The High Court has ruled that the immigration detention of two families was unlawful. The judge found that the detention of the families of Reetha Suppiah and Sakinat Bello breached articles 5 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – the right to liberty and the right to family life. The court also found that detention is capable of causing significant and long-lasting harm to children, and that there is a considerable body of evidence of the policy not being properly applied.
The Court of Appeal last week ruled that although detention in an immigration removal centre [IRC] was ‘generally more appropriate’ for detainees than prison, the practice was lawful and not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), article 5 which safeguards the right to liberty and security.
Dover Immigration Removal Centre has served as home to many of its inhabitants for months or even years. It has received damning reportsdue to its prison-like conditions and long periods of detention. On 15thOctober the Home Office finally announced that it would shut. This announcement came without reasons or warning for either the migrants or those who stand to lose their jobs due to the closure.
As many as half of all detainees may not have access to legal representation, according to BID’s latest legal advice survey. The tenth edition of BID’s six-monthly survey, carried out in May this year, spoke to 136 people currently detained under Immigration Act powers. Of them, 50% didn’t currently have a legal representative.
A new Detention Services Order 04/2016 about internet access for detainees has just been published. This is the first time the Home Office has set central guidelines on internet access for immigration detainees. The Order makes clear that all detainee internet usage is monitored and centrally recorded.
“They rob you of your dignity and treat you like criminals, and they can storm into your room without any caution or notice,” said a former detainee regarding the treatment that security guards mete out at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration and Removal Centre in Bedfordshire, UK. Having received refugee status in 2012 and now soon-to-be a proud law graduate this summer, the 34-year-old Pakistan-born looked back to the first time she entered the UK. Having applied for asylum at the airport, she was driven to Yarl’s Wood, which she described as a “prison cell”. “An asylum seeker is equal to a criminal in the UK,” she told me.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) welcomes Yvette Cooper’s announcement that the Labour Party would introduce a time limit on immigration detention. We agree with Yvette Cooper that detention “can be deeply scarring”.
In an article from the refugee voices special issue of Index on Censorship Magazine, Jason DaPonte looks at how migrants are using technology to keep in touch with distant relatives, and the security risks this can bring.
Women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have become increasingly desperate as repeated rounds of legal aid cuts introduced by the UK Government have made it more difficult for them to access justice.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) welcomes the publication of the report of the Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Refugees and Migration into the use of immigration detention in the UK. This wide-ranging, careful, timely, and compassionate inquiry rightly took as its starting point the powerful testimony of those who have lost their liberty through administrative detention in the immigration removal centres and prisons of the UK.
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is a registered Charity No. 1077187. Registered in England as a Limited Company No. 03803669. Accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Ref. No. N200100147.
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