Brook House Protest: I’m still on a hunger strike, and I will continue the strike.

I’m from Yemen. I’ve seen war in all of its details, all of its destruction, death, repression, mines, death, everything. My uncle, friends, and relatives, died. I remember those who died, our most beloved. I lived war. I only left after I experienced it. We, young men, are a target. We were targeted by the Houthis because my relatives worked in hospitals and helped the injured. To this day every time I call my family or friends, I receive news that this or that friend died by stepping into a mine, or being hit by shells or missiles.

My whole neighborhood is destroyed. I lived the war in all of its details. When things went really bad, I tried to leave. I did not tell my family that I would leave the country, I only told them that I will go to a relatively safer city in Yemen. I borrowed money from this and that friend, then went to Mauritania. We walked by the border with Mali. We were caught by this gang, and they threatened to take our organs. We were stuck between smugglers and human traffickers. They threatened to take our organs or blackmail our families. My family did not know I left; that would’ve devastated them. We were able to get out of that, and we reached Algeria. We were sleeping in the desert cold; taken from one smuggler to another. From Ain Saleh, for a few months, to Ghardaia, where the Algerian army detained us for 15 days. They took everything from us, and deported us to the Niger desert. I still remember to this day, the soldier told me, “this is the road to Niger, this is the road to death.”

We were accompanied by Palestinians and others. We wandered from one region to another. And we were held in this room on the border with no toilet. We used plastic bags. We were there for a few weeks. Eventually we managed to enter Morocco, but we were caught and deported to Algeria, and they were going to deport us to Niger, but we escaped the Algerian army and returned, without any money. We slept on the streets. We tried to get to Spain, to Melilla. It took us 3 months to enter. After nearly 25 attempts, we did. We were beaten really badly. They treated us like slaves, not like refugees.

We entered Spain. They put us in a building with 600 people from all nationalities. I am short. I was subjected to beatings and sexual harassment. Whenever I tried to file a complaint to the Spanish guards, they would either laugh at me or would not understand what I said. It was 40 days in hell. I wished I could return to Yemen. Sometimes we washed the guards’ clothes so they wouldn’t beat us.

Then they transferred me somewhere else, because I complained a lot. I could barely walk 30 metres. Then they transported us to Valencia, and kicked us out into the streets. I spent three weeks on the streets, knocking the doors of one charitable society after another, but we were only met with rejection. The police treated me like a criminal, and used pepper spray on me, even though I’m a refugee. Even on the streets in Spain, I was sexually harassed. When I realised things are not going to work out in Spain, I decided to migrate, to Belgium.

I’ve seen people scattered on the streets in Belgium. We had our fingerprints taken in Spain, in Germany, and now we’re in Belgium, eating and sleeping on the streets, and being chased on the streets. I was going to request asylum in Belgium, but then I saw the situation of my peers, and some told me that they came over like I did, and were then thrown into the streets. Five years in war, and I thought I was brave among my family, but here I am being subjected to sexual harassment and the like. We moved to France. I contacted my family and told them I’m in France. I asked them for money so I can pay to the smuggler to enter Britain since there we would not face beatings and the like. From Dunkirk, which is filled with smugglers, we had difficulty, since we Arabs are hated by Kurdish smugglers, and so we faced difficulty.

We tried and tried. One day a smuggler told us if he sees us there again, he will kill us. We kept roaming France for a month. We reached Calais, and it’s filled with smugglers. I thought Europe would be a heaven. I developed a skin condition in Spain that they refused to provide treatment for.

The sea was my last hope. I thought to myself, if I don’t reach Britain, at least I will die in the sea, instead of returning to the streets of Europe. I was hoping that if I get to Britain, I will finally be able to live and start a life, and all the bitter days would be over; that it would be a watershed. I wrote my will and handed it to a friend, just in case, so he would tell my family, so they would forgive me. We were in the sea for eight hours. I felt regret. Why did I leave my family, why have them live in war on their own. I thought I’m selfish, because I left them. I should’ve continued to live with them. Not leave them and live on my own. Now when I call my family, they still struggle with what I used to struggle with. When I reached Britain, I thought I reached a safe harbour. You know, one would hope to die in his homeland, in his mother’s arms, to see his family and loved ones.

