a peaceful protest involving between 30 and 40 detainees took place on Christmas Eve. Prisoners had been left without running water, working toilets or cooked food for a number of days.
This is not the first hunger strike inside Morton Hall. In July 2011 an estimated 100 detainees went on hunger strike due to their treatment by the authorities. Two detainees scaled the centre’s rooftops and threatened to jump within less than 24 hours of each other. The detainees, originally from Palestine and Malaysia, were protesting at the ‘disrespectful’ and ‘inhumane’ treatment they experienced, including being detained for prolonged periods.
No Borders Nottingham activist Geoff Bates said “This hunger strike is only the most recent manifestation of ongoing resistance to this country’s inhuman migration control system. The indefinite detention of migrant detainees is an act of violence by the state on vulnerable members of our community and it must end.”
Morton Hall in revolt again – Published: January 03, 2013
The situation in Morton Hall immigration detention centre is at boiling point again after a series of incidents around Christmas. The trigger for events was another serious breach of their responsibilities by the detention centre management who failed to deal swiftly with disruptions to the water supply. A large number of detainees refused to return to their cells in protest. A serious disturbance on Christmas Eve resulted in a detainee ending up in hospital with a serious head injury and injuries to a number of prison officers. There was also a thwarted escape attempt on Christmas Day.
According to No Deportations the situation that sparked the incident was grim: there was a serious water supply failure, before the incident, all toilets blocked, no running water whatsoever, no cooked meals, detainees given sandwiches and cold drinks …
Full article on Nottingham Indymedia: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/4699
As chaos and confusion dominate the transition to the new G4S asylum accommodation contracts in Yorkshire and the Humber, John Grayson from the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) explains how the new delivery model works (or doesn’t), drawing on recent cases from the region. Full article: http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4494
For details about Refugee Week in Nottingham, see: http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/In-Your-Area/East-Midlands/E-Midlands
Launch event 16th June: http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/celebrating-refugee-week
Facebook event page for the 16th: http://www.facebook.com/events/477047238978176/
Be sure to pick up a copy of the excellent Notts Refugee week paper ‘Beyond Borders’ which can be found at venues all around town.
Update – Regional Demonstration: Thursday 1st March. Assemble: 12.30 at Sheffield Town Hall . March to UK Borders Agency Regional HQ at Vulcan House, Millsands S3 8NS
Follow the link to the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group website http://www.SYMAAG.org.uk for a report on a demonstration on February 15th 2012 against G4S bid to house asylum seekers in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.
Article link: http://www.symaag.org.uk/2012/02/15/demonstration-success/
G4S currently run detention centres and engage in removal of asylum seekers.
“Speak Out” a newsletter produced by detainees can be downloaded here . . . .
(Update: Sorry, there seems to be a problem with the file upload – while we try and fix it, please just email below to get the newsletter).
This newsletter is an idea of a detainee in UK Border Agency’s detention since 2008 and contains experiences of his own and others ill treatment by UKBA and its private contractors.
For more information or to submit articles for the next issue contact:
Email: Ruhul Anam ruhul_99 [at] live.co.uk
or Email: newsletter [at] gdwg.org.uk
On Saturday 29th October there will be a noise demo outside Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire. This follows two previous demos already held there over the summer http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1962
We want to continue to express our disgust and anger against the existence of yet another new detention centre. With news of detainees escaping and going on hunger strike in recent months, it seems more important than ever to communicate our solidarity with the struggle of those held inside. We’ll be bringing a sound system, pots and pans and other noise making materials, and it would be great if others can do the same.
We plan to meet at Nottingham train station at 10am to catch the train arriving at Swinderby at 11.10. We will have some funds to cover the cost of travel for people. The detention centre is 10 minutes walk from the station. If others are coming from elsewhere, we suggest meeting at the detention centre at 11.30. The address is Morton Hall IRC, Swinderby,
Lincolnshire, LN6 9PT. We encourage as many people to join us there with banners, placards and noise making materials.
Morton Hall detention centre was formally opened by immigration minister Damien Green on 1st June. Morton Hall was formerly a prison for female foreign national prisoners but has now been converted to an immigration removal centre for male detainees. It is run by HM Prison Service in collaboration with the UK Border Agency. Less than 30 miles from Nottingham it is the only detention centre in the East Midlands.
This demo is a chance for us to show solidarity with those imprisoned and to let them know that there are people out there who oppose the way that they are being treated by our inhuman and racist immigration controls.
There is also a visitors group that has been recently formed to offer support and friendship to those inside. For more info on this, contact mhvg [at] riseup.net