Testimonies in Oxford from Calais and the Mediterranean

As part of Oxford Refugee Week 2015 the Campaign to Close Campsfield will host Ice and Fire theatre company performing

Asylum Testimonies

Picture Voices from the front line of Europe’s approach to asylum

Come and hear the human stories behind the headlines of migrants and their journeys. Testimonies from migrants about their journeys crossing the Mediterranean and of life in Calais will be performed by actors for human rights.

People with recent experience of solidarity work in Calais will be present for discussion after the performance.

Friday 19th June, 7.30 – 9 pm
Venue: The Asian Cultural Centre (far end of Manzil Way, off Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1 GH)
Please arrive in good time. Light refreshments will be available.
Event free, no need to book. Donations welcome.

Contact: gillbaden@talktalk.net, closecampsfield@riseup.net
 tel. 01993 703994


May Day Rally

Member of the Campaign, Liz Peretz, spoke at the May Day Rally in Oxford on 2 May.  In case you missed it, here is what she had to say:

As we celebrate international worker’s day, and think of trades unions and collective action we must also remember the 17306 men women and children who have died in their attempt to reach Europe whose names were laid out on a sheet 100 metres long in the entrance hall to the European parliament last week . We must confront the brutal immigration machine – state racism in action – which all european governments run in our name.

Just 5 miles away, in Kidlington, over 200 men are locked up – in what is called an ‘immigration removal centre’ but is actually built and run as a high security prison. Over the last 21 years, 30,000 people have been locked up there.   During that time the numbers of centres – prison camps – like Campsfield have grown five fold; most are now run by private companies, for profit; and the immigration laws in this country, as in other ‘rich’ countries have become year on year more brutal

One of the worst brutalities of this system brilliantly portrayed in a film out today which everyone can watch on line is that migrants in detention centres are given ‘opportunities’ to work – for £1 an hour – for the centre’s management. In Campsfield that means that cleaning and kitchen work are done by migrants; The private company that runs the centre makes £6 an hour per worker clear profit, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, while the detainee, not allowed legally to work outside detention, is offered this ‘slave’ amount inside the lock up. The campaign I am part of has seemed like a tiny voice against the flood tide of increasing misery over the last 20 years. Some trades unions have taken up parts of the fight – Unite, Unison, have supported members caught up in the stranglehold of our inhumane system. But there has been no systematic, sustained, successful action to turn the brutality back. But there are signs that this brutality, this state racism, has reached such a pitch that the tide could turn – if we all, at work, in our campaign groups, and our private lives demand change.

Last month an all party parliamentary group published a report on immigration detention – calling for a time limit, a root and branch reform, full judicial oversight, and community alternatives. At the same time, Channel 4 ran some ‘inside’ secretly filmed programmes exposing the appalling conditions in Yarlswood and Harmondsworth, which were followed by a wave of protest by detainees in all the centres. Since then, all the main parties have said they are willing in the next parliament to move to a time limit. We need to keep them to this, and sit over them while the practicalities are worked out, to ensure things can never be this bad again. We also need to use the power of the collective trades union voice to stamp out the practice of ‘slave labour’. I’m proud that it was Oxford Trades Union Council that started the first disquiet on this subject, in 2006 – but it now needs to spread further.

And we need to use our collective voice to end the shame of the Mediterranean deaths, and the deaths and subhuman conditions endured in Calais. These are all things done in our name. It is in our hands to stop them.

What can you do? Come to events in Refugee week which will include a walk from Oxford to Campsfield. Get your Union involved. Go to our website at ‘closecampsfield’, follow us on twitter – and watch the film – made by standoff films and Corporate Watch.

Kidlington Parish Council votes that Campsfield must close

PRESS RELEASE 10 April 2015

At its meeting on Thursday 9 April, Kidlington parish council’s policy-making Policy and Finance Committee voted that the controversial nearby Campsfield immigration detention centre should close. It reiterated its opposition also to any expansion, and stated that ‘the provision of large scale immigration detention facilities does not accord with the UNHCR guidelines on the use of detention only as a last resort, but rather as a deterrent for those seeking refuge. We are concerned about the impact on many of the detainees of prolonged detention, and call on the centre to be closed’. Continue reading

Campsfield: unprecedented developments – Protesters step up call for an end to immigration detention


Within the space of a few weeks:

  1. An all-party parliamentary inquiry published a report on The Use of Immigration Detention and recommended a 28 day time limit to detention, proper judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain people, less use of detention, and more use of non-punitive community based alternatives to detention (3 March[1])
  2. The biggest-ever wave of protest by immigration detainees in the UK began and spread to 8 of 11 detention centres in the UK (9 March[2])
  3. The government withdrew its application to double the size of Campsfield immigration detention centre near Oxford from 256 to 566 places. (12 March)
  4. The Labour Party has said that in power it would end the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants. (26 March[3])
  5. The government has announced that it will close Haslar immigration detention centre near Portsmouth (26 March[4])
  6. The government has announced that it intends not to detain more asylum seekers and migrants in future, the first time any government has made such a commitment. (26 March[5])

Continue reading



CGMS consultants, acting for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, have now written to Cherwell District Council formally withdrawing the planning application to expand Campsfield.

Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said:

“This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.”

Carol Day at Leigh Day, solicitors acting for Stop Campsfield Expansion who wrote the 7-page letter to Cherwell Council that prompted the postponement of consideration of the application and then its withdrawal, said:

 “This is the right decision and very good news. The approach being taken by Cherwell Borough Council was clearly wrong in law. The onus was on the Home Office to prove that very special circumstances to justify this inappropriate development in the Green Belt were established. The information before the Council completely failed to make the case.”

Campaign to Close Campsfield: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Tim 07721 771 835, Gill 01993 703994
Leigh Day: David Standard, Head of Media Relations 01949 850246 07540 332717  dstandard@leighday.co.uk


The Campsfield expansion planning application will NOT now be considered at the next Cherwell District Council planning meeting.
It is expected that the application won’t be considered until after the general election. It’s possible that it could go to the planning meeting due to be held on Thursday 21 May.
Updates to follow when possible.

See also http://www.asylum-welcome.org/index.php/campsfield  for the full list of organisations supporting the Stop Campsfield Expansion coalition.

Healthcare in Campsfield 2

MARCH 2015

Doctors make 41 Rule 35 reports about people detained in Campsfield but only one is released

A recent Home Office reply to a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that: Continue reading