Tag Archives: deportation

Anniversary Demonstration – 24 YEARS TOO LONG!

At 12 noon Saturday 25th November  there will be an anniversary demo at Campsfield main gates, Langford Lane OX5 1RE

SPEAKERS:Layla Moran MP (Oxford W), Anneliese Dodds MP (Oxford E), Freed Voices, Movement for Justice, Stansted 15
GUEST APPEARANCE: Robb Johnson**

Bike ride to Campsfield: meet 10.30 Martyrs’ Memorial, Oxford

2.30-4.30 Barbed Wire Britain meetup: briefings, plan future action, refreshments, food; Exeter Hall, Kidlington, OX5 1AB

November 1993, 2 white vans brought the first detainees to the new Campsfield detention prison from Harmondsworth near Heathrow. Since then over 30,000 people have been locked up here without time limit, without charge or proper legal representation in a place run for profit (currently by MITIE). And detainees and their supporters have insisted, month by month, year by year, that it be closed, along withFl all other detention centres.

Close Campsfield, end all immigration detention!
For freedom of movement and the right to stay !
Stop deportations !
Unite the families !

CCC 24 flyer

** Robb Johnson is also playing a gig on Friday 24 November, 7.30pm
St Aldates Tavern, email pete.cann@hotmail.co.uk to book

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Letter to the Oxford Times

Dear Sir,

Recent tragic events in Lampedusa caused international concern when hundreds of migrants were drowned. The instability in their countries has driven people to risk making perilous journeys towards Europe, often in vessels that are entirely unsafe.

At last humanitarian issues and the needs of these migrants are being acknowledged.

But look closer to home, to Oxfordshire.

You may have noticed reporting of the fire at Campsfield House IRC, (Immigration Removal Centre) near Kidlington, on Friday night. People are locked up there, often for months, years in some cases, prior to being removed or deported. There is no time limit. The distress, depression, loss of hope and despair detainees go through is well documented. Their detention is purely administrative, for the convenience of the Home Office. Human rights are ignored to make the statistics look ‘good’, regardless of what happens when they are sent back. Many have had no legal representation, have never had their case properly heard, are not believed.

Between January and June this year 52 detainees attempted suicide and 251 self harmed across the whole estate. These figures are the worst ever recorded.

Hostility not humanity is the attitude encouraged by Teresa May in her recent speech in the House of Commons, introducing the new Immigration Bill. Her words encouraged xenophobia and fear and hatred of migrants who come here to escape persecution or in some cases to get work, often to send money home to enable their families to survive.

How is it that this and other IRCs remain open, at enormous expense to the tax payer and often irreparable human cost to the detainees, without appearing to be to be a matter of public shame or even debate? Are we not concerned?

Gill Baden (Campaign to Close Campsfield)

19 Years Too Long! Anniversary demo at Campsfield

Nearly 100 people came to the demonstration outside Campsfield main gates to mark the 19th anniversary of the detention centre opening in 1993.

Despite the rain there was a feeling of hope and inspiration –  that if all the groups concerned worked together, these centres would soon be a memory –  part of a barbaric past, and that people will move freely across the world. 

People from Hackney Migrant Support, No Borders London and Oxford, Coventry Trades Council, Warwick University STAR and Amnesty International – the latter in numbers on a coach, Oxford Migrant Support were among those attending. Some people did the Bike Ride out from Oxford.

Chants calling for freedom of movement, and an end to detentions and deportations, and the drumming of Oxford samba band Breach of the Peace elicited shouts from detainees and a number of appreciative phone calls from them to the mobile whose number was displayed on a banner by demonstrators.

Speakers included

  • Toomaj Karimi from Iran and London, who was detained for 18.5 months in Lindholm, Strangeways and Harmondsworth
  • Shiar from London No Borders and Stop Deportations and
  • John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, whose constituency near Heathrow includes both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres.

Demonstrators also went round the back of the centre to communicate with other detainees, across the football field which detainees have been prevented from using since Campsfield opened.

After the demonstration there was a very useful meeting in Exeter Hall, Kidlington  which made a number of decisions about organisation and future events. Soup was provided at the demo, and lunch at the meeting.

UPDATE on hunger strikers

Tarik Adam Rahma’s removal directions have been cancelled. Thanks so much to everyone who took action today. Concerns persist about his health and continued detention. Updates will be posted when possible.

In addtion, Ali Abdullah Ahmed has been released from detention. Thanks too to all who called for his release.

