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PRESS RELEASE 10 April 2015
At its meeting on Thursday 9 April, Kidlington parish council’s policy-making Policy and Finance Committee voted that the controversial nearby Campsfield immigration detention centre should close. It reiterated its opposition also to any expansion, and stated that ‘the provision of large scale immigration detention facilities does not accord with the UNHCR guidelines on the use of detention only as a last resort, but rather as a deterrent for those seeking refuge. We are concerned about the impact on many of the detainees of prolonged detention, and call on the centre to be closed’. Continue reading
Campsfield: unprecedented developments – Protesters step up call for an end to immigration detention
PRESS RELEASE 27 MARCH 2015
Within the space of a few weeks:
- An all-party parliamentary inquiry published a report on The Use of Immigration Detention and recommended a 28 day time limit to detention, proper judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain people, less use of detention, and more use of non-punitive community based alternatives to detention (3 March)
- The biggest-ever wave of protest by immigration detainees in the UK began and spread to 8 of 11 detention centres in the UK (9 March)
- The government withdrew its application to double the size of Campsfield immigration detention centre near Oxford from 256 to 566 places. (12 March)
- The Labour Party has said that in power it would end the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants. (26 March)
- The government has announced that it will close Haslar immigration detention centre near Portsmouth (26 March)
- The government has announced that it intends not to detain more asylum seekers and migrants in future, the first time any government has made such a commitment. (26 March)
CGMS consultants, acting for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, have now written to Cherwell District Council formally withdrawing the planning application to expand Campsfield.
Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said:
“This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.”
Carol Day at Leigh Day, solicitors acting for Stop Campsfield Expansion who wrote the 7-page letter to Cherwell Council that prompted the postponement of consideration of the application and then its withdrawal, said:
“This is the right decision and very good news. The approach being taken by Cherwell Borough Council was clearly wrong in law. The onus was on the Home Office to prove that very special circumstances to justify this inappropriate development in the Green Belt were established. The information before the Council completely failed to make the case.”
Campaign to Close Campsfield: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Tim 07721 771 835, Gill 01993 703994
Leigh Day: David Standard, Head of Media Relations 01949 850246 07540 332717 firstname.lastname@example.org
STOP CAMPSFIELD EXPANSION PRESS RELEASE
19/02/15 – immediate use
DECISION ON CAMPSFIELD EXPANSION DEFERRED AS CAMPAIGNERS CRITICISE “FLAWED” OFFICERS’ REPORT
Cherwell District Councillors today voted to defer an application to more than double the size of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, due to late receipt of a legal letter by Leigh Day solicitors, representing members of the Stop Campsfield Expansion group.
The letter stated that the approach in the Officer’s Committee Report, prepared by Cherwell District Council and which made recommendations followed by elected Planning Committee Members, “is plainly wrong in law”. The Officer’s Committee Report advised Councillors not to consider relevant evidence, falsely suggested that Planning Matters such as the standard of accommodation were not actually planning matters, and encouraged them to accept Home Office policy statements blindly without the need for evidence.
Campaigners said this vindicated their approach: “This backs up what we’ve been saying from the beginning, that Councillors must consider all the evidence and make up their own minds whether there is a need to detain more migrants,” said Bill MacKeith of the Campaign to Close Campsfield. “Since the Home Office’s own figures confirm that they are releasing more and more detainees without taking further action against them, people who they should never have locked up in the first place, we are confident Councillors will eventually decide that there is no “Need”.”
At a lobby called by Oxford Trades Union Council outside the council offices in Bodicote, Banbury, 40-50 people heard speeches from members of the Movement for Justice; Maurice Wren, head of the Refugee Council of England and Wales; and parliamentary candidates Sally Copley and Larry Sanders from the Labour and Green parties respectively.
The next Cherwell planning committee meeting is on 19 March.
For more information, contact Bill MacKeith on 01865 558 145 or Liz
Peretz on 07791738577
The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said overall this report was a ‘very positive’ inspection. The report makes 84 recommendations for necessary improvements to meet an acceptable standard. ‘How inadequate does a detention centre regime have to be to qualify as inadequate or poor?’ asks Close Campsfield Campaign spokesperson Bill MacKeith.
Overall, the report reveals a catalogue of errors and inadequacies, prominent among which are inadequate health facilities, overcrowding and the detention (against government ‘guidelines’) of sick people and victims of torture, the Home Office riding roughshod over doctors’ ‘Rule 35’ health screening recommendations that detained individuals should be released. Continue reading
For Immediate Release: 30/11/2014
A detainee with mental health issues is in a critical condition after being beaten up by Mitie security guards at Campsfield IRC in Oxfordshire. Between 60 and 100 detainees have occupied the courtyard to protest against the violence and the inhuman living conditions they suffer during detention. Continue reading