ARE REFUGEES WELCOME HERE?

As part of Oxford Refugee Week (16th – 22nd June 2014), the Campaign to Close Campsfield is holding a public meeting on Monday 16th June, 7pm at Oxford Town Hall:
‘Are refugees welcome here? If not, what can we do about it?’

Speakers include:
Immigration lawyer Colin Yeo, barrister at Garden Court Chambers: The law and being a refugee in the UK
Child psychiatrist Dr Mina Fazel, NIHR post-doctoral research fellow, Oxford University Department of Psychiatry: The mental health of newly arrived refugee and asylum-seeking children
Psychology and law trainer Clare Cochrane, Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law: Research which challenges the culture of disbelief in the UK

Public meeting Are Refugees Welcome here 16 June 2014Public meeting – Are Refugees Welcome Here? 16 June 2014

 

Press statement: hunger strike ended at Campsfield‏

PRESS RELEASE 14 May 2014

The hunger strike protest at Campsfield ended on Saturday after 3
days. An outbreak of flu was a contributing factor.

The demand of the protesting detainees was to close all immigration
detention centres in the UK.

hungerstrikersdemand2014

A number of other issues were raised by a Campsfield detainees’
spokesperson in an interview available on Youtube:

Open Democracy article:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jasmine-sallis/neither-criminals-nor-animals-week-of-unrest-in-britains-migrant-jails

We thank the detainees for raising these issues, which we shall
pursue. We continue in close contact with the detainees.

Campaign to Close Campsfield tel. 01865 558145 /01993 703994

PRESS RELEASE Campsfield detainees go on hunger strike as protests by immigration detainees spread

PRESS RELEASE 7 May 2014

Once again, detainees at Campsfield are on hunger strike.

The hunger strike began this morning (7th May) with the simple demand
to close all immigration detention centres in the United Kingdom.
Detainees believe their detention is a breach of their human rights.

More than 50 detainees are partaking, which includes many
nationalities including several Arabic speaking countries as well as
Chinese.

Hunger striker Mr A said: ‘All of our friends want medias
support. Authorities do not want to listen to us. Thankyou.’

On Friday (2 May) over 150 detainees in Harmondsworth migrant prison
near Heathrow airport occupied the main courtyard in a sit down
protest and began a mass hunger strike. Their demands:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/222052881/Letter-to-Home-Office-From-Asylum-Detainees-on-hunger-strike-in-Harmondsworth-detention-centre

Yesterday (Tuesday 6 May) in Colnbrook detention centre, right next to
Harmondsworth, guards broke up an organising meeting of 40 detainees
and put five ‘ringleaders’ in isolation cells, before moving them to
another secure facility. Supporters have since been unable to contact
the men.

Then at 10pm last (Tuesday) night a group of 20 men detained at Brook
House IRC near Gatwick staged a protest in the courtyard and refused
to return to their cells.

NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN THE 20 YEARS SINCE CAMPSFIELD OPENED:

16.04.98: Sir David Ramsbotham, chief inspector of prisons, publishes
his report on Campsfield, which states that ‘it is abundantly clear’
that ‘there is little or no consistency, or logic, in current
arrangements for deciding upon detention’ (§I-25).

17/4/98: ‘Campsfield is an abomination to human rights in that it
presumes guilt from the outset. Today those loyal protesters who have
been branded as cranks and soft-centred do-gooders have been proved
right.’ – From the Oxford Mail

Campaign to Close Campsfield: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577

There will be a demo tomorrow (Thursday 8 May) at Campsfield gates at 6pm.

Former Campsfield detainee sentenced to 32 months prison after admitting arson

PRESS RELEASE 1 April 2014

Former Campsfield detainee sentenced to 32 months prison after admitting arson

Farid Pardiaz, 25, from Afghanistan was sentenced today by Judge Mowat
in Oxford Crown Court to 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to
committing simple arson at Campsfield detention centre on 18 October
2013.

Judge Mowat stated that Mr Pardiaz appeared to have had mixed motives
for setting light to bedding in his room, from which fire spread into
the roof space of Blue Block at the centre. He had wished both to kill
himself and also to show the authorities how strongly he felt that he
should not be returned to Afghanistan, where he feared for his life.

Judge Mowat accepted that Mr Pardiaz had not meant to cause the damage
and losses estimated by outgoing centre manager Paul Morrison of
Mitie, which runs the centre, as mounting to over £900,000, but she
nevertheless had to take the high cost into account in deciding the
sentence.