I reached Britain, and spent 4 months trying to build a new life, until that day. I had a GP. I explained to him my physical and mental health, and he provided me with care, until that day. We were in our place, I was happy, I was optimistic, and then all of a sudden, the police came over and took us. I asked them what crime did I commit, but they just took us to detention. They told me you have a fingerprint in Spain. I told the investigator, and the lawyer, if I was a refugee there why would they have me sleep on the streets? No matter what I said they would not believe. They just told me, ‘this is the law’.

I’m still on a hunger strike, and I will continue the strike. I told them that if I am to be deported to Spain, I will not be deported alive. I will not go back to a life of homelessness, to those who beat us and harassed us. You cannot know how I feel right now, since you’re not in my place. I’m only telling you a small portion of what happened. I can go on forever. I lost my family, my father, my mother, my friends, my city, and they’re all still in war. I thought that Europe would be a heaven on earth, that I will get to live and make something out of myself. Now, I think I lived like a king in my country. My last hope was Britain. I crossed the sea with my kafan on my hand, I either get to the shore or die. We faced gangs and threats, but Britain ruined everything. They want to get us back to point zero.

We’ve been here for two weeks. They lock us in our room from 9PM to 9AM. From day one I went on strike. Here, you’re subject to deportation at any moment. Every night, I can barely sleep. I’d wake up to every passing shadow, to every passing guard. Every time, I tell myself, “this is it”. I can’t even begin to describe it. If you look at my life, from beginning to end, you’d feel bad over all the time you lost, all the years gone. Five years lost to war, a year or so lost in Europe. I will not go back to live through that suffering again. My family calls me, and I tell them, “they put us in schools” and “I am now studying”. I don’t tell them that I am facing deportation. If we are deported, there is nothing but death. They think we came from a paradise. No, we came from the hell of war in Yemen, hell of displacement, hell of smuggling, and now they want to ruin everything.

You don’t even know how it’s like here with the guys and how we’re feeling. As soon as our room is closed, we’re tense and waiting. Where are we going to be deported to? Spain and the streets. To the starting point.

All that I experienced in the war in Yemen does not reach this level of suffering. And here we are waiting, for our execution. They tell us they’re just enforcing the law. I do not envy others, but if this is the law, why is it selectively enforced. I know others who had fingerprints elsewhere who were granted asylum. We are waiting for the 27 of August, the day we die. They either leave us here, or deport us. If I knew this was what I was going to face, I would’ve preferred to die in my homeland. At least there I’d see my family. I’m full of regret. I am selfish. I left my family. I would rather die close to my mother than on their streets. They sentenced us to death.

Brook House Protester: ‘We came here and we just want the chance to live and find peace.’

We are Yeminis and we are detained here, in Brook House in the UK. Our country is going through a war.

We left Yemen to escape persecution and war and to avoid death. And to come to a country that is safe, where we can live safely and healthily without fear of persecution.

All the cities have been destroyed by the war. There are so many weapons in the country. They are giving weapons to young kids to turn them into soldiers. There is a lot of corruption and there are no jobs. There is no choice other than to be involved somehow in the conflict. The youth feel like they are being brave and courageous by joining and it makes them feel that they are involved in something important, but they are dying or being imprisoned.

We are protesting because we are trapped and detained, and we are being threatened with removal to Spain on Thursday. When people leave their country they come to a place like the UK for its peace and safety. We don’t want to take advantage of welfare or anything, we want to work and study and to contribute to society. For Yemenis, a lot of us feel that there is peace and security in Britain.

I feel that the UK is our mother country because there are a lot of Yemenis here, we have family and family friends here. There are twenty Yemenis that are detained. Their mental health is suffering from the situation; they just want to get out and live in peace.

The protests are to bring attention to the suffering of the Yemini people, so that we can be released. And so that we are able to live with peace and justice. We hope that the British government will act justly and let us live here.

To get to Britain there was a lot of pain along the way. At first I was in Mauritania, then I was in the deserts of Mali. Then we made our way to Algeria after a 3 day long trip in which we ran out of water. We were scared that the government would catch us and send us back to Niger because that’s what they were doing to a lot of refugees and it happened to my friends. They were sent back to Niger after numerous attempts and payments that they made to get to Algeria. We then walked to a place in Algeria over 2 days – during which we were not allowed to stop or sit down. In the day time we were hiding and in the night time we were walking. We reached a place called Aïn Salah (Algeria). And then walked to another place called Ghardaia (in Algeria). After the sunset, we walked as far as we could until it was morning in an area called Djidiouia (Algeria), and the guy that was taking us was scared he would get caught and left us in the desert all the day. We were out of food and water and we were trying to hide. A lot of people gave up – they tried to find officials to hand themselves in.

