Solidarity with detainee hunger strikers

On Tuesday afternoon officers working at Yarl’s Wood – an Immigration Removal Centre run by SERCO – violently broke up the Hunger strike that started on Thursday evening.

* The women were trapped and effectively kettled in a corridor for 8 hours with no food, water or toilet facilities
* Others ended up being trapped outside in the snow for hours without jumpers,  shoes or socks
* Many were subjected to verbal assault and racial abuse
* Many suffered serious physical assault –in one known case a woman was left unable to stand and another woman’s finger was almost severed and many collapsed out of exhaustion
* Furthermore all the women involved were (and in most cases still are) denied access to medical treatment
* Ambulance and police were denied access to the centre

In response to this horrific violation of human rights and blatant abuse of power an immediate demonstration was staged from 8am to 8pm on Wednesday 10th and Thursday outside Serco in Holborn. This will culminate with this Fridays previously planned, large scale protest:

***Friday 12th at 2.30pm.*** The demo will take place at Serco’s offices at 18-22 Hand Court (off High Holborn), London, WC1V 6JF. Serco manage Yarls Wood on behalf of UKBA. Please bring banners and instruments.

Please come to show support and solidarity with the women, children and families in Yarl’s Wood and publicly condemn SERCO who are subcontracted by UKBA to run the centre.  The office is less than 15 minutes walk from SOAS, off High Holborn. See map for exact location

ALSO – London Detainee Solidarity Network is calling for people to ring Serco Offender Management and the centre manager of Yarls Wood to express support for the hunger strikers and disgust at their treatment by Serco’s guards.

Serco Home Affairs Office – 01344 386300
Yarl’s Wood Duty Manager – 01234 821517

[callout title=The Women’s demands are:]

84 + Women on Hunger Strike, behind the Wire @ Yarl’s Wood IRC

“Detention results from political decisions that represent a “hardening attitude towards irregular migrants and asylum seekers”  (*PACE)

End the Detention of Foreign Nationals Now!

Since the 5th of February 2010, we the residents at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are on hunger strike which involves over 84 + women, who are protesting against the period of time spent in detention and the treatment that they receive while being detained.

The strike was sparked to protest and demand that the frustration and humiliation of all foreign nationals ends now.

We are demanding the following actions

*End the frustrations, physical and mental torture at the centre

*Allow enough time and make resources available to residents who need to fully present their cases.

*To end all false allegations and misrepresentations by the UKBA regarding detainees in order to refuse bail or temporary admissions.

*Access to appropriate medical treatment and care as in the community, access to edible and well cooked food, phones with good mobile connections, with camera and recording facilities to back up cases.

*To stop the forceful removal and degrading system of deportation of detainees
*To put law into practise, European rules governing standard of conditions of detention for migrants and asylum seekers and the length of time in detention.

*The abolition of detention for asylum seeker and torture victims

*Detention should be by a standard procedure prescribed by law, authorised by judicial authority and be subjected to periodic judicial reviews.

*To end the detention of children and their mothers, rape survivors and other torture victims, to end the detention of physically, mentally sick people and pregnant women for long period of time.

*To end the separation of children from their mothers being detained whether in detention or destitution.

*To end the detention of women detention after serving time in prison.
* To abolish the fast track system, in order to give asylum seekers a fair chance with their application, while understanding the particular needs of victims of torture, and access to reliable legal representation which the fast track system denies.

*To end the repeat detention of women granted temporary admission while reporting or signing after a short period out of detention.

*To a set period of time allowed to detain women, which should be no longer than 1 month, while waiting decision either from UKBA or court proceedings. [/callout]

Finally instead of detention of foreign nationals, there are alternatives to detention stated by the *Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). ‘The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe ‘, Adopted on the 28th January 2010, extracts  below.

9.1.1.       detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants shall be exceptional and only used after first reviewing all other alternatives and finding that there is no effective alternative;

9.3.4.1. placement in special establishments (open or semi-open);
9.3.4.2. registration and reporting;

9.3.4.3. release on bail/surety;

9.3.4.4. controlled release to individuals, family members, NGOs, religious organisations, or others;

9.3.4.5. handover of travel and other documents, release combined with appointment of a special worker;

Please support these concerns, lobby your MPs, Councilors, MEPs, demanding our immediate release and an end to arbitrary detention.

Messages of support/solidarity to WomenBehindTheWire@ncadc.org.uk