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.