Yarl’s Wood

“For me, Yarl’s Wood was another torture”

Image by @Carcazan. Content warning: rape, self-harm, suicide This piece comes from Gabby (not her real name), an activist campaigning against immigration detention in the UK. She was detained in Yarl’s Wood twice in 2017 before being released to continue her asylum claim within the community. She is now an active member of Women for Refugee Women’s network, regularly performing her [...]

2018-11-13T11:31:32+00:00 November 14th, 2018|

Resisting state violence: The Yarl’s Wood hunger strike

Image by @Carcazan This blog comes from Fidelis Chebe, Project Director at Migrant Action. Migrant Action is a small organisation based in Leeds providing information, guidance, advocacy support and direct practical assistance to migrants who do not fit into ‘neat’ categories of migration, including those who have been detained or are at risk of detention. In February 2018, 120 people detained [...]

2018-11-12T16:52:13+00:00 November 13th, 2018|

Theresa: Letter from a hunger-striker

Image by @Carcazan. Content warning: suicide  This letter was sent to the Duncan Lewis Public Law team by Theresa (not her real name), a young mother, from Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. It was originally published by No Walls. Theresa was one of the leaders of the high-profile hunger-strikes earlier this year. She wrote this letter the same evening that she had been refused [...]

2018-11-12T13:05:59+00:00 November 12th, 2018|

Detained for sleeping rough

Increased detention and deportation of EU citizens from the UK has been in the news for some time, especially in the context of debates surrounding Brexit.  NELMA has been working with EU citizens who have been detained while sleeping rough.    North East London Migrant Action (NELMA) and The Public Interest Law Unit at Lambeth Law Centre have been granted permission for a [...]

2018-10-23T15:24:29+00:00 November 21st, 2017|

If I am ever detained

There is understandably huge interest in knowing what immigration detention centres look like: barbed wire and prohibition of cameras inside the centres increase people’s curiosity.  But can you see the impact of immigration detention with your eyes?  What does immigration detention do to us? In this blog, Eiri Ohtani (@EiriOhtani), the Project Director of the Detention Forum shares her reflection and [...]

2018-10-30T15:45:40+00:00 November 9th, 2017|

Week 2: #Unlocked17 visits Yarl’s Wood

This week Unlocking Detention visited Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire. Like other centres, it is isolated and hard to reach. However, with space for up to 304 women and 68 families, it is notorious for the detention of women. Stephen Shaw said it hosts “one of the largest concentrations of women deprived of their liberty anywhere in Western Europe”. Women are [...]

2018-10-30T16:23:58+00:00 October 30th, 2017|

Remembering My First Time

Though no official survey exists, UK is one of the few countries around the world where each detention centre has a dedicated visitor's group, in addition to other groups who visit formally and informally multiple centres.  Hundreds of people must be regularly visiting those held in detention centres, but what does visiting really do?  Sonja Miley of Waging Peace write how [...]

2018-11-05T16:55:28+00:00 October 26th, 2017|

‘A country I had called home for 13 years had imprisoned me.’

Families with children were regularly detained at Yarl’s Wood and Dungavel detention centres until the change of policy in 2010 drastically reduced the number of children detained.  Now, a smaller number of families with children are detained in an unit within Tinsley detention centre.  But what happened to many children who were detained at Yarl’s Wood and who are turning into [...]

2018-11-05T16:59:33+00:00 October 25th, 2017|

Photo essay ‘To Yarl’s Wood detention centre’

Yarl's Wood detention centre is perhaps the most high-profile centres in the UK.  This photo essay is for those of you who have never been to this detention centre. If you are visiting other detention centres, can you consider writing a photo essay like this for Unlocking Detention?  Remember, not many people make the journey you are making - and people [...]

2018-11-06T15:08:26+00:00 October 24th, 2017|

‘Everyday in Yarl’s Wood is a struggle’

This week, Unlocking Detention tour is 'visiting' Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedford.  Boatemaa* was detained in Yarl’s Wood earlier this year.  She was recently released from Yarl’s Wood, to continue with her asylum case, after four months in detention.  She shares her story here.  (This is not her real name.) I never knew my real parents. I was handed over [...]

2018-11-06T15:13:50+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|
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