25 YEARS TOO LONG: CLOSURE OF CAMPSFIELD TO BE MARKED WITH PROTEST AND REFLECTION IN OXFORD THIS WEEK

On 29 November 1993, the first minibus full of immigration detainees arrived at Campsfield House IRC. Oxford resident Bill Mackeith, joint organiser of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, was one of twelve protestors who came to meet them. He was there, in shame and solidarity, to protest a system that (still) allows migrants (including refugees and asylum seekers) to be held without charge, time-limit or proper judicial oversight, in a network of prisons run for private profit.

A quarter of a century later, campaigners will mark the anniversary with a couple of free public events: an evening of reflection and discussion on 25 years of resistance to Campsfield on Thursday 22nd November (7pm, Oxford Town Hall), featuring testimony from an ex-detainee and a new exhibition about the campaign, and a lively protest outside Campsfield itself on Saturday 24th November (12 noon, at the main gates).

This year’s anniversary demonstration will be different as the campaign’s twenty-five year anniversary coincides with the welcome news that Campsfield is finally to close. Bill says, ‘We think soberly of all the harm done, the lives damaged or destroyed, and those lost – 18-year-old Kurd Ramazan Kamluca in June 2005 and Moldovan Ianos Dragotan in August 2011 – at Campsfield over the past twenty-five years.’

Throughout this time, detainees have protested about their conditions of imprisonment and for their release, and campaigners outside have sought to amplify their voices. There have been regular (monthly) demonstrations, rooftop protests, hunger strikes, interventions from MPs and prominent academics (that saw the expansion of Campsfield shelved in 2015) – and even a solidarity march to London.

In recent years, initiatives like Detention Unlocked, Freed Voices and the These Walls Must Fall campaign have focused public attention on the myriad of human rights abuses stemming from the current system. In 2015, an all-party parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention warned of “significant mental health costs for detainees, as well as considerable financial costs to the taxpayer”, and demanded a 28 day time-limit. This report was welcomed by Amnesty International but has yet to be implemented by the government. In Oxford, campaigners have vowed to keep fighting until “barbed wire Britain” is a thing of the past.

Statement from Bill MacKeith, joint organiser, on behalf of the campaign:

‘The announcement that Campsfield is to close is long overdue. But the misery and injustice of immigration detention continues at Yarl’s Wood, Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, Brook and Tinsley, Morton Hall, and Dungavel. These too have to go. We shall work for that.’

Join campaigners on the steps of Oxford Town Hall for a photograph with the banner at 6.30pm on Thursday 22nd November.

Contact: Bill MacKeith: 01865 558145
closecampsfield@riseup.net

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GOVERNMENT’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT CAMPSFIELD WILL CLOSE

Statement from Bill MacKeith, joint organiser:

‘”The announcement that Campsfield is to close is long overdue.

‘We think soberly of all the harm done, the lives damaged or destroyed, and those lost – 18-year-old Kurd Ramazan Kamluca in June 2005 and Moldovan Ianos Dragotan in August 2011 – at Campsfield over the past twenty-five years.

‘The name of our campaign is Campaign to Close Campsfield and End All Immigration Detention.

‘With Campsfield next May, four detention centres will have closed in four years. The number of people in detention is currently down some 20 per cent from the peak in 2015.

‘But the misery and injustice of immigration detention continues at Yarl’s Wood, Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, Brook and Tinsley, Morton Hall, and Dungavel. These too have to go. We shall work for that.’

At the end of this month, to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of Campsfield, we shall be organising a big demo at Campsfield on Saturday the 24th, but also a special event at 7pm on Thursday 22nd November in Oxford Town Hall, where people who have been involved inside and outside Campsfield in resisting detention will tell their stories and talk about where next.

Flyer for 22nd and 24th November.

25 YEARS TOO LONG!

25th November 1993: First immigration detainees brought from Harmondsworth detention centre. Twelve demonstrators meet minibuses at Campsfield main gates and demand freedom for detainees. Ever since, people inside and outside the centre have demanded:
Close Campsfield and end all immigration detention

celebrate 25 years of resistance: Thursday 22 November 2018 7pm, Oxford Town Hall, speakers on experiences during 25 years of struggle, including people who have been detained and campaigners, exhibitions, stalls, art, music – memory, hope, action

demonstrate: Saturday 24 November 2018,  12 noon Campsfield main gates Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 1RE
11 am bike ride Martyrs’ Memorial, St Giles, Oxford
Speakers: people who have been detained, local MPs Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon), Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East), open mic, Horns of Plenty

2.30-5pm Barbed Wire Britain gathering: Exeter Hall, Kidlington OX5 1AB, refreshments, experiences, Stansted 15 solidarity, future actions

Supported by Oxford City of Sanctuary, Oxford Migrant Solidarity, Amnesty International Oxford University, AI Oxford City, Oxfordshire Refugee Solidarity, Oxford and District Trades Union Council

Please share widely:
Campsfield 25 A4 Poster

22 Nov meeting Facebook event
Register for 22 Nov meeting here

24 Nov demo Facebook event

September monthly demo


Many thanks to Unite Tom Mann branch, Coventry, for the £500 cheque presented at the monthly demo at Campsfield on 29 September.

25 YEARS TOO LONG! Anniversary demo 24th November

There will be an anniversary demo on Saturday 24th November 2018, marking 25 years since the first detainees arrived at Campsfield.

Where: Campsfield main gates, Langford Lane OX5 1RE
When: 12 noon – 2pm at Campsfield
Followed by Barbed Wire Britain get-together meeting at Exeter Hall, Kidlington, OX5 1AB2.30 – 4.30pm.  All welcome.

Full details of all to follow soon.

 

Refugee Week Meeting – Tuesday 19 June – Reporting Britain’s Immigration Secrets

Showing of extracts from

Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets
The BBC Panorama programme about G4S abuse of people imprisoned in Brook detention centre, first shown in September 2017 (winner of 2018 BAFTA Current Affairs award

followed by speakers including:
Rev Nathan Ward, former senior manager with G4S.
Caroline Bannock, Community Editor of the Guardian, part of the team investigating and reporting on the Windrush generation and their families mistreated by the Home Office and in some cases detained and deported.
Plus local print and broadcast journalists.

7.30 pm Tuesday 19th June 2018
The Long Room, Oxford Town Hall, OX1 1BX

 Part of Oxford Refugee Week

https://i0.wp.com/refugeeweek.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RWlogo.jpg

 

 

FLYER

PRESS RELEASE: National Delegate Meeting of Journalists’ Union Demands Access to Immigration Detention Centres

Lynn Degele, delegate from the Oxford branch of the National Union of Journalists, proposed a motion at the NUJ national Delegate Meeting in Southport last weekend demanding the right of access for journalists to immigration detention centres such as Campsfield, near Oxford.

The resolution was carried unanimously by over 120 delegates, and the union’s National Executive Council is now charged with seeking changes to the law and regulations to secure its demands.

The Campaign to Close Campsfield is holding its monthly demonstration at Campsfield main gates this Saturday at noon. Bill MacKeith, joint organiser of the campaign said:

Last September’s BBC Panorama exposure of abuse by G4S guards in Brook House detention centre near Gatwick was only possible because of the bravery of one detention centre guard and hidden camera techniques. Continue reading