I hope the Stansted 15 know that we are with them in spirit

I am confident that I speak for all detainees and not just those here in Yarl’s Wood when I say how terribly aggrieved we are at the prosecution of the Stansted 15.

The severity of the charges and the lengthy sentences they face are hard to accept and troubles me personally and I can only hope that justice will prevail in this matter.

Their actions did not cause any loss of life or damage to property yet the sentences they face are graver than say a drink driver who mows down a child, or a rapist would face.

All they did was bring attention to an unjust practice which still continues to be practiced by the Home Office.

Although I am shocked by this it is sad to say that I am not surprised, and as I have said before, because the home office acts with impunity regarding immigrants, their actions will trickle down to other parts of society and I am truly fearful for the liberty of all.

I hope the Stansted 15 know that we are with them in spirit, we appreciate all they have done and it is because of principled people like them that all advancements are made regarding human rights and civil liberties, and being oppressed by the powers that be is standard procedure in these cases as history has proven time and again.

I feel a kinship with them because of what they are going through and I understand completely how they feel and no matter what happens they are all going to fine. I know they must be strong people because their actions prove that.

I hope that justice prevails and your liberty remains intact so that you can continue in your noble fight for the liberty of others.

Stay Strong

You are a true inspiration

Love, Solidarity and gratitude from the Yarl’s Wood Strikers


Today marks the 28th day since we began our strike here in Yarl’s Wood

Today marks the 28th day since we began our strike here in Yarl’s Wood, in any other developed country most of us would have been released by now.

We began by doing a peaceful sit in protest outside the Home Office department where we handed Home Office officials our list of demands. They in turn took note of our names on the pretence they would address our demands and reply to each individual. I am sad to say that what they did instead was to target each individual, with many of our original group now deported or released back into the community.

This action only highlights the reasons we were driven to take such drastic and desperate measures, as the Home Office, rather than being concerned with our welfare as they and the Immigration Minister have repeatedly stated, instead capitalised on our weakened state.

It proves that the system we are fighting against is truly unjust, unethical and wrong on every level, we do not feel as though we have achieved much as the Home Office continue to break existing laws and their own guidelines by detaining vulnerable people, and people that cannot be removed and instead are detained indefinitely and forced to fight their cases while incarcerated, putting them at a great disadvantage.

We do have hope that people are starting to wake up to what is really happening in this country that likes to present itself to the rest of the world as a leader in human rights and civil liberties, which we have none within its borders.

Why should the fortune of birth dictate what rights a person should have within our borders? And even though the hunger strike is now over, we are still hungry for our freedom and justice. We will continue to protest and fight for our human rights, and will not participate in our own detention.

We are comforted when MP’s like Diane Abbott and Stuart McDonald not only visit Yarl’s Wood, but address our concerns and campaign on our behalf, and also David Lammy, because it gives me hope that like all the people who support us, they understand that allowing any group of people to be denied basic human rights and due process serves to make easier targets of all in society whether British born or otherwise for the same treatment.

We must all fight together to stop this spiral into division, intolerance and the disintegration of liberty, for liberty is easily lost but very hard earned as history proves over and over.

We are sorry that Alistair Burt MP who’s constituency we are incarcerated in has not kept his promise to us, and has not made any contact after his visit in which he promised to give the Immigration Minister our list of demands and raise our concerns over indefinite detention and the detention of vulnerable people, but sadly I am not surprised.

Moving forward, as well as our original demands, we want victims of rape, torture, trafficking, forced labour, asylum seekers and those who have been detained for six months or more to be released immediately. We do not feel this is unreasonable but a necessity.

Thank you all for your continued support as it gives us great strength in these most difficult circumstances to keep fighting the injustices we face daily.

They even restrained her legs because she started to cry

I am so grateful to Diane Abbott and others who helped to stop the deportation of my friend who was snatched from us without warning on Friday.

Although I am so glad she is back as she is dear to me and I was afraid of what might happen to her in ********, I am still afraid after hearing how she was taken.

She told me how after being summoned to healthcare, she saw the doctor because she was still not eating, and then straight from there they took her to the segregation unit which is directly outside healthcare, where she had no phone until much later when officers retrieved it from her room along with all her belongings, not that it did any good as there is no signal and she couldn’t contact anyone. But most shocking is that she was fully restrained from the segregation unit up until the deportation was cancelled. What I don’t understand is that she is 5f2 very thin and frail, as well as being one of the most passive pacifists I have ever met and she did not resist.

They even restrained her legs because she started to cry.

I am so terrified I can’t imagine how she felt, literally tied like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter.

I dread my turn and it will come, I am more afraid than ever and there is nothing I can do but be detained and have this threat over my like a guillotine.