Then the guy that was taking us came back and we started walking immediately – through mountains – I felt  faint and like I was going to pass out. When we reached Oujda (Morocco), 20 of us crammed into a car. The people in the car were from all over, some Syrians, some Yemenis. At each checkpoint/city, you had to pay a sum of cash. Up until this point I had given $3,500. I was lucky because other people had to pay a lot more.

I went to Nador in Morocco and we were there for 3 months. People would say they could take us to Europe but then they would take our money and then leave us. There are still some people I know who have lost all their money and are still waiting in Nador. And If you didn’t have money, people would try to jump over the wall to get to Melilla. This wasn’t free either – it would still cost money to climb the wall. I know some people who have fallen and broken their legs are still waiting to climb the wall. I finally crossed the wall.

In the camp in Melilla, it was tough. There was a lot of stealing; people had knives. It felt lawless. I wanted to leave and get out as soon as possible. When I was given refugee status, I was able to get to Madrid. I tried to get to the UK through Belgium and then from France. I was in Dunkirk for a month. I went to a car park there to try to get onto a truck, but there were people with weapons, and  it wasn’t possible even after several attempts. In the jungle there was a lot of conflict between people.

I got on a small boat to the UK – we thought we were going on a truck but that didn’t happen. We were told we had to go by water. They said it was going to be a short trip of 40 minutes. In fact, we left at 3am and we were still going at 8am. There were a lot of waves – we saw death. All we could see was water and sky. People had paid $3000 or $5000 to make this journey and they really thought they were going to die. Some people had paid all that they had, and owned some even borrowed from family to make this payment. 

On the journey, I was thinking about all I had to endure to get there. I was thinking about being close to death in the desert and death in the waves. I felt that like this was the end.

I remembered in the desert, I was so desperate that I asked my friends to just leave me there but they helped me push through. I thought of all this while thinking that I was going to die on the boat. I remember when we spent a night in Dunkirk, and one of the mafia  threatened us and said that this is your last night here otherwise we’ll shoot you.

And I felt a deep sorrow and sadness that after all that we had been through we might not even  make it and that this would be the end.

When we reached Britain it was like we had come alive again.  We were so happy. Everyone was taken to different cities. We told our families that we had made it. I was taken to Coventry, near Birmingham. I was there for 4 months.

Everyday, I would go running – I needed to get fit! People would be really nice at the park. I became friends with two older people – one was 100 and another was 85. We took a selfie together. I would talk to them everyday, and our friendship made me really happy. I would do push-ups and pullups. I also started learning English at home.

In my 30 years of life – it hasn’t been great. But here I felt that for the first time I could live out my dreams.

11 days ago, immigration enforcement came in the early morning to the place I was staying. My dream became a nightmare.

It has been really hard. I feel so depressed. I have started hating food, hating life. My friends and I are finding it really hard. I have felt suicidal and that it is not worth it to be sent back. After  having tried so hard for this. I have lost so much money and time. I can’t imagine that I will be able to continue if I’m sent back to Spain after all this.  My friends and  family friends are all here. 

I have a ticket for the 27th August but we are hoping to challenge it with our solicitors.

We came here and we just want the chance to live and find peace. And we want to be given the chance to flourish in society. I have hope that I will be able to get out and I will be treated with justice. I want to be active and contribute to society here.

Thank you to everyone who is helping us and continues to help us. God bless them.

Brook House Protest: They told me “you have to go back where you came from”. In that moment I was broken down inside

This is my life story. Why I came out from Yemen when the civil war started.

I was leading a normal life. I was living in Yemen in the town called Sanaa. I was studying and working when the civil war started. I tried to stay there even though the civil war started. There was fighting and bombing and the Houthi fighters and the army fighters were there, and it was a hard time but still I tried to stay. Then I couldn’t stay there; me and my family moved away from Sanaa.

I went to a small town with my family. But the university was in Sanaa, not where I went. When I went to the small town the Houthi army was there. I managed to escape but they took my brother. I tried to hide then they got me and took me, and I was one month in jail because they seized the small town.

