Over 120 people came together last week to mark twenty years of BID’s work with over 45,000 people in detention.
The event, at the beautiful West Reservoir Centre, was hosted by BID as a way of thanking all the people who make up the charities twenty year history of bearing witness to the daily injustices faced by immigration detainees while fighting for the end of this inhumane practice.
People enjoyed delicious food cooked by the Syrian Sunflower as they caught up friends old and new and heard from speakers including Pierre Makhlouf, BID assistant director; Eileen Bye, one of BID’s first trustees; Tim Baster, BID’s founder and Victor, a former client.
Acknowledging that the fact that the charity is still needed is no cause for celebration, Pierre Makhlouf, reflected on the significant growth of detention over the past twenty years adding concerns about the potential impact of Brexit on the numbers of people detained and deported.
Tim Baster and Eileen Bye shared their experiences from the early years of BID explaining that at the time virtually no one applied for bail in immigration detention. Remarking on BID’s vital work with over 45,000 people since, both thanked everyone in the room for continuing the fight for liberty and justice.
Victor, who was detained for 6 months, talked powerfully about the impact detention had on him and how he received very poor legal advice before finding BID. He spoke of his gratefulness to BID for getting him out and about the necessity of BID’s work to hold the government to account.
The event was also attended by local MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot who commented:
“I would like to thank BID for inviting me to their anti-birthday last night. It was great to hear about the work they are doing and talk about UK Labour's plans on ending indefinite detention and shutting down Yarlswood and Brookhouse.”
Attendees were asked to share what BID means to them and answers to the question were projected during the course of the evening.
The event accompanies the charities Anti-Birthday campaign which has been running over the summer and culminates at the end of this month. The campaign highlights the ongoing failure of the UK immigration detention system and crucially, also encourages supporters to make an Anti-birthday gift.
Supporters are invited to purchase a gift from our Anti-Birthday wish list to help tackle barriers to legal advice in detention. You can make a donation or learn more about the campaign here on our website.
Reactions on Twitter:
I would like to thank @BIDdetention for inviting me to their anti-birthday last night. It was great to hear about the work they are doing and talk about @UKLabour's plans on ending indefinite detention and shutting down Yarlswood and Brookhouse pic.twitter.com/XZHLQLnUp2
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) September 19, 2019
BID was set up with £300, 1 paid coordinator and 15 volunteers who supported 318 people that year. Since then BID has provided free legal advice to 45,000+people in detention. Thank you to everyone powering our movement. We won't give up until we #EndDetention once & for all. https://t.co/wZnnyL4hhx
— BID (@BIDdetention) September 19, 2019
We are proud to stand in solidarity with @BIDdetention to mark their 20 year fight for liberty and end #detention pic.twitter.com/kTvXm4A33l
— Bhatt Murphy (@BhattMurphy) September 18, 2019
We were so sorry to miss this event! Wishing all our fantastic colleagues @BIDdetention a fantastic anti-birthday #detention #humanrights https://t.co/Apzw9fsBRQ
— AVID (@AVIDdetention) September 19, 2019
Thank you for having us @BIDdetention. Happy Anti-Birthday. Sorry that you’re so needed but thank goodness you’re there. Donate to https://t.co/WzJMTbTO9C pic.twitter.com/B9oEK2xK0N
— Angelina Nicolaou (@AngelinaNicolao) September 18, 2019
Happy Anti-Birthday @BIDdetention. Great evening surrounded by supporters of this wonderful charity! #endimmigrationdetention pic.twitter.com/6skCpjQoDz
— Eleri Griffiths (@Eleri_Griffiths) September 18, 2019
Happy anti-birthday to @BIDdetention. Thank you for all that you do for immigration detainees #20yearstoolong #enddetention pic.twitter.com/U2jodlYEHE
— One Pump Court (@OnePumpCourt) September 18, 2019
What a venue for @BIDdetention's birthday party! pic.twitter.com/ZKS94P4Its
— Shoaib M Khan (@ShoaibMKhan) September 18, 2019
Congratulations to @BIDdetention for its vital work over 20 long years. @Safety4Sisters, @WASTCampaigning, @SBSisters https://t.co/QRmrjXHqMs
— Gita Sahgal (@GitaSahgal) September 18, 2019