 

UKBA breaching own guidelines on detention of torture victims ~Sudanese man’s hunger strike reaches 56 days ~ PLEASE CONTACT AIRLINE TODAY TO STOP DEPORTATION TOMORROW

TARIK ADAM RAHMA, a victim of torture under the current Khartoum regime has been on hunger strike for 56 days in protest against his indefinite detention. The UK Border Agency’s own guidelines explicitly state that victims of torture cannot be held in detention.

His condition, of deep concern to medical organisations, has worsened due to UKBA failing to provide him with regular attention from a doctor, despite extreme stomach pain and stabbing pains in his chest, as well as back pain from a pre-existing condition.

In his medical report, Medical Justice has stated “This failure to manage him appropriately is very concerning and puts the patient at significant risk.  In our opinion Tarik Rahma was not fit for detention at the time we saw him and we are certain that he had not been fit for detention for several days”.

As a non-Arab Darfuri, Tarik is classed by current case law as being at risk of persecution should he be returned to Darfur.

Detention Action said: “A paracetamol cannot cure the scars left by torture in Darfur or the mental anguish that comes from being locked up indefinitely in a detention centre in the UK. The courts have ruled that people with serious mental illnesses were not and cannot be properly looked after in detention centres. And in our experience, almost everyone’s physical and mental health deteriorates while they are in detention. For people with complex mental health issues, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from torture, this deterioration is dramatic.”

Olivia Warham, Waging Peace Director said – “Holding victims of torture in detention is a breach of UKBA’s own guidelines. This man has suffered from torture in Sudan and came to the UK to find safety in asylum. Instead of refuge he has been subjected to further anguish that has severely impacted on his medical condition. The UKBA should adhere to its own guidelines immediately.”

Freedom from Torture report The Second Torture says: “Policy guidance and legislation make clear that individuals who have independent evidence of torture should be released, absent very exceptional circumstances.”  The report examined 50 separate cases where a person with ‘medical evidence that accords well with their account of torture’ was held in detention between May 2010 and May 2011.  They speak of the “shameful circumstances in which torture survivors are routinely held in immigration detention in the UK”.

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “Concerns about the healthcare provided to asylum seekers in immigration detention are not new and need to be taken seriously. Asylum seekers often face particularly serious physical and mental health problems as a result of their experiences, so it is essential their health needs are addressed while in detention. The government is depriving people of their liberty, and it is a matter of the utmost importance that those people receive the same standard of healthcare that one would expect if living in the community.”

Tarik has removal orders for Thursday 19 July. His solicitor lodged a application for Judicial Review last week, and his removal orders should have been cancelled as a result. Campaigners are concerned that the UK Border Agency have not yet done so and are asking supporters to contact Alitalia airline calling on them to give assurances they will not fly him. There are suspicions that the UK Border Agency knew they would not be able to deport Tarik and issued removal directions ahead of his bail hearing, which had to be cancelled as a result.

Notes:

1. Ali Abdullah Ahmed also remains in detention at Harmondsworth and on hunger strike. Campaigners are hopeful that legal action will secure his release shortly.

2. The text of the callout sent to supporters of Tarik and Ali reads as follows:

TELL ALITALIA AIRLINES NOT TO DEPORT TARIK, ON HUNGER STRIKE FOR 56 DAYS

The UK Border Agency have issued removal orders for Tarik Adam Rahma, a Darfuri torture survivor judged by Medical Justice as unfit for detention and who has now been on hunger strike for 56 days. Although his solicitor applied for Judicial Review last week and the removal orders should therefore be cancelled, the UKBA has not yet cancelled them and as things stand he will be removed on Thursday morning at 6.50am, flight AZ201 at Heathrow Terminal 4.

Please contact Alitalia, calling on them not to fly Tarik on Thursday. You could tell them that with an outstanding application for Judicial Review, they will be participating in an illegal deportation if they fly Tarik.

You could also tell them that he will be in an incredibly weak state due to his ongoing hunger strike, and that he is not fit to fly. If he should pass out or worse during the flight, his supporters will hold them responsible and consider taking legal action against them.

Ask Alitalia to give written assurances that they will not fly Tarik.

Email: customer.relationsUK@alitalia.it (you may wish to copy in Alitalia’s media team – zivillica.antonella@alitalia.it; mangone.valentina@alitalia.it; sanguinetti.paolo@alitalia.it; speranza.giovanna@alitalia.it )

Fax: 0870 2255 088
Tel: 0844 8153649

You may wish to contact the UK Border Agency directly, asking why they have not yet cancelled Tarik’s removal orders and calling on them to release him from detention. Some numbers that have previously worked include: 0208 588 2923 / 0207 035 0195

Model text for emails and faxes (feel free to adapt or write your own):

Dear Alitalia

You may not be aware that a torture survivor from Darfur, Tarik Adam Rhama, is booked on flight AZ201 at 6.50am on Thursday 19 July.

