Category Archives: Protests

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!

20 YEARS TOO LONG! Demo and weekend details

Please note new venues for Ice and Fire Performance on Friday 29 Nov and workshops on Satruday 30 Nov after the demo.

(Sorry for any confusion, the change was out of our control.)

20yrsfinalnewvenues

 

 

 

PROTESTERS MEET IN SADNESS OUTSIDE CAMPSFIELD HOUSE

PRESS RELEASE – SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 2013
‘what kind of country allows its government to lock up innocent people in a ‘prison’ that even the fire officials say is unsafe?’ where is the UK’s tradition of human rights now?’ says Liz Peretz,Member of the Campaign to Close Campsfield.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In the latest of a series of fires in UK immigration detention centres, two people from Campsfield House, at Kidlington, near Oxford have been hospitalised. This must call our attention, yet again, to the Home Office ‘duty of Care’ towards the people held in Immigration detention in this country.

The Chief Fire Officers’ Association press release following the incident makes it clear that the Home Office has continued to ignore their recommendation to fit sprinklers in Campsfield, thus endangering the lives of all those inside http://www.cfoa.org.uk/16022.

IRCs are a high fire risk, not because of the nature of the people locked up, but because the doors are locked, the buildings are behind high fences, access is often inadequate and often poor construction. What kind of society puts people in its care knowingly in such danger?

We read, appalled, of loss of life and injury during fires in nightclubs, or the collapse of factories abroad, thinking this would not happen here – but this latest incident – and the ones before, at Campsfield, at Yarl’s Wood and at Harmondsworth, are all similarly the result of ‘cutting corners’.

Despite the lesson of Yarl’s Wood, where fire spread because there were no sprinklers, and despite the advice of the CFOA in 2007 that they should be fitted at Campsfield, this was not done.

The people – migrants – who have endured these incidents have already, many of them, endured too much – persecution before they arrived in the UK, hardship – certainly – since their arrival, and the bewildering violence of being thrown into arbitrary detention.

It is long past time for the government to review their policy of immigration detention, and at the same time take their duty to care for the people they arbitrarily detain seriously.

As a first step, they should request a thorough inspection of all the detention estate by the Chief Fire Officers Association, and act on their recommendations immediately, before another disaster occurs.

 

SUDANESE DETAINEES ENTER SECOND MONTH OF HUNGER STRIKE AMID SERIOUS HEALTH CONCERNS

Two Sudanese men currently detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in London have been on hunger strike for 37 days in protest against their indefinite detention, and are determined to continue until they are released. Visitors and human rights activists supporting their cases are extremely concerned for their health.

Tarik Adam Rhama and Ali Abdullah Ahmed began their strike on 22 May in Campsfield IRC (Kidlington, nr. Oxford) but have since been moved to Harmondsworth. Tarik reports that he was subject to torture while imprisoned in Sudan, while a medical examination could not show conclusively that Ali is over 18. Both should therefore fall under UKBA’s category of “persons considered unsuitable for detention.” Their state of health and the fact that neither of their removals is imminent argue further for their release.

Both men are non-Arab Darfuris and are therefore classed by current case law as being at risk of persecution should they be returned to Darfur; Tarik was arrested in 2008 in Khartoum and believes he would be killed if he were to be returned to Sudan. His father is from the Tunjur tribe and his mother is from the Nuba mountains, a region whose inhabitants are currently the target of considerable persecution at the hands of the Sudanese government; upon his arrival in Dover in March 2012, he was immediately detained, then moved to Campsfield, where he began his strike after being in detention without indication of when he might be released for over two months.

There are further complaints relating to inhumane treatment and lack of medical care in detention; an independent doctor’s report described observations of Ali’s vital signs taken by the detention centre during his strike as “sporadic.” At one point, staff at Harmondsworth ignored Tarik’s request for a lower bed when he complained that after 30 days of only water he was too weak to climb up to the top bunk bed he was allocated. He is not receiving regular attention from a doctor, but only from a nurse, despite extreme stomach pain and stabbing pains in his chest, as well as back pain from a pre-existing condition. He cannot walk without difficulty or speak loudly. He is not kept informed of what will happen to him.

