People are being taken from our communities and locked up in prison-like detention centres, without time limit, with no idea of when they might be released. Not for having committed a crime. They just don’t have the correct immigration papers.

This is unacceptable. This has to stop

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Over 30,000 people are locked up in prison-like conditions every year, with no time limit on how long they can be held. This is not for having committed a crime. It is purely because they do not (yet) have the correct immigration papers, or their papers have expired.
Immigration detention involves violence and fear and trauma. It is a wholly unnecessary, unjustifiable practice, one of the most harmful aspects of the UK’s “hostile environment” for migrants and a shameful civil rights abuse that cannot be ignored.
Unlocking Detention

Out of sight, out of mind?

Unlocked17 is an online virtual tour, using blogs and social media to shine a spotlight on the UK’s detention centres, focusing on a different one each week. The tour will be taking place through tweets, Facebook, photos, blog posts and other interactive material.


Latest news

“Why destroy instead of mending the broken?” These Walls Must Fall members respond to Yarl’s Wood inspection report - Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, who conduct independent inspections of both prisons and immigration detention centres, have today released its report on its June 2017 unannounced inspection of Yarl's Wood detention centre.  You can read ...Read More
The murals on the wall: local action against immigration detention - By Lisa Matthews, Coordinator at Right to Remain Immigration detention is a national policy, but we believe change will come from local communities calling for change at a local level. It is local communities that ...Read More
“A place where one can be forgotten for a long time” – on the closure of The Verne - Last week, the government quietly announced that they will be closing the Verne – one of the nine immigration ‘removal’ centres (IRCs) sprawled across the UK. Luke Butterly of Right to Remain writes here about ...Read More
The Verne The closure of the Verne detention centre – Detention Forum response - This is the response today from the Detention Forum to the news that The Verne Immigration Removal Centre is to close In a letter to key stakeholders, the Home Office has today announced the closure ...Read More
Victory in the High Court: redefinition of torture in detention policy is unlawful - The High Court has ruled that the UK government has been unlawfully holding survivors of torture in immigration detention. The challenge was raised by Medical Justice with solicitors from Bhatt Murphy and Duncan Lewis, on ...Read More
Manchester November 2 Manchester campaign public meeting, 2 Nov 2017 - Challenging immigration detention. These Walls Must Fall campaign meeting Thursday 2 November 7pm – 9pm Mechanics Centre 103 Princess Street Manchester M1 6DD Speakers include: Julie Ward, Member of European Parliament, NW England Unite the... Read more »

Worried about detention?

The Right to Remain Toolkit has information and advice to help people at risk of detention, and their friends, family and supporters.





Briefings, info, links, reports and leaflets to download and print, or you can email to request a supply of printed full colour leaflets to distribute.

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Greater Manchester

Some people in the Greater Manchester area are getting together to start a local campaign to challenge immigration detention. If you live in the area, you can get involved…

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Facebook Group


Plans are afoot in Liverpool to get the These Walls Must Fall campaign rolling. If you want to get involved, get in touch…

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Teo and Marineta were just another European couple working in England. But when they couldn’t find somewhere to live, instead of receiving homelessness help they were locked up in a detention centre. And that was just the beginning of their troubles with the government’s hostile environment.

Detention: expensive, ineffective and inhumane. A short film by Help Refugees about why the UK’s detention system is so shocking.

At times funny, sad, frightening, angering, this animated film explores how it feels to be locked up indefinitely in a so-called “removal” centre. View with caution: (animated) images of self-harm

Manchester human rights campaigner Aderonke Apata discusses the traumas of the British immigration system and her experiences of the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

What is detention?

Immigration detention is the government policy of locking up people who do not (yet) have leave to remain in the UK, or whose leave to remain has expired.

Over 30,000 people are detained every year

and many thousands more are at risk of being detained at any time, without warning.

People are locked up in prison-like conditions

with guards, behind bars and barbed wire. This is nothing to do with any criminal offence; it’s a dark part of the immigration and asylum system. But unlike prison, people in detention have no release date to look forward to.

There is no time limit on detention

This means that when someone is detained they do not know if it will be for weeks, months, or years. Britain is the only country in Europe without a time limit.

Most people are eventually released – so why detain?

The majority of people in detention are eventually released into the community to continue their immigration or asylum applications, begging the question: why detain them in the first place?

Detention causes serious harm

Independent research has shown that detention causes harm to people’s physical and mental health. Vulnerable people deteriorate in detention, and people who were not vulnerable before become vulnerable.

Detention is outrageously expensive

The government spends around £164 million on detention every year. The human cost is immeasurable.

Detention cannot be justified

Immigration detention involves violence and fear and trauma. It is a wholly unnecessary, unjustifiable practice, one of the most harmful aspects of the UK’s “hostile environment” for migrants and a shameful civil rights abuse that cannot be ignored.