I have become absolutely depressed and vulnerable now

I am ——– ——– from ———. I am one of the detainee in Yarl’s Wood IRC along with my husband. It has been almost 6 months that we have been detained. It is a very long time for someone to be detained but I can feel that my thoughts are not that important and valued as I am an immigrant.

I and my husband have done everything to stay in this country legally. We have paid taxes and spent our precious youth struggling in this country. My husband came to UK as a student, finished his degree, got post study work and work permit as well, but life had different plans and things did not go well. Our visa was curtailed as the license of the company who sponsored my husband was revoked.

These 6 months’ time period which I have spent and am still spending in Yarl’s Wood has made me a completely different person. I am not the bubbly, jolly, and full of life person which I was before. That person is lost in this detention centre. It has been long time since I have eaten properly. I don’t get any sleep at night. I have lost huge amount of weight, but my physical health and appearance is the least of my worries at the moment when compared to my mental state, which is getting worst day by day. I am extremely depressed and it’s getting more severe day by day. I get panic attacks and anxiety. I get scared of every footsteps passed by the door of our cell. If someone knocks on my door my heart begins to pound faster. Even if I am asleep all of a sudden I wake up being scared and my heart beats faster.

I am getting very emotional writing all this but I am hopeless now and have given up on everything so I had to write this. I need very serious help regarding my depression but I am not getting much help from healthcare here. I had to wait two weeks to get an appointment and finally when I got to see the health care assistant she told me that I have to go through long process until they decide whether I actually need medication or not. We don’t feel any genuine care and help from the health personnel, rather they treat us like whatever is happening to us is not genuine and we are pretending and faking it.

Even though our case is still on going for more than five months we are forced to stay in here. We are on the stage of asking permission of appeal to the upper tribunal in our case. We do believe that it will be granted and our case will go further. Just in case if it is refused we will go for the judicial review. This will not happen in one or two days. It will take some time for the process. In our refusal of the SOS bail 401 there was a reason that we do not have any close ties in this country where we can stay and comply with reporting condition which is not true at all. We have already mentioned in our bail application that we have our cousin who is a British citizen and live with her family, and a brother who is a member of British Army in this country who fully support us by any means. It was even mentioned in the refusal letter that there was no record of us having lodged a further PTA, however, we have an acknowledgement letter of the application of PTA which clearly proves that we did make the application within the time limit.

Even though I did not suffer from any medical condition in the past but after being isolated from the society, family and friends I am in a different position now. How can there be any medical evidence when I am not even being looked up properly by healthcare here in Yarl’s Wood.

Basically, I have given up on my fight and my life now. I feel like I don’t want to live on with this pain every second. Today is my birthday and it’s the first time in my life I am not excited about it. Nothing excites me, makes me feel good or smile anymore. I have become absolutely depressed and vulnerable now. I am suicidal and only think about ending my life to put a full stop on this everyday suffering, even though I try very hard to keep myself calm and composed and to stop thinking about harming myself.

I know if something wrong happens to me, it will not bother the Home Office as I, along with all other detainees, are just numbers for them rather than human beings. At times I do think about all my well-wishers, family and friends who love and care about me, but I am very tired now, and I am feeling that I do not have any desire to live like this.


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.

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.”