I was one month in jail, the Houthi army put me in jail for one month. They removed me because my brother got injured when they were bombarding. They let me out so I could see my brother. My brother was in a very bad condition; his legs were broken and everything. I took my brother out of the hospital and we went to the small town where my mother was and after 3 days we left. I went to another town and I got a passport and I left Yemen.

And then I went to Mauritania and from Mauritania I made my way to Europe. We kept walking. Walking with the trafficker and it’s all desert, we took cars and he blackmailed us. Then the trafficker met with another guy and the other guy took over.

This guy made us walk through the mountains. Then he showed us that he had a knife and guns and he asked us for money and mobiles. We gave him everything. Then we walked through the desert and I asked them where we are. They said it’s between Algeria and Niger. And then another trafficker took over and he put us in a truck, a big car where you put animals in. And then they took us to another place and another trafficker took over and we went to a place. During the time we were walking, we were abused, they were like hitting us and treating us badly.

We ended up in Morocco. And then another trafficker took over. And this trafficker just reassured us and said “I’m going to make you pass to Europe”. He took all the money but he wasn’t honest; he didn’t let us pass to Europe. We stopped there in Morocco. Approximately we stayed there for 2 weeks.

And then another trafficker came and one of the people said “don’t worry, we’ll help you leave”. They took us to Spain. When we reached Spain they asked us for money, and we said we don’t have money, they said “tell your parents to send you money”, but our parents are not working, we don’t have any connections.

When we said we don’t have money to give you they said “no problem, you can work with us now”. In this moment I thought: I need to run away. Because they are really bad people, they want us to work for them. They threatened to kill us, that’s why I realised I had to run away. 

I went to another town and I stayed homeless out on the road. I was searching for any refugee camp to help me and support me, just in terms of food and to continue living. I lived in that period on the road. It was really cold and I didn’t have my charger to charge my phone to connect with my people. It was a really tough time for me.

And then I met two guys, one from Yemen and one from Syria. They said to me “let’s go to somewhere where there is no war, where there is justice”. And so we went to some area but I don’t know the name of it. And then we decided to go to Britain. A trafficker said “I will take you to England”.

And then they took us to the sea and they said “you have to go”. I said “no, I’m scared, I don’t want to go across the sea”. There was a lot of people there from Iran and Kurdistan. He pointed a gun at me and said, “you have to leave now”. The guys there reassured me, they said, “don’t worry it’s only one hour and then you will be there, you will be safe”. The sea was really bad. I was so scared. But when I saw from a distance that we were close to Britain I was relieved a little bit when I saw the coast guard.


When we got there the guy took us to Coventry, and I stayed there for 3-4 months. I tried to forget everything I went through. I was thinking about my family. I tried to contact them and to see how my brother is doing. Then, when I was sleeping they opened the door and the police came to see me. He was talking to me but I wasn’t able to understand because everything was in English. I was so scared when he found me there, when he opened the door and he saw me.

I’m not a murderer, I’m just a normal guy. I just ran away from what I have experienced in a bad moment. Why are they treating me like this? They told me “come with me”. They told me “you have to go back where you came from”. In that moment I was broken down inside, I was feeling so bad.

And then they put me in a detention centre. They took the phone, they took everything. They gave me another SIM. But I’m not allowed to go out. Where shall I go if I go out? To the street? What shall I do?

I would rather die here than go back to where I came from.

I just want this country to hear us, because I’ve been in lots of danger. When I escaped from the desert and the mountains, I put my life under risk and I don’t want to go back. That’s all I have.

Les Gilets Noirs: We are in the Airport in France

Les Gilets Noirs

“I’m here to tell you that for them we are commodities! If they give us documents they lose their business. So they must see that someone stood up. We are not balls to be kicked about, we are not children. Our struggle is not only about papers. What you have yet to see you’ll see when you fight. There is sorrow and happiness inside. Things need to become red and people need to rise to bring it out. The shame is theirs, not ours. They must stop seeing black people as blackness, but see that they have become red.”

Gassama foyer Riquet – in Paroles de n’importe qui… ou pas – May 2019 – ed. La chapelle.