Access to legal advice with appropriate translation has also been very infrequent. At over thirty days into his hunger strike, although legal appointments had been conducted with translators present, they had been Algerian or Iraqi rather than speakers of Sudanese Arabic.

Campaigners have vowed to continue calling for both men’s release; demonstrators in London on 30th June participating in one of a number of protests around the world against Sudan’s NCP regime on its 23rd anniversary will also be encouraged to contact the Home Office in support of the hunger strikers’ pleas.

All other Sudanese men who maintained the hunger strike started on 22 May have now been released. Many of the same factors applicable in the cases of those who have been released are also present in Tarik and Ali’s cases. Campaigners say this is a further demonstration of the arbitrary nature of immigration detention and UK Border Agency decision making.

IMMIGRATION DETAINEEES’ HUNGER STRIKE ENTERS WEEK FOUR AS CAMPAIGN FOR THEIR RELEASE MOUNTS

Four Sudanese men currently detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook
Immigration Removal Centres in London have taken only water for 26
days in a protest at their indefinite detention which began at
Campsfield IRC, near Oxford.

Following a demonstration in central Oxford on 1 June, campaigners
bombarded the Home Office with phone calls Continue reading

FEARS FOR HEALTH OF DARFURI DETAINEES AS HUNGER STRIKE AT CAMPSFIELD IRC CONTINUES

Two Sudanese men being held at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre (Kidlington, near Oxford) have refused all food and vitamins for 11 days, in protest at their detention and treatment. Visitors to both are deeply concerned for their health, and at the standard of medical care they are receiving; the men are willing to continue striking “to the extreme” until they are released or removed to a country they regard as safe. A demonstration in their support, held in central Oxford on June 1, was welcomed by the detainees.
Continue reading

Demonstation in support of Campsfield hunger strikers – today 6pm

A demonstration in support of the Campsfield detainee hunger strikers will take place today Friday 1 June at 6pm at Carfax, Oxford. The demo has been called by the local Sudanese community and various campaigning and human rights organisations. All are welcome.

UPDATE
Photos from 1 June demo

13 Darfuri Men on Hunger Strike at Campsfield

PRESS RELEASE
30/5/12
FOR IMMEDIATE USE

13 DARFURI MEN ON HUNGER STRIKE AT CAMPSFIELD DETENTION CENTRE, OXFORDSHIRE

DETENTION CENTRE MANAGEMENT ATTEMPT COVER-UP AND REFUSE PRE BOOKED VISITORS

13 men from Darfur region of Sudan have been on hunger strike for 6 days at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre in Kidlington, near Oxford.

They are all being held in detention without time limit and without any idea as to what will happen to them or when they will be released or removed. They have been held for varying periods of time; the longest being six months. They are demanding that they all be released and granted asylum, but would rather they were removed (to a safe place) than held arbitrarily with no time limit. They have also complained of their treatment inside the centre, saying that they came here asking for refuge, and instead have been locked up and badly treated. One man who was on hunger strike has already been released.

They come from all three regions of Darfur and include members of the Zaghawa, Tama, Mirra, Berti, and Tunjur tribes. At least one of the hunger strikers is a confirmed torture survivor with visible wounds, who is well-known in his home town of Nyala and whose name is instantly recognisable to many Sudanese in the UK. Torture survivors are not supposed to be held in immigration detention under UK law, but campaigning groups say that this law is regularly flouted by the UK Border Agency.

