Calais Migrant Solidarity – report from the jungle

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/

Another Hunger Strike at Morton Hall

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 detention centre in Lincolnshire kicking off again

Demo at Morton Hall, Dec 2012Morton 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

See also:
Solidarity demo at Morton Hall detention centre, December 16, 2012
Hunger strike at Morton Hall immigration centre, July 25, 2012

Monitoring G4S and the new asylum housing landlords – from Corporate Watch

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

Notts Refugee Week – 18-24 June 2012 plus launch event on 16th

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.

Sheffield demonstrates against G4S bid to house refugees – Thursday 1st March 2012

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 – detainee newsletter

“Speak Out” a newsletter produced by detainees can be downloaded here . . . .

Speak Out – Detainee Newsletter – Oct 2011

(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

Morton Hall Noise Demo – repeat visit to Lincolnshire detention centre – 29/10/2011

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

Inspiring article about No Border Camp in Bulgaria

Some months ago Bulgarian anarchists and anti-racists began an ambitious plan to hold a No Borders Bulgaria event close to an immigration detention centre on the border of Bulgaria, Greece & Turkey – on the very edge of the European Union. The camp that took place 25-29 August 2011 was supported by people from Greece and elsewhere in the Balkans and from Western Europe, coming together to oppose a system that sees thousands of people imprisoned in detention centres.

A participant in the No Border camp wrote to Resistance, “The camp was GREAT!!!!!! I have rarely experienced such a solidarity, organizational cooperation and purposeful political work at the same place in the same time [including] discussions around the newly militarized Bulgarian-Turkish-Greek border region starting 4 days before the camp itself, the workshops in the camp, the communication with the village community where the camp took place, the plenaries….to the big demonstrations in front of the headquarters of the border police in Svilengrad, at the two borders and along and in front of the detention center in Lyubimetz! Keeping in mind the small dimension of activism in Bulgaria […] everything exceeded my expectation and even hopes!”

Whilst the media focuses on Europe’s economic woes, the militarisation of the EU’s borders has continued. During the battle for control of Libya over the summer, it is perhaps conveniently forgotten that the Italian state, through an agreement struck with the regime back in 2004, transported over 1,500 migrants and refugees to Libya who had previously been detained in Italy. Libyan immigration detention centres in Al Kufrah and Gharyan (close to Tripoli) and Sebha (in South West Libya) are paid for by the Italian state.

Meanwhile, many people trying to escape repression in Sub-Saharan and East Africa are now in extreme danger, and some have been deported back to these countries from Libya. Others have continued to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in small boats. Thousands have died. This is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have fled during the conflict, now either trying to get back to their country of origin or seeking safety elsewhere. In Italy and Tunisia, refugees and asylum seekers have been confined in camps and transit centres for indefinite periods of time, their freedom of movement severely limited.

This makes the work of groups like No Borders Bulgaria all the more important. The EU’s member states are completely tied in with a system that treats people as a problem to be contained, even if this means paying a dictator to lock them up. Bulgarian and Greek anarchists have taken an important step in countering detention on the borders of Europe.

For more on No Borders Bulgaria, and the No Border camp, visit http://noborderbulgaria.org and http://noborderbulgaria.wordpress.com

Article originally published in Resistance, bulletin of the Anarchist Federation, issue 135, October 2011:
http://www.afed.org.uk/publications/resistance-bulletin/263-resistance-bulletin-issue-135-october-2011.html

Hip-Hop Benefit Night for Morton Hall at The Sumac Centre, Nottingham – report

On Monday, Monday October 17th 2011 a Hip-Hop Benefit Night at The Sumac Centre Featuring … Test Their Logik, Louis Cypher and Martin the Livewire took place.

Details: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/2104

The benefit gig was to help support the Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group.

Test Their Logik brought their empowering and inspirational hip-hop sounds all the way from Southern Ontario, Kanada AKA Turtle Island.

The 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.

Demonstrations there are a chance 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.

Previous article about demonstration in July 2011:
http://www.nobordersnottingham.org.uk/regional-news-and-events/morton-hall-noise-demo-this-saturday/