At the employment fair, on the 23rd February 2019, residents of some of the 43 migrant centres of the Paris region are plotting together, along with tenants of the struggling streets:

Diakité, member of the Chapelle Debout collective:

“We rose up. We quit our everyday tasks and we stood. We, the GILETS NOIRS are now the largest movement of undocumented people in France.

The French government knows that we exist. It knows we are here and that we are organised. But it still doesn’t know what we are capable of!

We started on 23rd November 2018. It was at the Museum of Immigration. There were between 300 and 400 of us.

We continued to mobilise people until the 16th December, when we occupied the Comédie Française. That day there were 720 of us. And we opened the door of the Prefecture”… to negotiate

On 31st January, 1500 of us accompanied the delegation. The leadership did not keep their word. “We will receive you every month.” … We are still waiting. 

We asked for an end to deportations and Abou, Amadou, Samba, Tymera, Imane, Hicham have been violently deported towards Spain, Italy, Sudan and Morocco under the pretexts of the Dublin Agreements, bilateral agreements or by the pure and simple ferocity of the racist brutality of the police, judiciary, medical services.

We got organised so that many can return, so we can bring back our parents, our children, our wives, our husbands, our friends and everyone else.

In the Paris Prefecture, they dismissed us, saying: “we can’t, not our responsibility, not our remit, you’re missing this paper.”

“We’ll speak to your bosses then!”

We call for all the forces in France, Europe and beyond to support this campaign against fear and shame.

For equality, dignity, justice and their concrete implementation: Documents for all!

We must start winning again, because we have all lost too much: Documents for all!

We must stop bemoaning because we must act.

We must wait no longer.

Because we are here and we are everywhere: Documents for all!

We are against:

The OQTFs (Orders to leave France), the 115, illegal working at Elior, asbestos removal without protection, the CRAs (Immigration detention centres), Calais and Ventimille and Dublin, checks based on profiling at Aubervilliers 4 Chemins, the OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People), rough sleeping, the CNDA (National Court of Asylum), Porte de la Chapelle, the refusal of AME (State Medical Aid), queuing at the prefecture or for food, the OFII (French Office of Immigration and Integration), slave driving bosses and businesses.

Papers/Documents for all!

“Immigrants have a voice and they are using it!”

“We are the freedom to move, to settle down to act. We will take it as our right. In the name of all those who did not make it here, and to save ourselves, and for all those who want to make it out here.”

PAPERS NOW!

WE ARE IN AN AIRPORT IN FRANCE

This place is, above all else, a border. A border without walls or barbed wire. Nevertheless it marks bodies.

For some Roissy Charles de Gaulle is a place for travel and consumption. Those for whom this comes easy are a minority coming from the bourgeois and/or white worlds. It’s this world that colonizes and wages war. The entrance to their fortress is the airport. It is well guarded by the military, police and cameras… In this place we also meet many of our own. Nevertheless, we don’t want to see ourselves here.

We are hidden or shut behind a curtain in the plane or underground, very close to terminal 2 in the holding area for those who are awaiting deportation…or in the basement of the four-star Ibis hotel with the blessings of the Accor company.

This place exudes racism on a planetary scale.

Those at the front pass through showing only their official documents, those at the back are threatened, handcuffed, gagged and insulted by the police

At the border, in the antechambers of the airport.

It’s from Roissy that Afghans were deported to Kabul at gunpoint, at the same time that we switched off the Eiffel Tower’s lights to commemorate the Western victims of the attacks in Kabul’s diplomatic neighbourhood on 31 May  2017.

We are here because this airport belongs to those who scrub its toilets all day long, who pack and transport suitcases for customers with red passports.

We have come to free ourselves, like others who have escaped from their prisons for foreigners in Rennes, Hendaye or Mesnil-Amelot in recent months.

We are here because the body of a 15 year-old son was found frozen, fallen from the landing gear of a plane on 8th April 2013. That was before their “migration crisis”, which every day justifies their crimes a bit more. There are no names for those they deport, they bear all of our names.

We are here for self-harm and suicide to not be the only ways to stop cops from receiving free holidays with Air France Miles.

Enough with the prison, sleeping pills, foam helmets and handcuffs!

Glory to all that managed to step off a plane, whatever methods they used! From screaming to physical resistance or tricks.

Thank you to all who refuse to sit down. To pilots who refuse to take off. To the transit helpers who give us information: “deportations on this flight”.

