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.
I keep thinking about my friend *****,
She was deported to India on Saturday, after escaping her family who were persecuting her because she wouldn’t agree to a forced marriage and married for love instead and out of cast. She suffered terrible abuse before escaping to Britain. She studied and worked here for 7 years, she made a life for herself here and even though she was abandoned by her husband she did ok here.
She wanted to claim asylum but was given bad legal advice and withdrew her claim as she was told to claim asylum when you are being removed and instead the lawyer took her money for other applications which were bound to be unsuccessful.
When she tried to claim asylum before she was removed they told her that she could not, is that even legal? Who knows what’s legal anymore? I certainly don’t.
I worry about what is happening to her I hope she is safe. It’s really bothering me.
It shook me up real bad.
What goes on inside here, no one knows. People think it’s okay. I don’t even know where to start.
I was detained in May, I came here from court. I was in prison for 2 and half years for drug offences but they never served me a deportation order or a ticket. My solicitor said I should not enter a detention centre. I was due to be released but they just said I’m going to be detained and gave me no reason for me to be detained. They know I’m a married man, they know I’ve got kids in the UK. My wife is a full-time dental nurse. They’ve seen everything. I’ve been the UK for 17 years, I have never left the UK since I’ve been here. I was fifteen when I came, my mum and dad died when I was young and I was brought here by my auntie. My wife was looking forward to me to come home but right now she’s stressed out.
This place is disgusting. It’s nasty. It’s got loads of bed bugs. There are people slicing themselves with blades. The food is not good. This is not a place to lock up no-one. It’s unclean. People are taking drugs like its outside. Yesterday, they moved a guy out – and he took a picture with his phone – and then they shifted him out of the prison. I can’t sleep properly in the night time because there’s stuff always going on.
The other day, there was a man who was 55 years old. He came to me for help to find a solicitor. He said he was in detention for 14 months. He said he was getting ill-treated. He has no one in Jamaica – no family, no connections at all. They gave him a plane ticket and they came after him. While he was being removed, he dialled my number and I spoke to him while he was on the plane. He was handcuffed. They was beating him all the way to the flight and on the plane. He was saying oh please, crying out. And the guard was saying oh just calm down. And he was screaming. I could hear him crying. Even my eye’s had water in it. He was a nice man, you know.
He said to me that they had a syringe. That there was a guy standing there ready to jab him. He started to slur his words. He was on Virgin Airlines. This is Richard Branson’s company.
A custody officer was standing by me when I was listening to it on the phone. She was saying oh my god. She was feeling so bad she said she would leave her job.
That man is back in Jamaica right now. He has no clothes, no shoes on his feet. He had no money. He was crying and he was begging, saying please help me. And I’m an inmate myself, I couldn’t help him.
These are people that have got kids and family ties in this country. They aren’t taking this into consideration when they try to deport you.
When I first came Britain wasn’t like this. Immigration are doing dirtywork. The Home Office is trying to deny that they know that people are harmed when you’re deported.
The Home office need to be investigated. People need to protest against them.
The treatment of the people here, it will shock.
They want to send me to the country where I have taken finger prints. They have kept me in here for 50 days. I went to the police station to ask for help, and they locked me up and put me here.
The Dublin Rules, I am ready to follow them but they don’t follow the rules for everyone. It is different for every person. I came through Europe, if they catch me for this reason then deport me. I have no hope left in this country. I become different, I don’t know who I am. I start to believe I am criminal because I am here. I am full of depress. I can be strong enough. I spend one year to come to this country. I tried to come officially but there wasn’t an official way. I lost my time, I lost my life, I lost my family. I came for a future. People come for this. They are thinking about us wrongly. They are doing what ever they want with us. I complain in my country, which is why I run from from my country. But I didn’t leave my country to come to one without human rights. But this is happening to so many people, this cannot happen.
I have a friend, they are saying to him, ‘We will deport you, we will deport you’ and after 6 months he goes crazy. He says, ‘If you want to deport me I’m ready, I don’t want to stay in this country like this.’ But they still don’t deport him. This happens to so many people – they don’t want us in this country but they don’t deport us.
I try to complain but it was to the manager to G4S. They say you must wait for your answer but the Home Office and Immigration are the same. You write them, but they don’t answer. How long you going to wait? 3 months, 4 months? I cannot complain because I am not from here. What can I tell them? I have no papers. They talk about democracy but it isn’t human, they are not human rights.
Home Office they say Afghani people have not problem in their country. They don’t believe us. I go to the doctor and they say it’s fine and give me paracetamol. Like I come to the doctor for paracetamol. I have a real problem. If you are vegetarian everyday you have rice and potatoes. Its ok, I am vegan that is my choice. I don’t complain but it isn’t right.
The person I share the room with, he has heart problem. He asks for the doctor but the doctor didn’t come from one hour. ‘Your heart is normal, it is healthy.’ They need to treat people with heart problems seriously. They treat us like animals, worse than animals. They treat animals better than us.
In this place many things will happen here but how will people know? We are behind the walls, they cannot see it. It will shock you. 15 hours lock up every day. It is not detention centre it is prison for us.
