AN ACCOUNT OF IMMIGRATION DETAINEES IN UK
1) Please take your time when you read the information below, because you are entering the new Apartheid Britain. Immigration detention centres are a system that critics decry as racist and brutal. These detention centres are filthy and have a destructive effect on the welfare of detainees. Detainees live in unhygienic conditions, with drains overflowing, food rotting in the kitchen, bedbugs in their rooms and pigeons flying around inside the building.
2) We hope that something will come out of detainee’s plight and maybe a legal challenge from those who wants to see justice being practiced by the UK Home Office. Detention must have time limit and out of country appeal for asylum seekers must be abolished, asylum seekers should not be in continuous detention.
3) As detainees who have witnessed many atrocities in detention centres we believe it would be best to exercise legal minds in the detention of asylum seekers/refugees and illegal immigrants. Non-legal-qualified UK Home Office Caseworkers must not be given a license to detain and re-detain, release or refuse. Legal authority must be applied instead of an individual deciding people’s fate.
4) A number of detainees have contributed to the information in this report, and they wish to remain anonymous. We hope you will contact the right people and all embassies to raise our concerns as we are been continuously ill-treated at the hands of the UK Home Office. The UK government claim Zimbabwe, Russia, China, Iran etc. countries have no human rights and that leaders of such countries are disports/dictators and the UK government is doing exactly the same if not worse behind detention centres doors and the British public never get a chance to find out the atrocities carried-out by the British Home Office. In simple words ‘Detention Centres’ are not fit for purpose and should be closed. The Home Office must deal with our cases whilst we are free people. The UK government is in serious breach of Article 3, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. They have no regard to human sufferings. People flee persecution from their countries seeking protection in the UK and they are detained indefinitely in high security detention centres?
5) If a person claim an asylum anywhere in Europe and then visit the UK, that person is likely to be detained and deported to their home country and not deported to the country where they were given protection or refugee status. This is a clear abuse of the Geneva Convention and European Rules on refugee protection
6) One of the detainee has lived in the UK for over 20 years, has three British born children and has been in detention for 6 months with no end on sight to his harrowing experience.
7) June/July 2015 – A month or two ago, Mr Ahmed Yashi, an Iraqi national sewn-up his mouth with a needle and thread at The Verne in protest at his indefinite detention. The detainee was quickly moved to London detention Centres before most detainees knew about it.
8) Detainees are treated so bad that to alleviate their stress, sufferings and bullying from the staff, they resort to taking drugs, harmful drugs. Many detainees inflict self-harm such as cutting their wrists, arms, necks etc. some see suicide as the only way out. Indefinite detention is to blame for such behaviour.
9) Even the shop does not treat us right. Most of the days when we go to shop, they tell us they have no plastic bags to carry our shopping. So, we are resorted to carrying our shopping by hands like gorillas in the wild.
10) UK Detention Centres for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are the new Concentration Camps with high walls, barbed wire, unhelpful health centre, 24hr-CCTV monitoring and constant guards. These detention centres are nothing but high security prisons. We are only allowed to work inside these detention centres if we sign Emergency Travelling Documents (ETD). If a detainee is considered ‘non-compliant’, then they cannot work for the paltry wage of £30 a week, cleaning, industrial work etc. We are forced to comply with signing travelling documents etc. How can we be forced to sign travelling documents from the country we are fleeing persecution from? Once released from detention we are not allowed to work even when we have British born children. Where is the fairness in that? Non-compliant covers the following:
- Refusing to sign travelling document
- Refusing to speak to your embassy
- Refusing deportation
- Refusing to give information about families in your home country
- Allegedly refusing a transfer to another detention centre. Many detainees have been put on such a list of non-compliance by officers as a way to bully detainees. Most of the refusal to move is not a true account of what happens to the detainee on the day.
11) Why do all these so called detention centres have ‘Segregation Units’? These units are there to unnecessarily punish detainees who refuse to sign travelling documents or detainees who refuse to be deported. Once a detainee is on ‘basic’ or is in ‘Segregation Unit’ his level of privilege is reduced to basic, which means he is no longer allowed the following: shopping, gym and internet usage for a week or month.
12) We have witnessed people who came to the UK at the age of 6 months been deported to their home country. A country where they have no cultural or community ties with. How does a human being who have no affiliations or cultural ties with a country be expected to live a normal life at an adult age of 20?
13) We have witnessed the Home Office issuing ‘phantom’ air-tickets just to confuse and frustrate detainees. No apology is ever issued. To Home Office Caseworker is just a game but it is not a game to refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants when you continuously torture them psychologically.
14) Many detainees coming from prison have voiced their frustrations of discrimination they witnessed in prison from NHS staff. British prisoners are treated better by healthcare than Foreign Prisoners.
15) We have witnessed healthcare discrimination in immigration detention centres. It is a fact that British prisoners are treated better than immigration detainees.
16) We have witnessed the worst treatment immigration detainees receive at two detention centres (Brookhouse and The Verne). We have witnessed officers dressed in full riot gear (shields, helmets and baton) coming to remove a detainee who have refused deportation. Such brute force is used early in the mornings and also late at night or sometimes midday when everyone is banged-up. We are not allowed phone cameras, so we can’t video the brutality that is hidden from the public eyes.
17) Other detention centres that use brute force are Colnbrook, Hammondsworth and Yarlswood. In most detention centres, there are two detainees per room. The room has bunk beds, a sink and toilet with little or no ventilation. The majority of detention centres have no openable windows and the air we breathe is not fresh. Detainees are locked behind doors from 9pm-8am and again between 12:30-13:30 and also between 16:30-17:30. That is clearly a prison regime being practiced by the Home Office on detainees.