25 detention centres in France, over 1000 people deported in 2018 from the Mesnil-Amelot centre alone, nearby here. STOP!

Overcoming fear by coming here, with no pseudonyms or work uniforms, is our first victory.

Overcoming fear of this border is to organise against all of those who help deportation, starting with undermining Air France’s collaboration, which of all the complicit airline companies, is the official partner of the French state. They are in cahoots with Qatar Airways, Ethiopian airlines and Turkish airlines.

To Air France, official deporter of the French state, and to the Paris Airport, its guard dog,

We denounce your collaboration with the state’s practices and the business that it earns you.

We denounce the pressure exerted on your staff and on passengers who oppose the deportation: those who have been disembarked, threatened with lawsuits and forced to buy back tickets.

We denounce your role as accessories to the police and to European justice, and we declare that you bear responsibility for the treatment of non-white lives and their management as flows. You share responsibility for the murder of A. by the Border Police, of M.’s injuries and detention, of M.’s torture, injected to knock him out and stop protesting, of murder attempts on M. who you allowed to be deported when he had swallowed razor blades…

We demand to speak to the heads of Air France to:

-Stop all financial, material, logistical or political participation to deportations

-Stop its policy of retaliation and/or pressure towards in-flight staff who refuses to embark a person threatened with deportation

[Translated with permission from @chapelledebout. The original version can be found here]

I feel I am being threatened and patronised because of the protest

Yarls Wood IRC
Bedford

On the 2/3/18, I was summoned to the Legal Home Office department to meet the Immigration Enforcement Manager Fiona Quaynor, I met her in the presence of her teammate (another) home office officer. I do not recall his name but he is Indian.

I was told by Fiona I am going to be interviewed by them especially because I am on the hunger strike protest in Yarl’s Wood over Home Office injustices and unfairness. They asked me if I was fit to do the interview to which I replied it’s ok we can proceed. Fiona explained to me that the interview was being done because I had refused food and fluids and that it was Home Office procedure to carry out the interview.

The interview kicked off and a number of questions were asked:

  • Why was I hunger striking?
  • What are my demands
  • Do I have a solicitor, etc.

After answering the questions, Fiona read out to me what I considered conditions or repercussions of me being on hunger strike and asked me if I understood what she was reading out.

I was reassured that because I was on hunger strike it didn’t mean that;

  • My case would be favoured, it will take its due course
  • It will not lead to me being granted permission to stay in the UK
  • That it didn’t mean that my removal directions would be deferred
  • That it will not lead to the progress of my immigration or Asylum case being altered or delayed
  • That it will not lead to me being released.

To mention but a few, above is what I remember.

I am very upset till today that I feel I am being threatened and patronised because of the protest. It made me feel very upset, distressed and I feel sad and depressed that indirectly we/I am being punished for hunger striking and protesting. What happened to human rights, freedom of speech and expression? Should we just keep quiet when we are not happy and pretend like everything is alright?

Is it because I am a prisoner that cannot speak out and air out my opinions and views? Is this how Britain welcomes immigrants? This is very unfair to us and I hope one day that this country, Home Office and government will protect vulnerable immigrants and refugees.

All I need is to be safe from my pursuits from my family in Uganda, it has not been a safe journey in my life especially since coming out that I am gay, but now I feel I am being punished by the one country that should give me protection. I cannot return to my country for fear of my life, it’s one of the top countries that prosecute LGBTQ people.

I am already feeling scared, frightened and I am always under the weather for being rejected by my husband’s family, community, workmates and friends. I fear for my dear life on a daily.

So trying to patronise me because I am protesting for a change that directly affects makes me feel even more anxious and angry every day.

In most questions, I told the Home Office they have a right to do whatever they want to do because I cannot control them and neither do I make their policies. I just pray for fairness and justice to prevail when it comes to my case. I lean on the hope in God that never disappoints. Only God knows destiny, no man can change what God has planned for me.

No matter what happens, let me be remembered as a Uganda Detainee that was fighting for the vulnerable and mistreated asylum seekers.

One day we shall all rest and leave this wicked world, God is in charge of our lives, Home Office can decide and throw us back in the den of lions but God shall save us.

In Healthcare, I was asked to sign a document that take away the duty of care of my health from Healthcare.

The Doctor asked me to sign so Healthcare doesn’t have to be liable for my health.