No mention was made by judge in sentencing or by defence of the fact
that Mr Pardiaz had been refused a request to see a doctor in the days
running up to the fire, when, as a psychiatric report stated, Mr
Pardiaz was experiencing a depressive episode. Nor was it mentioned
that very little damage at all would have been caused if the Home
Office had carried out the recommendations of the Oxon Fire Service
and fitted sprinklers in the centre – a fact for which the Home Office
alone bears the responsibility.

After he has served his time, which with remission and time already
served may be some 12-15 months, the government will seek to deport Mr
Pardiaz, who is currently held in Bullingdon Prison.

Contacts: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577

Campaigners protest as Home Office plans to double size of Campsfield

PRESS RELEASE 28 March 2014

Campaigners protest as Home Office plans to double size of Campsfield

Home Office officials have stated that the government plans to
increase the capacity of Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre from
the present 260 (when Blue Block, closed by the October 2013 fire,
reopens and the current expansion of numbers by packing in more beds
into the same area is complete) by 250 to 510 beds. A Mitie employee
at Campsfield stated this week that the figure is 350 (total 610).

In February, Mitie won a £180m bid to run Colnbrook and Harmondsworth
detention centres near Heathrow airport over the next eight years,
starting from September 2014. This makes Mitie the Home Office’s
leading provider of immigration detention services, less than three
years after ‘entering the market’, to quote its press release.

Only five months ago, Campsfield, run by Mitie, was ravaged by a major
fire[i] that spread due to an absence of sprinklers, according to the
Chief Fire Officers Association.

Campaign to Close Campsfield member Bill MacKeith said: “Mitie’s
shareholders may be rubbing their hands. But what can we say of a
‘leader in property maintenance’[ii] happy to take over a detention
centre not fitted with fire sprinklers? Last October’s fire was the
inevitable outcome, as the Oxon Fire Service predicted. Since Mitie
took over, Campsfield’s history of mass hunger strikes, suicide and
attempted suicides has run on.”

Some of those detained will be ‘foreign national prisoners’ who have
served a prison sentence and now await deportation. According to the
shocking report[iii] published today by the Independent Chief
Inspector of Borders and Immigration, the average immigration
detention time for such people is 18 months to 2 years.

Bill MacKeith said: ‘Such scandalously long detention, strongly
condemned in the report, is NOT a reason to expand what the government
doublespeak calls the “detention estate”.’

Demonstration 12 noon Saturday 29 March 2014

At Campsfield main gates, Langford Lane, Kidlington OX5 1RE

Contacts: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Gill 01993 703994

________________________________

[i] Farid Pardiaz appears in Oxford Crown Court on 1 April charged
with arson on 17 October 2013 at Campsfield.

[ii] Mitie website: ‘We combine our in-depth knowledge of fire safety
and buildings regulations with a detailed understanding of your exact
requirements … Our fire protection services are high-quality,
competitively-priced, and technologically advanced, and we’re
committed to sustainable business practices.’ ‘Your fire prevention
and business security systems are part of your building’s life support
system; we’ll make sure they keep you safe.’

[iii] http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/home-office-not-removing-large-numbers-of-foreign-nationals-with-no-right-to-stay-in-the-uk-despite-securing-travel-documents/

20 YEARS TOO LONG!

Approx. 200 people attended the 20th anniversary demonstration at Campsfield on Saturday 30th November for a noisy demo showing solidarity with those locked inside as well as anger and frustration at the ongoing existence of this unjust prison for migrants.

Music was provided by a 25-strong samba band with an impromptu performance in Oxford later, raising awareness in town too about Campsfield and the strength of opposition to it.

The weekend also involved a moving and thought provoking performance of the Asylum Monologues on Friday night, attended by 80 people, and workshops on Saturday afternoon and Sunday to discuss how to go forward to close Campsfield and all immigration detention centres.

Thanks to everyone involved, including Rhythms of Resistance, Ice and Fire, Oxford Migrant Solidarity, Oxford Trades Council, SOAS Detainee Support, Corporate Watch, Hackney Migrant Support, Coventry Trades Council, Warwick University STAR, Amnesty International, Migreurop, the makers of the soup, and especially former detainees for sharing their experiences.

CLOSE CAMPSFIELD DOWN! MIGRATION IS NOT A CRIME!
FREEDOM NOW!

Ice and Fire – Asylum Monologues

Please note new venue – now Christ Church

Ice_and_Fire_ChCh2