London, England. 4th December 2005.

Events

UK Government Immigration

Removal Centre

Under Fire

From Rights’ Group

 

A Press Conference is called for Thursday 15 December  2005, at 11am, at Trinity United Reformed Church, Buck Street, Camden Town, London NW1   for the Launch of new research findings based on the experiences of over 130 women detained in the Government Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre, Twinwoods Road, Clapham, Bedfordshire.

 

The Centre is used by the Government’s Immigration Service’s Operation Enforcement Section as a holding base for failed asylum seekers and others before they are removed from the UK.

 

The research was done by  Legal Action for Women Law.

 

 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

 

Over 70% have suffered rape or other sexual violence. 

Over 20% reported other torture.

 

Four women reported that they were victims of trafficking. 

Nearly half of those currently in Yarl’s Wood have been detained for longer than three months.

 

57% of women had no legal representation at the time they contacted us.

 

20% had lawyers who demanded money before taking further action.

 

At least 12% were on the “fast-track” system.

Approximately 16% were deported.

 

Illegal deportations were attempted against two women. 

Nine women suffered injuries during violent removal attempts. 

 

One woman reported having been raped in prison after she was deported.

 

At least 44% are mothers, of whom over half had to leave children behind in order to escape.

 

At least five women were pregnant in detention.

 

Women report blatant racism from staff (including being called “black monkeys”) and sexual intimidation from guards.  One woman reported male staff walking into her room unannounced when she was naked.

 

At least five women have tried to commit suicide whilst detained.

 

Half of those currently detained have not received appropriate medical attention.  The treatment one woman received after attempting suicide was plasters for her wrists. 

One woman has died from tuberculosis since being released.  Other women are exhibiting symptoms.

 

Three underage girls were being held because the Home Office disputes their age.

 

Five women are lesbian or bisexual, and are fleeing homophobia.

 

Over 10 women have physical disabilities as a result of the violence they fled.

 

The findings explode the myth that the asylum system is “fast but fair” and that most asylum seekers are “bogus”.  It demonstrates that most of those deemed “bogus” have never had a chance to present their case.

 

At the end of June Legal Action for Women law published For Asylum Seekers and their Supporters: A Self-Help Guide against detention & deportation.  Since then over 130 women have contacted the Group from Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre. They were assisted by Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP) and Women Against Rape (WAR).   

 

The findings of report are in stark contrast with the picture painted by the Home Office.  Tony McNulty, Minister for Immigration, is often quoted as saying:

 

“People are removed only if all appeals have been heard and dismissed. . .  There is free legal advice available to everybody that claims asylum at all points of the process.”[2]  He boasts in the press of comfortable rooms, people being “treated with humanity, dignity and respect . . . excellent medical facilities and detainees have access to 24-hour health care.”

 

By detaining traumatised women, the Home Office is ignoring its own and other official guidelines advising against the detention of “those suffering from serious medical conditions or the mentally ill; those where there is independent evidence that they have been tortured. . .”  Conditions inside detention compound the trauma from which victims of torture suffer. 

 

These figures fuel demands for an urgent and complete overhaul of the asylum process to priorities women and children’s needs, and rights over illegal removals at any price.

For more information contact: Legal Action for Women law@crossroadswomen.net

Crossroads Women’s Centre, PO Box 287,  London NW6 5QU.

Text Box: Tel: 020 7482 2496 minicom/voice  Fax: 020 7209 4761; 07958 152171

Trinity United Reformed Church, Buck Street, Camden Town, London NW1  ( -toilets nearby)Contact: 020 7482 2496, 07958 171 152. Posted 4th December 2005.

 

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Last up-dated 28th December 2005.

 

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Britain Commemorates  the Bicentenary

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One of the Black Community’s Contributions -

 

“Cries of Our Kidnapped Afrikan Ancestors”

 

 

 

________________

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“All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE.

TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES

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From “The Kasidah of Hji Abu el-Yezdi”, as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton

 

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What is Pan-Africanism

Editorial

Resident and Guest Correspondents

 

______________

1807-2007

 

Britain Commemorates  the Bicentenary

 of  The Slave Trade Abolition  Act 1807.

 

One of the Black Community’s Contributions -

 

“Cries of Our Kidnapped Ancestors”

 

 

 

________________

Beliefs and Commentaries

 

“All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE.

TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES

His LITTLE BIT the whole to own.”

 

From “The Kasidah of Hji Abu el-Yezdi”, as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton