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.

Now they are trying to take way our hope.

It’s me again, still here in Yarl’s Wood.

It’s been a very stressful day. We feel targeted and some of our members have been scared off by the home office and told by officers if they don’t eat it will affect their cases. There are many rumours flying around about protester’s cases. I am still trying to gather the facts but I feel tired and deflated.

They took our freedom, our dignity, our sanity, and now they are trying to take way our hope.

I was told I would not get my medication because I am not eating and I really need my anti-depressants, and I have a muscle spasm in my lower back but I can’t get any pain relief but that’s ok because the pain in my heart is worse.

I wanted to print some photos of screen-shots people sent me with messages of solidarity but I was told that would be dissent. I just wanted to cheer the girls up and let them know they are not forgotten because that is how you feel in here.

One girl just told me that officers have been talking about Diane Abbott saying she can’t do anything for you and it made me angry because even if this is true, she gave the girls hope and made them feel important.

I’m alone in my cell again.

This is good for me, I never get used to people leaving. When my first roommate left I was in bits for two weeks. That’s how it is for me. When I get close to someone and they are released or deported it affects me in different ways all at the same time. I feel happy for them if they are released of course I do but at the same time, I feel really sad for myself that I’m still here, and that I will miss them. Then I feel guilty for feeling sad and I think of myself as a really bad person. It takes me a while to get over it so that’s why I would rather be alone.

Still, when they are deported it’s worse, the staff are very careful about how they snatch a girl so you don’t get to say goodbye. They are taken to segregation where no one can protest or help them and you never see them again. Then I really have to stop thinking about them because when I do all the things that might happen to them go through my mind and it scares me. I begin to think about my own deportation and how it might happen.

I feel like I’m losing myself in here, becoming part of the furniture. I want to scream sometimes and it takes all my efforts to act in a civil manner as I’m so angry all the time. That’s not my personality and this place is changing me. I hope it’s not permanent.

Very sad foreigner Made in Britain

We are still in the legal department.

We are still in the legal department.

They asked if there was anything we can do for you. And we kept quiet. They asked whether we would want to see the home office. They said that we can make you an appointment to see you one by one.

And we said we don’t want to be seen like that. We want you to meet all of us, as a group with one representative to talk. They went away and said they would get back to us.

We will remain here until the end of the day.

I am involved in the hunger strike

I am involved in the hunger strike because I think we face very unfair conditions in that we are detained for an indefinite amount time. The uncertainty that we face everyday is unbearable which leads us to have stress, panic, and in turn a lot of health complication. This is the reason why we decided to go forward collectively with this hunger strike. Even though many of us have health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes we have nevertheless persisted to continue the hunger strike because we want the public to know what we face and make sure there is a change in policy.

We have been detained without notice. Young girls after having turned 18 are sent into detention centres. People who hold short term visas are sometimes sent straight from the airport to the detention centres. Many of us have our cases which are running but the Home Office still sends us tickets to go back home which gives us a lot of stress. Today, 3 girls were given tickets to go back to India. One of them is due to leave on Monday. Her case is running and yet she is given a ticket. What can she do— she only has 2 more days. Even when we try to pave our own path by asking for bail or temporary release we are always refused. They just do not allow us to do make our own attempts through legal paths— they are always impeding. They do not allow is to get work permits outside but make us work for £1 an hour or £3 for a day. It’s very unfair.

Today when Diane Abott came to visit us, we gave her a list of demands on behalf of the women of YW. She looked at them and told us she would make sure that something would happen. She told us that she would take this to the Parliament and make sure that the detention is reduced to 28 days and no longer be indefinite. We have hope but we will still continue with the hunger strike so that something will definitely be done.

She managed to see us. Diane Abbott the shadow home secretary was here this morning.

She managed to see us. Diane Abbott the shadow home secretary was here this morning with her entourage. One of them was Shami Chakrabarti, the human rights lawyer.

We, as a group of people who are detained here and are on hunger strike, we wanted to show the management here that we wanted to see her. In case they wanted to stop us, we went down to the reception corridor. We wanted to stop them showing her the better places and stopping our grievances being heard.

I was the first person to say what was happening about me because I was at the front of the group.

We had to go into the sports hall because there was no space where we were. The poor woman had a chance to talk to us all, one by one to hear our stories. She had, to sit down and listen to our grievances of most us, even though she didn’t have enough time for everyone. Even though she was there for 15 minutes, she managed to hear each and every one’s story. Which is what we want- we want people to hear our cry.

We were really crying to her. Even herself she was emotional as well to see us in that state. If you see someone crying if makes you emotional too. Because so many people wanted to talk to her about their experience here. When we saw her, we had all wanted to see her. She was Someone we had always wanted to see.

Her secretary was saying that there was not enough time to hear from everyone and she said we should write our stories and concerns, put it in an envelope or send it through emails. So far, we are happy that at least there are a lot of people are supporting us.

Oh my god, there were people who were crying. People who were detained for 10 months 12 months 14 months. We spoke about how we are not allowed to work outside. But when we came here they want to employ us for £1 per hour for 3 hours in a day. She heard us. If that they can employ us here, why can’t they let us work out there and contribute to the country? Especially those who have lived here for so long.

What we want is for her to go to talk to those people who are in power. To take action and deal with our situation here.

We are women, we have a life. We need to work. Our children came to the UK when they when they were young and now they are being detained. Everything here is depressing.

I want to say to Diane Abbott that we have been waiting for that moment. That she was indeed a shoulder, the only shoulder we have, to cry on. They should act on all the demands we have made. They are all critical. And, please, even if they will not meet all of our concerns, make sure the young people and people who have no lives elsewhere are not detained. The young people are the future of Britain, why do they want to detain them?

They should never call us illegal immigrants – we are undocumented migrants – I can’t wait for it to end, my daughter can’t wait.

Last night a lot of us on the wing we watched question time. There was this lady, Ash Sarkar, who said ‘why do you detain women who are pregnant and vulnerable women and women with health issues and refugees who have cases that have still pending and have rights of appeal in Yarl’s Wood’. And the man, who was part of the government said, they don’t detain such people as asylum seekers. That is a bloody lie. That was a lie from the pit of hell. How can you say that you only detain illegal immigrants who you are about to deport, but then you release them and then you redetain them over again and cause trauma to them for obeying your rules to go and report?

When I saw that, I felt that something is happening out there. And maybe certain action might be taken concerning our grievances and our cry.