18) Colnbrook is one of the dirtiest detention centre in the country. It is not fit to house a human being and this one must definitely be closed asap before more people die of the filth there. It is a horrible, depressing place, which houses two to four detainees in one small room that has no openable windows.
19) Most immigration detention centres are not fit for human habitation. Toilets are extremely dirty, showers are terribly dirty and food is not that good. Kitchen staff wash food trolleys using mop buckets, the same mop buckets used to clean dirty floors and filthy rooms. Yet, they never do the same for British prisoners.
20) One detainee grew-up in apartheid South Africa, he told us that in South Africa he witnessed so much brutality that it will last a lifetime. He was a victim of South African political torture and the Home Office refuse to free him even though the doctor at The Verne completed a Rule 35 report clearly stating that scars he has are consistent with torture. Freedom from Torture offered to help him with treatment once he is released from detention. Home Office Caseworkers have shown complete disregard of doctor’s recommendations and findings to detainees. They have not released him.
21) The days of apartheid are over in South Africa but it is sad to say that Apartheid is well and alive in the UK. None-whites are stopped on the streets, detained indefinitely then brutally forced out of the UK. Immigration detentions are exactly what Hitler was doing to the Jews. Locking Jews-up and gassing them was wrong. UK Home Office is locking asylum seekers indefinitely and using brute force to remove them from the UK.
22) These detention centres are exactly like old German Concentration Camps. EU citizens are locked-up, Africans and Asians all locked-up for a very long time. Some have been in detention for over four years. We hate what Hitler did in those Concentration Camps and hate what the British government is doing in modern day Concentration Camps of asylum seekers and immigrants. Hitler killed the Jews in Concentration Camps, and there is no difference to what the UK is doing to asylum seekers in detention. These UK detention centres are killing detainees psychologically, mentally and physically. They obtain our Travelling Documents under false pretence, then use brute force to remove us from the UK without any of our embassies knowing about the atrocities and ill-treatment received from the UK Home Office.
23) We, detainees put the complete blame to our embassies who have given the Home Office permission to ill-treat us by being bullied to issue ETD’s (Emergency Travelling Documents) without our consent and/or demanding to see us in person. If our embassies could at least demand to see us, then we will be able to voice how badly we are treated and abused by the Home Office Caseworkers and officers. Most detainees have families, British children and the issuing of ETD’s in our absence is tearing families apart. We want embassies to stop issuing Emergency Travelling Documents in our absence.
24) Embassies who continue to issue ETD’s to UK Home Office in people’s absence has amounted to the UK government deporting many people who have judicial review pending for their cases. Border officials target specific nationalities for deportation in order to fill-up charter flights. This has led to people who have legal claims being forcibly removed. The embassies who issue these ETD’s on their citizens’ absence are equally to blame for giving the British government license to abuse their own people.
25) Forced removals is the cause of the following:
- Families are torn apart.
- Brute force is used
- Limbs are dislocated
- Detainees are finding suicide as the only way-out.
26) It must be noted that British citizens are not treated like slaves in our countries. It is a fact that most British passport holders are allowed to visit many countries visa-free and those countries’ citizens can only visit the UK with a valid visa and they still face strict UK immigration rules, most of them end-up denied entry at UK Airport. Is that fair practice?
27) The UK were in the forefront of enslaving black people in the eighteenth century. Now they are detaining us indefinitely and enforcing mass deportation in charter flights. If we refuse, excessive force is used, we are pinned down, handcuffed and bussed to the airport then bungled into charter flights. Is that the humane way of treating a fellow human beings. Detention Centres and forced deportations are modern-day slavery by the UK government. Feel free to visit YouTube and search for UK forded deportations or UK mass deportations. The account is really disturbing for any human beings to comprehend.
28) The UK bad treatment of immigrants/asylum seekers is very similar to the days of Europeans enslaving Africans. What is happening is not right and inhuman. Detainees are detained indefinitely and when they take their own lives, no one is held accountable, they are treated more like dogs or worse rats.
29) STOP CHARTER FLIGHTS! Charter Flights currently run from the UK to Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Pakistan, Iraq, Cameroon, DR Congo, Jamaica, Kosovo and Albania. Charter flights treat removals as a business, and people are removed as goods for transporting. Charter Flights fly with only detainees and guards, normally two guards per detainee. These charter flights are efficient machines for removing those the Home Office can manage to refuse, with whatever weak excuses they can find.
30) The spectre of UK mass deportations have raised alarms of unfolding humanitarian disaster. It is shocking that it has so far generated little international attention, much less condemnation from world leaders. Please read the following articles:
31) Restraining detainees for forced removal normally leads to death and the perpetrators are never brought to justice and if they brought to justice they are never found guilty. Death in UK immigration centres seem a normal occurrence and no legal charges were ever brought against those involved in the following deaths:
2010: Mr Jimmy Mubenga died on board a plane at Heathrow airport that was bound for Angola in October 2010. The guards who restrained him where never found guilty. His death was a predictable consequence of unlawful forced deportation system 04/06/2014 – Bruno Dos Santos, died in his 20s at The Verne, he left a child fatherless
2015: On 20/04/2015 – Pinakin Patel, 33, collapsed and died at the Centre’s family unit. It is understood that he and his wife were being kept there after coming to Britain from India two months earlier. They had a six month visa to visit the UK. Sadly, this goes-on all over the UK. Visitors are detained even though they have a valid visa.
2015: 06/08/2015 – Thomas Kirungi died IRC the Verne, Dorset after medical staff refused to give him his daily medication for severe depression. They told him he was late and that he must come healthcare the following day.
We have only mentioned a few here, the list is long and painfully sad