PLEASE PUBLISH AND PASS THIS TO ALL:
My name is X
The Maurtian Embassy has been bribed by the Home Office in issuing a travel document in the name of X with my photograph – The elections are looming and the Home Office is trying to clear their backlog of foreign criminals by removing them to wherever possible and by all means.
At 14.30, I was visited by 4 immigration officials (2 male and 2 females). One of the officials, Bev is an immigration manager at Yarl’s Wood IRC – she informed me that one of the male official and the other female official are colleagues – she did not provide their names and she did not introduce me to the other gentleman.
Bev addressed me as X, I corrected her and stated that my name is X. I was asked to sit in a room whilst the 4 of them conversed outside the door – with the door shut.
All of the sudden, the door opened and one of the male officials opened the door and started speaking in a foreign language. I told him my name and told him that I was not understanding what he was saying. It went on for a minute and I told him 3 times in a frustrated tone that I was not understanding him. And as quick as he came in, he left – however, this time he forgot to close the door and I could overhear their conversation.
He told them that it was a done deal as he will state in his report that “her eyes understood what I was saying and that I had a visual”. He told his 3 other conspirators that he will be sending his report asap and that together we’ll remove her. They all knew each other very well.
The other 3 conspirators asked him “how quickly?” and he replied by Wednesday next week. Bev added that to protect themselves and just in case I make a fuss or become unwell, they will have officers escorting me and medics on board.
Bev saw the 3 officials out and returned to the room. Bev told me that the male who spoke in a foreign language is in fact an official from the Maurtian Embassy and that his name is Yaaseen Handsrod. I told her that I overheard their conversation – she blushed at the unexpected comment and stated that she was unsure of what was said.
How can the Maurtian Embassy issue a document on the basis of a visual or “her eyes understood what he was saying..”. He never asked any questions and never checked my accent, her did not ask for up to date photographs nor fingerprints or DNA. If that is not a conspiracy, then what is?
I AM NOT FROM MAURITIUS. I BORN IN LIBERIA AND LIVED MOST OF MY LIFE IN THE UK. I WILL DIE IN LIBERIA OR THE UK.
The reason I am here is because of a mistake in identity. And, well, the HO had me mistaken with someone else and the because of that I have been detained for 9 months. They tried to deport me once to Mauritius, because the document wasn’t right the airport wouldn’t put me on the plane. Then the Mauritian embassy said the HO cannot use that document any more because they don’t believe I am from there country. I am telling the HO for 1,5 years that my name is different, the reason why I haven’t said it before, unfortunately I went in prison, I do admit I made a mistake, I went on with the wrong crowd, when I realised things were not right, and tried to get out there were starting to threaten me, and threaten my partner. And my good friends, they were trying to find out where I live and make lots of threats. I got hit a couple of times, it was quite severe. In the end, I plead guilty. I kind of, I was the only one whose gone to prison. So then, because that, I couldn’t tell anyone, I couldn’t even defend myself. I became clinically depressed, my anorexia kicked in again and I was sectioned. All that pressure. And I was in the psychiatric ward, it became too much. But, so that is the reason why at the time , I told them, I always told them all the way, that I have never said that I am that Mauritian women. It has nothing to do with me, the document was found, but it doesn’t even have my picture. They couldn’t found out who I was , so they said I am that woman. I didn’t know what to do. To an extent I accept that responsibility, it became a nightmare, it is also partly my fault. If I had said it at the time, but then either I get hurt or people I love get hurt, I had to chose and I chose to protect people that I love. But now it created a lot of confusion and a lot of issues, but still I had , I
have a biological sister in Liberia, we were estranged for quite some time, more than 12 years we have got back together, my friend found here. We got back talking. When all of this happened she started helping me to get my documents together. I left Liberia at the age of 7, I was adopted by a British family. I don’t think I was legally adopted, I mean that was the 70s in Liberia, you could just take children, I was an orphan. My biological mum died, and I was left with no one. My sisters dad didn’t want to take me on. What I became after was not good, they were homophobic. They were diplomats so I moved around with them. I had 4 other siblings, all adopted from African backgrounds. I got a good education. That’s all I know about my biological side, and my sister doesn’t know much either. I was too young.
When my adopted family, when I was 16, we were posted to Morocco. I sent a letter to another female, how I felt and it was intercepted by one of the nannies and I got beaten. It was very regimental, very strict, we were home schooled. The beating were proper beatings, like awful punishment. I couldn’t move, it was a nightmare. So when I turned 18 a friend of mine from Sierra Leone to run away from them. We went to South Africa and he got me a job there. For a couple of years and then things started to be a bit better, I still had severe nightmares. But then he said they are getting closer and they will find me, and I was told that I belong to them, I was adopted and they give me anything, I am just an object.
It was an outrage, they said I was not a normality, I was defective, they said its not normal to like women, it doesn’t make sense. When he said they are getting closer, he said we better run away. Then we ran away to Kenya. They were British. We never saw the documents, where we used to go. But they never brought us to Britain, so that’s why I got to think why I was not legally adopted, because we never came here.
