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Members of the Campaign to Close Campsfield joined Oxford Migrant Solidarity last weekend to hold a stall outside Lush, on Cornmarket, Oxford.
We had lots of conversations about finally closing Campsfield, after 22 years too long! And hope some people who stopped will be able to join us at one of the monthly demonstrations at Campsfield (last Saturday of each month) to show solidarity with those locked up inside.
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…
On 29 November 1993 the first minibus full of people arrived at Campsfield House. Since then over 30,000 people from other countries have been imprisoned there. Many have survived torture and conflict, and are seeking sanctuary in the UK. Many have lived and worked for years in the UK, and have family and friends and a life here. All are HUMAN BEINGS. People are imprisoned in Campsfield and other immigration detention centres WITHOUT CHARGE, for administrative reasons. Many cannot be deported and are subsequently released. But there is NO TIME LIMIT on their EXPENSIVE detention. If you are FED UP with the government’s ‘hostile environment’ and divisive rhetoric, and want to stand up for and reach out to those imprisoned unjustly, JOIN US! There has been PROGRESS in the fight against immigration detention in 2015 – a Parliamentary Inquiry with tough recommendations, legal challenges to the ‘Detained Fast Track’ system, and protests inside and outside detention centres across the UK. LET’S KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!
INVITED SPEAKERS INCLUDE FORMER DETAINEES, OPEN MIKE Bring music, banners!
WHERE? Demonstration at the main gates, Campsfield House Immigration Detention Centre, Langford Lane, Kidlington OX5 1RE.
WHEN? 12 noon, Saturday 28 November.
GETTING THERE Bus: S4 to Oxford Airport, 11.15 am from stop C4 Magdalen Street, Oxford. Bike: meet 11am Martyrs’ Memorial, St Giles, Oxford. London coach: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Followed by Conference of BARBED WIRE BRITAIN Network to End Migrant Detention, for info exchange & planning future action, 2-5pm, Exeter Hall, Oxford Rd, Kidlington, OX5 1AB. Refreshments free.
UPDATE: A few photos from the amazing Movement for Justice demo at Yarl’s Wood.
A coach has been organised by Movement for Justice, tickets available at http://oxfordtoyarlswood7nov.eventbrite.co.uk
Demo facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/755942137885113/
On 10 September there was a parliamentary debate on immigration detention. 25 MPs spoke in favour of the recommendations in the Detention Inquiry report from the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Refugees and Migration. Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, including Campsfield, was not at the debate but Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, was and spoke powerfully against indefinite detention.
The full debate can be read here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150910/debtext/150910-0001.htm#15091022000001
Andrew Smith’s speech is below: Continue reading
This Saturday (12 Sept), there will be a second gathering in Oxford to show solidarity with the refugees trying to reach Europe and protest against the UK government’s inadequate response.
Meet at 12:00 at Bonn Square where the march last Sunday ended.
See the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1497882773843084/