On January 10, Amnesty UK officially launched their new report ‘A matter of routine – the use of immigration detention in the UK’.
Right to Remain writes about the launch:
In launching this report, Amnesty UK has further strengthened the consensus – including most major political parties, human rights groups, the HM Inspectorate of Prisons – of those condemning and calling for serious change to the UK’s indefinite immigration detention system.
[Amnesty’s] research examined Home Office policy and guidance documents on the use of immigration detention; interviewed detainees, their family members and lawyers that represent them; and examined Home Office detention casework files, obtained through ex-detainees who were pursuing legal challenges for what they alleged was unlawful detention. – Amnesty Report
The UK operates a vast and arbitrary system of detaining migrants, with 30,000 people passing through each year. The UK is the only country in Europe to have no time limit – people are held for days, months and years – and has very few safeguards in practice. It has been demonstrated time and time again as a source of harm.
Thank you to @PaulBlomfieldMP who spoke at Amnesty's immigration #detention report launch yesterday and called for detention reform – he was Vice Chair of the parliamentary inquiry panel which recommended 28-day time limit on detention in 2015. #Time4aTimeLimit pic.twitter.com/2aDysp2ns9— TheDetentionForum (@DetentionForum) January 11, 2018
While detention is inherently invasive and distressing, indefinite detention is even more so. Interviewees regularly cited the uncertainty of indefinite detention, and their vicarious exposure to the prolonged detention of others, as a major source of the harm they experienced. – Amnesty ReportAmnesty’s report highlights the routine nature of detention, and how the Home Office use it as a first – rather than last – resort. It goes on to explore the harm being done to detainees’ mental and physical health, and the often flawed decision-making by officials. They found
“that once detention has commenced, it is in many cases maintained as a matter of default or convenience. […]Casework often seeks to justify continued detention unless release cannot be avoided – reversing the appropriate position of detention as the last resort.”At the report launch, a representative for the Survivors Speak Out group labeled detention “a sharp barbed wire that prevents you from moving on” and highlighted that the safeguards in new ‘Adults at risk’ policy are not working. This point was echoed by Paul Blomfield MP who noted that many of the reforms that the government had agreed to had not been carried out. Yet, as Michael from experts by experience group Freed Voices stated:
“There is consensus on ending indefinite immigration detention. Now we need action.”
"There is still no time limit on detention, as has been promised. There is still no justice."— Detention Action (@DetentionAction) January 10, 2018
Michael from #FreedVoices speaks at the launch of @AmnestyUK's report 'A Matter of Routine' #Time4aTimeLimit pic.twitter.com/CeZQPdBUzX