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Statement by London No Borders on the protests at UK Detention Centres

4 December 2006

The protests at Harmondsworth Detention Centre and the hunger strike at Yarlswood Detention Centre have been the latest attempts by detainees to contest their abhorrent treatment at the hands of the UK immigration system. In Yarlswood Detention Centre, 25 mothers have begun a hunger strike today in protest at their treatment there.

Current UK’s immigration policies violate the basic principles of the Refugee Convention which the UK has signed. By ignoring the Convention, the Government refuses to grant protection of people’s lives that are in severe danger, whether politically or economically.

We condemn the statements by Ms Homer, head of the immigration and nationality directorate in which she is solely interested in making detainees responsible for the destruction of private property. It is a perversion of the reality that refugees and migrants face every single day, and it shows that private property is worth more than a human being in the eyes of the UK government and the companies that benefit from the oppressive immigration system.

Migrants have been degraded and abused and are being treated as criminals, when their only “crime” is to come to the UK on their 
own terms. The UK government’s immigration policies favour locking up people without trial. Refugees are treated like “terrorists” and perceived as a threat to national security and are held in detention for many months.

The protests that resulted from detainees being prevented from watching news reports about the Chief Inspector of Prison’s report on the Harmondsworth Detention Centre on Tuesday night reflect the abusive system that keeps migrants locked up like animals. The subsequent treatment of the detainees that left them without food and water, many trapped in smoke filled rooms or in the freezing courtyard all night, is a reflection of the contempt with which people without papers face in this country. Everywhere, people are resisting their subjection to the violence of the UK immigration system and the profiteering of the companies that run the centres.

We demand the closure of Harmondsworth and all other detention centres in the UK and abroad. We demand that everyone can live their life with freedom and dignity. 

Noborders London


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