The hunger strikers requested visits and various supporters from Oxford independently organised visits for the evening of 30 May. Despite pre-arranging visits each of the visitors was turned away on different spurious reasons (some with no reason given) once detention centre management realised they were visiting Sudanese men. (Two other regular visitors who were not visiting any of the hunger strikers but who happened to arrive at a similar time were also turned away with no reasons given.) The first visitors, Nazar Eltahir (Chair of the Sudanese community in Oxford) and Tim Flatman (a human rights activist who regularly travels to Sudan/South Sudan and supports Sudanese and South Sudanese migrants in the UK) were told that the person they were visiting had told staff they were not expecting a visitor  and had not heard of them. They asked staff to check again with him and after supposedly doing so the same statement was repeated. Staff said they had spoken to him through a translation service. On leaving the detention centre and phoning the man they were due to visit, he told them that he was expecting the visit and no staff from the detention centre had spoken to him or asked him whether he was expecting a visit or not. Other visitors were told that they had not pre-booked despite their names being clearly visible on the pre-booked list lying on the reception desk.

Supporters have vowed to try and visit the hunger strikers again to support them and intend to submit a complaint alleging that detention centre management attempted to cover up the hunger strike and illegally refused and lied to visitors to the company who manage Campsfield (Mitie), to the Independent Monitoring Board, to the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and to the Minister for Immigration tomorrow (31 May) through their local MP. A demonstration in support of the hunger strikers for Friday 1 June at 6pm in Carfax, Oxford, has also been called by the local Sudanese community and various campaigning and human rights organisations. All are welcome.

ENDS

1. Nazar Eltahir can be contacted on 07810890901 or at nazar167@yahoo.co.uk

2. Tim Flatman can be contacted on 07595 908 405 or at tflatman@gmail.co

3. The hunger strikers can be contacted by phone and are willing to give interviews to press but speak mainly Sudanese Arabic. Contact Nazar or Tim to arrange an interview.

 

18th anniversary demonstration at Campsfield

Sixty demonstrators yesterday demanded that Campsfield be closed, along with all immigration detention centres. Oxford samba band Breach of the Peace played and detainees shouted back and waved white and red cloths from the windows.

Speakers included D, a former Campsfield detainee, who described the ‘hell in there’, said the support from outside was much appreciated by detainees and urged demonstrators to continue.

Gabriel brought solidarity greetings from Peace News. Other speakers were Rebecca from the Coalition Against Bullingdon Immigration Removal Centre, Emma from Medical Justice and Dave from Coventry Trades Council.

The protestors came from London, Warwick, Coventry, Oxfordshire towns and Oxford town and gown.

Earlier, 15 students did a protest bike ride from the Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford to Campsfield.

The protest  was covered on BBC Oxford TV and included  an interview with the former detainee.

After the demonstration, a meeting of the Barbed Wire Britain anti detention network in Kidlington discussed the past year’s anti detention actions and planned future activity in 2012.

Vigil at Carfax, Oxford: suicide at Campsfield House

 

Oxford residents protested at Carfax in Oxford on Wednesday evening at the continued detention of refugees and other migrants at Campsfield detention centre. Their placards announced to passers by that another detainee had taken his own life [yesterday] at the centre 6 miles north of the city. A display also listed the more than a dozen immigration detainees in the UK who have taken their lives, drew attention to two unexplained deaths in the past month of detainees at Colnbrook centre near Heathrow airport, and reminded passers by of the deaths while being deported of Joy Gardiner and, last year, Jimmy Mubenga from Angola. The twenty demonstrators asked: ‘How many more deaths before we call an end to the detention of innocent people?’

This is a link to our report on the inquest into the suicide of Turkish teenager Ramzan Kumluca, in 2006. On that occasion, Campsfield’s management, its “Independent” Monitoring Board, and the Home Office, all professed utter disbelief that it could possibly have been suicide, or that if it had been, it was anything to do with them. The police evidence blew that pretence away in minutes.

We will soon see if Campsfield’s new managers also

exist in a well-maintained cocoon of ignorance, or deep denial, about the reality of which it forms the “business end”.