My friend said he knew someone who help people to cross over, so this is what we have done. I was working, in a call centre and stuff like that. I had to give some money to my friend who was helping me, to pay the agent. It took a couple of years to cross and come over here. And in between I was abused by that agent and it got on me really bad. I just tried to pretend it didn’t happen and brush it off. So when I get ill, it gets really to me. I just get on with things and then throughout the years I got a really anxious person, that is connected to the food disorder, I get really anxious and cant eat and get really depressed and its that sort of cycle that I cant break. I never got any help for what I went through. All the nightmares I get, they get worse when I am unwell. I can deal with things.
I came over here we landed in Dover, we drove. Through France. The agent gave me to someone else and was like, and there was another female. We had to go with that guy. I don’t want to mention his name, because I think he still lives in White City, and I don’t want to get in trouble. He took us to his place and I got a so called job, a topless bar in Soho . Thats pretty much my life, I was abused many times, we had part of it, there was nowhere to go, we were new in the country. So we where there for some time, we made a couple of friends, one friend she helped us to get away from it.
We were new in the country, so we had nowhere to go. My friend never said I should claim asylum, but that is what I should have done at the time, but we were never guided, we were underground and we had to be careful. You found a job and you worked cash in hand, someone says you are a hard worker and that’s how I lived for 20 years. I worked at a florist shop, I was in shared accommodation, it went on like that. I worked for a Launderette some time. It was different back then. I met some nice people that I am still friends with today.
Then only this one group. In the beginning he was kind of okay, only until a couple of years later. Over here I had a couple of female partners, before I got with this guy. I went out with A for a couple of years, we lived together. I had unresolved issues of the past and I found it difficult to speak to her about it and it was still hurting me. So, I had couple of female partners. It wasn’t until a few years later, we were going out and you know, for 2,5 years. I met D in 2001, a few months later we had a sling. When I left S, then I was with him. I was in a good place, he liked me. I got a job, he helped me. I felt lucky, he didn’t ask me for any document, I never thought anything was wrong. So it kind of, you know. So many things happened in my life.
I found it quite difficult, when I realised things were not right with this lot, he knew a lot of people, he had people in the police, I had no way, even if I wanted to go to the authorities. I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to protect him. He didn’t know something was wrong, and I distanced myself from other friends, because I didn’t want them to get into trouble. It became an absolute nightmare and no where I am today. I got arrested, I became ill, I got a hefty sentence. There was a lack of defence, I wasn’t well. The anxiety was at a a high level, I was at a very dark place. I didn’t know what to do. He had contacts with the police force, so then I thought where do I go? I couldn’t even go to the authorities. Where I was at I was vulnerable, and I didn’t know what to do. And then it all happened, once I got to the half of my sentence I got moved to Yarl’s Wood and they tried to deport me. All the solicitors , all the accountants everyone got away, it was all on my shoulders. His contacts are helping it, it was all put on my shoulders. If things get resolved, everyone reading the story, they will think its not possible for all this lot to get away. But I plead guilty, so there was no way out, I had no choice. Even the solicitors after, they said they cannot believe I pleaded guilty that this was the possibility, and yet it happened. It was too late and my credibility was gone and they would all hide behind my guilty plead. You could see that I couldn’t have done that alone, but unfortunately it happened the way it happened.
People need to know about detention, I think no one should be in detention. This is not a nice place, people are treated like numbers, the healthcare is crap, this is like a prison. Its really crap. You haven’t got any, you know, people are tricked. They try to trick people to do things they don’t want to do. A lot of the women here don’t understand what the officers are saying, many here don’t speak English well, so they use that against them. They scare them, and say that not right your case, they trick them to get sectioned. They do dirty tricks. They are just moppets of the home office, that is what goes on. My personal experience, you have no access to social media, we don’t have access to sites like yours, things that could help detainees, that is limited. I cant access it. We don’t have access to Free Movement, so many pages, we cant see the case law, cases to do with detention or immigration , we cant use face book, it makes it more difficult to communicate with people on the outside. It is an absolute disaster, the food is bad I am not catered for, it is all stodgy.
There is no care here, it is run by G4S and they are run by the HO. They don’t think about peoples health, I filed numerous complaints. My own solicitors, they had a look at all my medical records and said this is an outrage . I am not being treated that what I have been diagnosed with in the past, only for a few weeks I have been treated for illness in my stomach. I cannot eat at all, food repulses me, they give me a cocktail of medication, all in all 600 calories. I feel weak, I still drink, years when I was sectioned, I couldn’t drink then. Now I can drink, I am still down and its not easy. Its a big effort. My foot is swollen, I have pins and needles. Now they are telling me I have to wait for 4 days to see a doctor. I cant walk, I don’t know what they are waiting for.
There is no duty of care in the detention system, really really not good. For someone like me that they cannot deport, why am I still here? Why do they play that game that they give me a monthly report, its some kind of game, I don’t know. Absolutely out of order. If you got a bail hearing coming up, even if they know they cant put you on a plane, they give you tickets.