WHO ARE WE?
- A group of people passionate about Immigration/Asylum Detention and stopping Hassockfield Immigration Removal Centre.
- A cross-party campaign including Labour & Lib Dem activists and a range of people active in their communities working together on the campaign.
- We have public Zoom Meetings and Workshops. Meetings of our Core Group occur between these for planning and admin purposes; this group includes a group of active campaigners and also a representative from Detention Forum.
- Other organisations we are linked with include Oxford Against Detention (formerly the Close Campsfield campaign), Detention Forum, Yarls Wood Campaigners, Duncan Lewis Solicitors, Women for Refugee Women, AVID, Women’s Aid, Migrant & Justice Forum, North East Against Racism, West End Refugee Service (WERS), Mental Health North East (MHNE), End Deportations Belfast, Abolish Detention among others.
WHERE IS HASSOCKFIELD?
- 13 miles NW of Durham, 1.7 miles North of Consett.
- On the site of Medomsley Detention Centre, notorious for the abuse of young in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s as uncovered in Operation Seabrook – an investigation begun in 2013.
WHO IS IN FAVOUR ?
- Conservative MP for North West Durham, Richard Holden is backing it; suggesting that it will create 150 jobs (something later revised upwards to 200) and will bring £10m into the local economy. His description of those to be detained is not a form of language we would use.
- Some local people.
- A number of Parliamentary Questions have been asked and are planned, in both Houses & cross-party.
- A question was asked of Priti Patel at the Home Affairs Select Committee.
- We have support from a number of Labour and Lib Dem Peers & MPs, with other parties offering support on Social Media (eg the SNP). Alf Dubs spoke to one of our early public meeting, encouraging and inspiring us.
- Alf is also co-ordinating a group of anti-detention groups across the UK and Northern Ireland, including ourselves, to ensure ease of information sharing between all of these groups.
WHAT IS PLANNED?
An Immigration Removal Centre for c.88 women, similar to a Category 3 Prison is planned by the Home Office. These will be women who have served a prison sentence of more than 12 months, or who have broken immigration laws, or their asylum claim has failed.
In 2019 over half – 61% – of the people held in immigration detention centres eventually gained their freedom to live in and contribute to the community.
The figure for 2020 was 74%, and for women in 2018 it was 86%. So for most people detained, the Home Office’s decision to detain is successfully challenged. Immigration detention serves no acceptable purpose.
Notes on “People at the end of the asylum application process” :
- In fact some of the women held in immigration detention centres have exercised their right to claim asylum but their claim has not been refused. Others so described will have an appeal or other further challenge in process.
- Others are stateless people: they cannot be deported.
- Still others come from countries such as Iraq or Somalia to which they cannot be deported because it is recognised that it is too dangerous for them to return for a variety of reasons including religious persecution, anti LGBT laws and traditional practices such as FGM.
- Some are time-served former prisoners who do not have a UK passport: The government calls them ‘Foreign National Offenders’. They are ex-offenders. They have served a prison sentence following conviction often for a relatively minor offence, i.e not violence to the person. Everyone should be treated equally before the law. Someone who has served their time should not be doubly punished with deportation should their case still be awaiting resolution.
- Council of Europe – Steering Committee for Human Rights
- Platform for International Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) Report on Preventing & Addressing Vulnerabilities in Immigration Enforcement Policies
- Growing concerns about proposed immigration detention centre for women – Letter to the Home Secretary
- Hassockfield Detention Centre: A Betrayal Of Refugee Women
- Say ‘No’ to Hassockfield