A few photos from the demo yesterday with Freed Voices, Movement for Justice, Oxford City of Sanctuary, Oxford Migrant Solidarity, Oxford City Amnesty, Oxford University Amnesty, Warwick Amnesty Thanks to all for being there.
Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, couldn’t be there but sent the following message of support:
Close Campsfield message November 28th 2015
I am very pleased to send a message of support to all of you who have come today to mark 22 years of Campsfield House. I am sorry that a personal commitment means I am unable to be there in person but I stand with you in your protest today.
Thank you all for bringing attention to Campsfield, and especially for standing up for those who are detained in these centres, giving voice to the thousands of people who are locked up without charge and without time-limit. I am very proud that so many of my constituents volunteer to visit people detained in Campsfield House, bringing them support and friendship and, importantly, listen to them and hear their stories.
The government argument runs that detention is an essential part of immigration control, ensuring people who are not meant to be here leave the country. But why then are 47% of those who are detained later go on to be released? Why then do we pay millions of pounds per year in unlawful detention claims? Why then does Germany receive four times as many asylum claims but detains seven times fewer people?
Not long ago I spoke in Parliament in support of the excellent Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention report. In this speech I said:
‘There have been far too many scandals about the conditions in detention centres. There have been enough calls for reform from campaigners, experts and former detainees. Every death in detention, such as those of Ianos Dragutan and Ramazan Kumluca in Campsfield, is one too many. There have been enough Government reviews. This time let us end this cruel and shameful practice by bringing an end to indefinite detention and looking at international best practice and community-based alternatives.’
I hope that we can take hope in the cross-bench support for the inquiry recommendations, in the ending of the Detained Fast Track, the closure of Dover and in the strength of the voices calling for reform and we can together close Campsfield and bring about a more just and humane future where those who seek sanctuary in the UK are not put behind barbed wire.
A report from the Barbed Wire Britain meeting following the demo will follow…