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Blog 2019-04-16T11:04:14+00:00

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Week 6: #Unlocked18 visits Harmondsworth and Colnbrook

From the 26 November - 2 December, Unlocking Detention visited Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, the two detention centres next to Heathrow Airport. Here, a few hundred metres from the runway, well over 1,000 people can be detained indefinitely. As well as six new blogs, this week we had a double Q&A with two people in Harmondsworth, DAK and Seed (not their real [...]

By | December 6th, 2018|Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

“Once a criminal always a criminal”, especially if you don’t have a British passport

Content warning: suicide, torture. Image by @Carcazan This blog comes from Celia Clarke and Rudy Schulkind at BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees). BID tweets at @BIDdetention “I couldn’t go swimming, or even sit on the bus in case my trousers rode up, ‘cos I was so ashamed of the tag.  But it was still way better than being locked up.” Stephen [...]

By | December 6th, 2018|Prisons, Unlocked18|

Immigration detention is mental torture

Content warning: graphic descriptions of suicide and self-harm. Image by @Carcazan This blog comes from Souleymane, a member of Freed Voices. Freed Voices are a group of experts-by-experience who are committed to speaking out about the realities of immigration detention in the UK. They are on Twitter at @FreedVoices. My name is Souleymane and I am a member of Freed Voices. [...]

By | December 6th, 2018|Experts-by-experience, Unlocked18|

“There was a chance justice would be done”

Image by @Carcazan In this #Unlocked18 blog, Mishka at Freed Voices (@FreedVoices) interviews Tamsin Alger, Deputy Director at Detention Action about her experience of the Detained Fast Track (DFT) strategic litigation and campaign. The DFT litigation was one of the key highlights of the 2015 Unlocking Detention timeline. ======================================================================================== XX December 2018, Hello Tamsin, I am Mishka from the expert by [...]

By | December 4th, 2018|Experts-by-experience, Take action, Unlocked18|

“I have seen that the detention system in the UK is broken”

Content warning: suicide. Image by @Carcazan This blog comes from Rhiannon Prideaux, a visitor with the Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group. I visited people detained at Morton Hall detention centre for around three and a half years.  In that time I visited 6 people.  All from different countries and detained for a variety of different reasons.  Many of them spent time [...]

By | December 3rd, 2018|Morton Hall, Unlocked18|

“We are not outsiders, we are one of your own”: Hearing Voices peer support groups in detention

Content warning: hearing voices, mental distress. Image by @Carcazan On 21 November, the Freed Voices group invited Akiko Hart, the project manager of the Hearing Voices project at Mind in Camden, to their November monthly meeting. Akiko and Freed Voices members Mishka and Red have contributed some thoughts about this meeting. I am Akiko Hart. I work as the Hearing Voices [...]

By | November 30th, 2018|Colnbrook, Experts-by-experience, Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

Double-header Q&A: DAK and Seed answer your questions from Harmondsworth IRC

Image by @Carcazan This week, we spoke to two people detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre (IRC), DAK and Seed (not their real names), who spent over an hour answering questions sent in from across the UK. Some of their experiences are similar, some are very different. DAK has been detained in Harmondsworth for over a year; Seed for a few weeks [...]

By | November 29th, 2018|Experts-by-experience, Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

“I cannot do anything from here”: LGBTQI+ asylum seekers in detention

Content warning: suicide. Image by @Carcazan This blog comes from Gabriella Bettiga, Legal Officer at UKLGIG (UK Gay and Lesbian Immigration Group). You can find them on Twitter at @UKLGIG Among those held in immigration detention, there is a group of people that feel more isolated than most. Often scared to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) to others [...]

By | November 29th, 2018|Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

“Allowing people to see what might be possible”: Volunteering in detention

Content warning: torture, rape. Image by @Carcazan This two-part blog features reflections from two volunteers with JRS UK, who support people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), The first comes from Cashel Riordan, a counsellor and volunteer. Recently, I started reflecting on my counselling work, and was particularly struck by the difference between my private clients and those [...]

By | November 28th, 2018|Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

Three years after Moroccan Jew’s death in detention, why no inquest?

Content warning: suicide, death. Image by @Carcazan This piece comes from Hannah Swirsky, Campaigns Officer at René Cassin. It was originally published on Jewish News. Immigration detention has again reached national news after a recent Guardian investigation into those detained in the UK found that “more than half of the sample were either suicidal, seriously ill or victims of torture”. According to [...]

By | November 27th, 2018|Harmondsworth, Unlocked18|

Week 5: #Unlocked18 visits Campsfield House

Last week, #Unlocked18 visited Campsfield House IRC near Oxford. Since it opened in 1993, tens of thousands of people have been detained here indefinitely. The centre has also been the focus of many protests and a sustained campaign for its closure, as the graphic and blogs below demonstrate. This will be the final time Unlocking Detention visits Campsfield: a few [...]

By | November 26th, 2018|Campsfield, Unlocked18|

“I regularly speak to people who are in absolute despair”

Content warning: torture, trafficking. Image by @Carcazan In the second of a two-part series from Detention Action, volunteer Mary-Ann talks about what she’s learnt from supporting people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs).  Volunteering for Detention Action has very much opened my eyes to the UK’s hostile immigration environment and its immigration detention centres. I came to Detention [...]

By | November 26th, 2018|Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Take action, Unlocked18|

“We both hoped there wouldn’t be a next visit”: The paradox of visiting detention

Image by @Carcazan In the first of a two-part series from Detention Action, volunteer Anthony talks about his time visiting people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), near Heathrow airport.  I remember feeling particularly nervous about making my first call. I had no idea what to expect from the person on the other end of the line. I [...]

By | November 26th, 2018|Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Take action, Unlocked18|

The voiceless place

Maddy Crowther is Co-Executive Director of Waging Peace and Article 1, which support Sudanese asylum-seekers and refugees to build meaningful lives in the UK. They run a Sudanese Visitors’ Group supporting their clients held in detention. Maddy has co-written this blog with Mohammed (not his real name), who has been detained on several occasions. Maddy is on Twitter at @CrowtherMaddy, and [...]

By | November 23rd, 2018|Experts-by-experience, Unlocked18|

Q&A with Siarhei in Campsfield House IRC

Image by @Carcazan This week, Unlocking Detention has been ‘visiting’ Campsfield House detention centre in Oxfordshire. The Duncan Lewis Public Law, Civil Litigation and Immigration teams put us in touch with Siarhei, who is currently detained in Campsfield. In addition to the normal barriers to communication faced by everyone in detention, Siarhei speaks no English, so Anastasija Vasiljeva in the Civil Litigation [...]

By | November 22nd, 2018|Campsfield, Experts-by-experience, Unlocked18|