Oxford dons take Mr Cameron to task over immigration detention at nearby Campsfield

Launch of open letter to Prime Minister

1pm Saturday 15 November, at the Radcliffe Square, Oxford OX1 4AJ

The letter, signed by 9 heads of college and 61 other senior academics of Oxford University, calls for the immediate release of all Campsfield detainees and the withdrawal of plans to expand the immigration detention centre.

Photo op at 1pm: in front of the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, the distinguished barrister and Principal of Mansfield College, Baroness Helena Kennedy, and Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography and other signatories will launch the letter to Prime Minister David Camera on its way to Number 10 Downing Street.

FlashMob at 12pm : Members of the University’s Amnesty International group will display giant versions of the letter text and names of the signatories.

Quote: “We’ve had an incredible response from both academic staff and students whilst coordinating this letter, with Oxford University Student Union also unanimously passing a motion to call for the closure of Campsfield House. The UK detains more migrants, for longer and with less judicial oversight than any other country in Europe, yet the facts are clear: immigration detention doesn’t act as a supposed deterrent to immigration and contravenes basic human rights.” [Jo Hynes, Oxford University Amnesty International President]

Contact: Jo Hynes, Oxford University Amnesty International Joanna.hynes@st-annes.ox.ac.uk 07907 597 936

 

Dear Prime Minister

As current and former senior members of Oxford University, we wish to express our concern over your government’s policy of detaining immigrants.

We believe that this policy is contrary to the spirit of democracy, the Human Rights Act, and the United Nations Convention on Refugees. Immigrants should not be detained for administrative reasons alone.

We certainly do not find it acceptable that they should be detained without trial, without time limit, without proper judicial oversight and with little chance of bail, and thus treated worse than criminals; we understand that some have been detained for many months, even years, before being released or deported.

We believe that the manner in which the decisions are made to detain some people and not others appears to be arbitrary, and that it flouts the normal rules of evidence and conventions of civilised behaviour. Immigration officials are, in effect, acting as a law unto themselves.

We are concerned at what we consider is a dangerous undermining of democratic principles and the rule of law, and we fear that, if persisted with, it could open the way to further abuses.

Furthermore, we are greatly concerned about the government’s plans to transform Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre into a 580-bed mega- centre, making it one of the largest detention centres in Europe. Not only does the UK not need to be expanding its detention estate, but Campsfield House, which was opened over 20 years ago as a small, 180-bed centre, is an inappropriate site for such major expansion. Instead we call for a reversal of this proposed expansion.

We note the case, recently highlighted by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, of Canadian Alois Dvorzac (84), who died, handcuffed, in hospital soon after being moved from Harmondsworth detention centre where he was held despite suffering from dementia, a heart problem and diabetes[i]; and that of Isa Muazu an asylum seeker forcibly removed to Nigeria by special charter flight at a cost of over £100,000 despite his lengthy hunger strike and being judged by doctors to be too sick to be detained or deported.[ii]

Above all, we are concerned at the fate of the detainees themselves, and we appeal for their early release.

Yours sincerely

Professor Roger Ainsworth
Master of St Catherine’s College

Professor Alan Bowman
Principal of Brasenose College

Professor Richard Cawardine
President of Corpus Christi College

Will Hutton
Principal of Hertford College

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Principal of Mansfield College

Dame Hermione Lee
President of Wolfson College

The Very Reverend Christopher Lewis
Dean of ChristchurchCollege

Lord Ken Macdonald QC
Warden of Wadham College

Dr. Alice Prochaska
Principal of Somerville College

Professor Jocelyn Alexander
Department of International Development

Professor Bridget Anderson
Professor of Migration and Citizenship& Deputy Director of COMPAS

Professor Frank Arntzenius
Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Oliver Bakewell
Co- Director of the International Migration Institute

Professor Marcus Banks
Professor of Visual Anthropology

Dr. Mette Louise Berg
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Dr Brenda Boardman, MBE, FEI
Emeritus Fellow, Environmental Change Institute

Professor John Broome
Emeritus White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy

Dr. Daniel Butt
Department of Politics and International Relations

Dr. Lucy Carpenter MBE
Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College

Professor Stephen Castles
International Migration Institute

Dr. Elaine Chase
Department of Social Policy and Intervention

Professor Robin Cohen
Emeritus Professor and Former Director of the International Migration Institute

Professor Martin Conway
Professor of Contemporary European History

Professor Amanda Cooper- Sarkar
Fellow of St. Hilda’s College

Dr Cathryn Costello
Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law

Professor Roger Crisp
Professor of Moral Philosophy

Dr. Patricia Daley
School of Geography and the Environment

Professor Danny Dorling
School of Geography and the Environment

Dr. Elizaabeth Ewart
Fellow of Linacre College

Professor Doyne Farmer
Mathematical Institute

Dr. Elena Fiddian- Qasmiyeh
Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre

Professor Michael Freeden
Emeritus Professor of Politics

Dr Jane Garnett
Fellow in History

Dr. Matthew J. Gibney
Department of International Development

Jo Hamilton
Environmental Change Institute

Dr Barbara E. Harrell-Bond OBE
Emerita Professor and Founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, 1982-1996

Dr. Alana Harris
Fellow of Linacre College

Professor Stephen Harrison
Professor of Latin Literature

Professor Barbara Harriss- White
Emeritus Professor of Development Studies

Dr. Sudhir Hazareesingh
Department of Politics and International Relations

Professor Anthony Heath CBE
Emeritus Professor of Sociology

Professor Andrew Hurrell
Professor of International Relations

Dr Will Jones
Refugee Studies Centre

Professor Alan Knight
Emeritus Professor at the Latin America Centre

Dr Anthony Lemon
Emeritus Fellow, Mansfield College

Dr. Giulia Liberatore
Centre of Migration, Policy and Society

Professor Paul Lodge
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Sabina Lovibond
Emeritus Fellow of Worcester College

Dr. Fiona McConnell
School of Geography and the Environment

Dr Dana Mills
Hertford College

Professor John Nightingale
Fellow of History

Professor Michael Noble
Emeritus Proffessor of Social Policy

Professor Avner Offer
Emeritus Professor of Economic History

Bernard O’ Donoghue
Emeritus Fellow, Wadham College

Heather O’Donoghue
Fellow of Linacre College

Professor Judith Pallot
School of Geography and the Environment

Scot Peterson
Bingham Research Fellow in Constitutional Studies

Dr. Georg Picot
Department of Social Policy and Intervention

Dr Theron Pummer
Plumer Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy

Professor Ritchie Robertson
FBA Taylor Professor of German

Professor Lyndal Roper
Regius Professor of History

Dr. Diego Sánchez- Ancochea
Associate Professor in the Political Economy of Latin America

Professor Subir Sarkar
Fellow of Linacre College

Teresa Smith
Former head of department of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention

Dr. Amy Styring
School of Archaeology

Professor Adam Swift
Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College

Sarah Walker
Centre of Migration, Policy and Society

Gavin Williams
Emeritus Fellow at St Peter’s College

Professor Martin Williams
Professor of Engineering Science

Professor Roger Zetter
Emeritus Professor in Refugee Studies

 

[i]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10574035/Dementia-patient-84-died-in-handcuffs.html

 

[ii]     http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/30/theresa-may-hunger-striker-ifa-muaza-asylum-uk

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