“In case any health hazard happens to you, maybe you faint or at the verge of death, if you can sign the document, we shall not touch you.”  In other words, I will have to die and healthcare, Serco and Home Office will not be liable. I refused to sign. Where is the humanity and compassion from these people that are meant to take care of us. It’s ridiculous and very frustrating.

Currently I am still on hunger strike and eating snow as I feel that’s all I want to eat right now. I am angry I feel I am not wanted in this country, let the Home Office and the Home Secretary kill me here in the UK, than returning me to a death trap in Uganda.

 

We are on a hunger strike because we are suffering unfair imprisonment and racist abuse in this archaic institution in Britain.

While I cannot speak for every detainee in Yarl’s Wood I can tell you that our group of protesters who are participating in the hunger for freedom strike are of mixed backgrounds and religions but we all have one thing in common, We are detained INDIFINITELY! and we are refusing food because we are DESPERATE at the treatment we endure by the HOME OFFICE, not because of religious beliefs but rather fundamental ethics regarding our rights as HUMAN BEINGS.

We feel voiceless, forgotten and ignored.

This is a desperate measure due to desperate circumstances.

One of our group was called to see a home official on Tuesday and that same official asked her “why don’t you go back to your country” she has an asylum case pending.

It does not surprise me hear this as I believe there are many xenophobes working here, and while we were talking about it amongst ourselves a Serco manager walked past and heard one of our repeat this phrase and blurted out “that’s a good idea”.

We are on a hunger strike because we are suffering unfair imprisonment and racist abuse in this archaic institution in Britain.

 

Sorry if this sounds a little incoherent but it’s my fourth day without food.

Hello from Yarl’s Wood

Hello from Yarl’s Wood

Mixed feelings about today,

It’s good that the ladies feel like they have achieved something and I do too in a way.

The Home Office officials refused to talk to us as a group but we stood our ground. The directors strong armed them into it and they did eventually talk to us, although they did not really say anything worth listening to. Just things like our detention is lawful (doesn’t feel like it) and they don’t detain asylum seekers and torture victims, but I can tell you this place would be more or less empty without them. We demanded to know how they can justify detaining people indefinitely and they said each case is different and judged individually, so when I said that there isn’t a pattern and it seems like a universal response from the home office they claimed that we would see a pattern because they have grounds to detain us. But let me tell you there is no pattern in the circumstances of detainees, only the reasons given by the home office.

They refused to state that rape is torture and said “no comment” on that matter. It can be summed up as talking to a brick wall like every other occasion I’ve had to speak with an immigration officer.

Then she passed a piece a paper around and insisted we write our names on it so “they could reply in writing to our demands”.

But we all know this was a scare tactic to make people apprehensive and worry about their individual cases. I was so touched when not only everyone who had sat there wrote their names but the ladies prevented from coming where we were [the home office department] and sat in the corridor instead, insisted on writing their names.

I feel pressure to help the ladies which I put on myself, even before this protest I felt the same when I see people struggle with their paperwork or even when they don’t know where to go for something or just when I see someone crying I stop and ask if they are ok. Some people are in such a bad way and they react badly but that’s ok because the way I see it I might have been the only person to speak to them that day, and I know they just miss their families or they have serious psychological issues, I feel sorry for people.

A manager told me last week that I should concentrate on my case and be more selfish as I might feel better if I stop taking on people’s problems. He might have a point but I can’t help but have empathy and maybe that’s why I could never do a job like his. I empathise with people regardless of the colour of their skin, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and political beliefs. To me people are people, and we all want the same things on a human level. We want to feel safe, we want to love and be loved, and we want to feel accepted.

I’m getting emotional now and not sure what I’m writing about anymore I think the lack of caffeine and food is having an effect on my ability to concentrate, god knows I’ll be talking absolute gibberish tomorrow x x x

Thank you all for your support we appreciate it x x  👍👍😊😊👣

Hungry foreigner Made in Britain

Messages from the peaceful protest

There are currently 18 people staging a peaceful cit in protest outside the home office department in Yarl’s Wood, some have been prevented from the sit in by a prison lock down.


A Home Office official just walked past us and asked if we are having a party, the home office workers know we are on a hunger strike but they keep walking past with their lunches.


The Home Office must talk to us as a group, we wont be divided.


More people are joining the sit in throughout the centre, including 14 men from the family wing of the prison.

 

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.