Aims and Strategies of the Campaign

“Campsfield is an abomination to human rights in that it presumes guilt from the outset. Today those loyal protesters who have been branded as cranks and soft-centred do-gooders have been proved right.” Oxford Mail, 17/4/98

Aims:

  • Close Campsfield, other detention centres, and detention wings in prisons
  • Stop immigration detentions and imprisonment
  • Stop racist deportations
  • Repeal immigration laws which reinforce racism

Strategies:
The campaign believes in peaceful protest. At monthly public planning meetings, we plan what we are going to do.

We have three priorities:

  • To build up local public support and awareness of the issues
  • To give the detainees moral support and show that we welcome them here
  • To work with other organisations nationally to achieve the aims of the campaign

What We Are Doing:

We hold a monthly demonstration at Campsfield House. Often we work with other groups on a particular focus for the demonstration. In the past we’ve had ‘Refugees and the Arms Trade’ with local peace groups, ‘Sing down Campsfield’ with a choir, and also demonstrations in conjunction with refugee organisations such as the Community of Zairean Refugees in Great Britain, the Ivorian Relief Action Group, and the Algerian Community Association. At several demonstrations some members of the campaign have taken non-violent direct action such as climbing or decorating the security fence.

We organise events in Oxford and the local area. In December 1994 we organised a march to London to present a petition to Downing Street. In December 1995 campaigners slept out in Oxford to show what the likely effects of the 1996 Immigration and Asylum Act would be for asylum-seekers. In 2001 and 2002 there were camps outside Campsfield.

There have been human rights camps outside Campsfield, lobbies of parliament, public meetings, debates, street stalls, video showings, art exhibitions and street theatre. We seek to involve local schools, trades unions, religious and political groups in our activities.

We publicise the issues through the media. We have written articles for local newspapers, provided press releases locally and nationally, and given interviews on local and national radio and television.

We help support the Campsfield Monitor. This gives detainees’ accounts of what has happened inside Campsfield, and publicises hunger strikes, forced deportations and other news.
Fourth Anniversary Demonstration

We make links with other groups. We helped to found the National Network Against Detentions and Deportations which coordinates action at national level. We have contacts with many refugee organisations. We support Students Against Campsfield and work closely with Oxford Asylum Welcome and Detainee Support, and participate in their training days.

We work to influence the policy of other groups. We send speakers to many groups. The 1995 National Conference of Trades Councils called for an end to immigration detentions. Our motion was adopted by Oxford West and Abingdon Labour Party, who addressed the Labour Party Conference in 1995, although as yet the Labour Party has not adopted our policy. The TGWU, MSF and the NUJ adopted our policy at national level, and locally UNISON, MSF, the NUJ and the Trades Council are among our affiliates. We also have links with other trades unions, political and religious groups, advice centres and community
organisations.

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