Tarik does not wish to fly. He has been on hunger strike for 56 days as of 18/07/12, and it is unlikely he will be fit to fly. You have a duty of care to all your passengers, and should not fly persons who are in no condition to travel.

Tarik’s solicitor lodged an application for Judicial Review last week; his removal orders should have been cancelled as a result, and he should not be flying. The UKBA have not yet cancelled his removal orders for reasons known only to them; having been made aware of the impending Judicial Review, you should not fly him regardless of the UKBA’s failures.

Aside from the reasons above, Tarik should never have been placed in this situation. He should have been granted asylum at the outset as he is a non-Arab Darfuri, classed by current case law as being at risk should he be returned to Darfur. Returning him to Italy could be the first step to returning him to Darfur, where he will be in severe danger. The reputation of you airline is at risk. Please be aware that should you fly Tarik on Thursday, I will refuse to use Alitalia and encourage my friends and contacts to do likewise.

Please reply confirming that you will not fly Tarik on Thursday.

Yours sincerely

YourName

Immigration court work incompatible with new Oxford Lord Mayor’s position?

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE USE

The Campaign to Close Campsfield today expressed serious reservations about the expected appointment of Councillor Alan Armitage as Lord Mayor of Oxford.

Councillor Armitage serves as a lay member of a panel advising judges on whether foreign national prisoners should be deported. He has no relevant qualifications, but his vote is equal to a judge’s when majority votes are taken. He is paid for the role.

The Campaign to Close Campsfield opposes all racist deportations. Foreign nationals who have been convicted of a criminal offence are often deported, although they should not be if they have received a sentence of no more than 12 months (for example, entering the country without documentation specified by the UK Border Agency). This provision is often called “double punishment”, as deportation is essentially a second punishment for a crime whose sentence has already been served. Campaigners point out that double punishment is racist discrimination, since foreign nationals convicted of a criminal offence are treated differently to British Citizens convicted of the same offence.

Aileen Mooney, representing the Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: “The Lord Mayor is supposed to represent all the communities in Oxford during his term of office. But thanks to his role in Britain’s racist immigration system, Oxford’s First Citizen could end up deporting other citizens of Oxford. How can he maintain the trust of all of Oxford’s residents when at any moment he could recommend deporting some of them? We have to ask whether these roles are compatible.”

In the UK, immigration detention is inextricably linked to deportation. While asylum seekers are frequently detained arbitrarily at all stages of the asylum process, detention is used routinely ahead of deportation. Oxford City Council has existing policy calling for the closure of Campsfield. Councillor Armitage has not clarified whether he personally believes that the deportations he recommends could be carried out without recourse to immigration detention centres such as Campsfield. Campaigners may argue his role is incompatible
with Council policy.

Members of the Campaign to Close Campsfield have met with Councillor Armitage but felt his views on immigration were inconsistent. The Campaign hopes to have further discussions with the Lord Mayor together with migrants in Oxford.

ENDS

Notes:

1. The following Motion was passed by Oxford City Council on 17 September 2004 and has subsequently been renewed:

“Campsfield House – Expansion

That Campsfield House began to be used to lock up asylum seekers over 10 years ago.
That it has been plagued by suicide attempts, hunger strikes and mass protest ever since.
That in 2002 the Government finally promised to close this outdated and overcrowded detention centre.
That recently the Government went back on its promise and decided to expand the detention facilities at Campsfield to nearly 300 places.
That Oxford is not only home to many asylum seekers but also of many of the groups that support them.
The regular meetings of the “Close Campsfield” Campaign in the Town Hall, representing a wide variety of Oxford City residents who wish to see Campsfield House shut down.
That those released from Campsfield House often make their way to Oxford, the nearest major town, calling for a special response in our provision of public services.
That Oxford City Council has a responsibility to give an example of respect and tolerance for asylum seekers, and to ensure that they are welcomed into Oxford’s community.
That treating asylum seekers like criminals is inhumane and counterproductive.
That the UK should meet its international treaty obligations to treat asylum seekers with respect and dignity.
That Campsfield House should be closed, not expanded.
1.      To write to both of Oxford’s MPs, urging them to put pressure on the Government to rethink the expansion of Campsfield House.
2.      To write to Home Office, urging them to close Campsfield House, and to withdraw the plans for an additional Oxfordshire detention centre at Bicester.”

2. The Campaign to Close Campsfield can be contacted on 01865 558 145.