There has to be a better way.

We hope the Home Office will have to face questions from the committee

We here in Yarl’s Wood were very grateful to have the chance with a member of the Home Affairs Committee yesterday, 16/03/18 Stuart McDonald MP

We hope the Home Office will have to face questions from the committee regarding it’s practices and we hope this is will initialise a review of policy and how the Home office implement its policies in the future.

Stuart McDonald MP was very gracious towards us and I feel he shares some of our concerns especially regarding indefinite detention, this is by far one of the more stressful, and equally shameful aspects of detention and we hope a limit will be introduced soon.

We truly hope our concerns will be addressed seriously as the Home Office have as yet made no reply to acknowledge or address our demands, and indeed when Home Office officials took our names under the pretence of a reply being made to us regarding our demands, they instead began to actively accelerate our cases and some of our number have been deported or have received negative outcomes to applications.

We fear we are not being taken seriously by Caroline Nokes, Amber Rudd or the whole Home Office department as they continue to oppress us with punitive measures and discredit our cause and each of us as individuals.

We are still locked away in this quiet part of Bedford and we struggle every day to keep fighting for basic human rights as well as our own personal battles and the longer we are detained the more difficult it is for us to see any positive outcome.

We are without liberty, without rights, and almost without hope.

For most of us it is a fight for life as we know it, if not for life itself

Today has been a very emotional day for me personally,

I am struggling to see anyone in healthcare here in Yarl’s Wood and even going to get my anti-depressants is a struggle now as I just don’t feel I can have any sort of contact with the healthcare staff as I feel vulnerable when I do and I can’t make myself vulnerable in that environment.

So that being said one of my dear friends and fellow activist was segregated today, this is what they do now before you are deported, and even though she is still here I fear she might be lost to me forever.

One faint ray on sunshine is that Stuart McDonald and hopefully Yvette Cooper are visiting us today and we, though diminished in number, are still very grateful for the opportunity to speak with members of the select committee.

We want to know if anything is being done regarding our plight but I also need to know if the Home Office will be held to account for their oppressive treatment of detainees, and when will it’s practices be regularised by a truly independent body, it cannot be allowed to continue it’s immoral and even illegal practices with impunity any longer.

A serious investigation needs to take place into how the Home Office choose to interpret policy and how it enforces these policies, but ideally we would like a clear change in policy with no room for interpretation because our very lives are affected by this bureaucratic administrative body.

I speak for myself and many others when I say the situation for us is getting worse, we are not coping with the constant pressures on us and how can we fight our cases in this sorry state. For most of us it is a fight for life as we know it, if not for life itself.

It is this reality, this desperation I face and deal with every day, not to mention my own personal hell that is dealing with my own case, from the purgatory that is Yarl’s Wood.

Women in Abyei, South Sudan, Express Solidarity with Hunger Strikers in Yarl’s Wood 15/3/2018

Dinka Ngok women from Abyei Women’s Union, South Sudan, yesterday denounced the UK government and offered their solidarity to women on hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood IRC after hearing how they were resisting detention and of the UK government’s failed attempts to intimidate and silence them.

Teresa Anyiet, the Chair of Dotbaii Women’s Association, highlighted the links between the struggle of women in South Sudan and the women in Yarl’s Wood. She made clear that the hunger strikers’ fight was their fight, and the fight of all women who are at risk of being displaced and who may need to access their rights to leave their country and enter another one in the future.

She said:

“We women of South Sudan live in a world of violence and we are often vulnerable and displaced. We are like the women of Yarl’s Wood and they are like us. Maybe we even have our own people there, because many people have been displaced from here. If we come out of our world of violence, and we go to the UK, will we remain in the same situation?

“We had hoped that the UK would be part of the solution for Abyei, but if you violate the rights of other women, how can you come and solve other people’s issues? The UK brought [the discourse of] human rights to South Sudan, so why did they cancel the rights of human beings in their own country? UK government: you must release these women, and if they want to remain in the UK and be a part of you, you must accept them as citizens.

“I say to the women: we women all over South Sudan are standing with you. If anything happens to you, we are going to claim your rights. Don’t surrender, and we will not give up here either. Continue even if you are pressured and fear death. Continue your fight. We call on the UK to release you. We pray to God for you and we pray that God will cause the UK’s leaders to repent.”

Afaf Arop, Chair of Abyei Women’s Union, encouraged the hunger strikers to continue their fight, saying:

“We women face abuse all over the world but we don’t accept this, we don’t forget that we have rights and we don’t surrender. I want you women of Yarl’s Wood to know we are standing with you with all our emphasis and feeling. Since you have rights you need to fight peacefully as you are doing. Women’s rights are never given. You have to take them.”