by These Walls Must Fall campaigners
Today, we heard that Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire is due to close. Words of celebration and victory are coupled with mourning the deaths of those killed inside – Carlington ‘Jammy’ Spencer, Rubel Ahmed, Lukasz Debowski, Bai Bai Ahmed Kabia and anger as the hostile environment continues.
An inspection report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons earlier this year found high levels of self-harm, violence and use of force at Morton Hall.
The closure of Morton Hall means the reduction of the number of spaces in UK detention centres by 392 spaces, which should be claimed as a victory by those who have campaigned tirelessly for it’s closure since 2011. We give thanks and solidarity to those in South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Student Action for Refugees Sheffield, and campaigners from Nottingham, Sheffield, and other areas for their persistent protests for closure for the last decade.
However, the victory, as they so often do, feels bittersweet.
It is a small win in the bigger fight of ending the Hostile Environment, the racist policies and practices deliberately designed by the UK government to intimidate and harm migrants in the UK.
Morton Hall will cease to detain people under immigration powers, but those held there will be moved to other detention centres, rather than released. We demand their immediate release into the community.
In addition, Morton Hall will revert to a prison, and we believe expansion of the prison service is another human rights injustice that must be resisted. You can find out more about this via the Campaign Against Prison Expansion website.
We have written about the cruelty, harm and injustices that take place inside the walls of Morton Hall many times. Last year, protesters contributed to this article. The closure of Morton Hall cannot undo the years of harm caused within its walls at the hands of the UK government.
Some of our campaigners who have been detained at Morton Hall, and those who have protested outside and against it, have today given their responses to the closure.
As Covid-19 poses a serious threat to life in immigration detention centres. The Closure of Morton Hall should be the first step towards the release of everyone held in detention centres. I understand hundreds have been released, which left more guards than people to guard. But hundreds continue to be held despite the unknown risk. My only concern is what’s going to happen to those inmates currently held at Morton hall after closure? If they move them to other IRCs, is this not going to create more chaos because of overcrowding?
“IRC ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HUMAN WAREHOUSE, THUS WHAT I FELT LIKE TO ME WHEN I WAS DETAINED AT MORTON HALL”
The answer is immigration Detention is inhuman and everyone should be released especially now when social distancing is now a matter of life and death. And in Detention centres you can’t stay 2 metres away from anyone. You can’t go for a walk, You can’t open up a window. Even the doors to the Health care are always shut.
Everyone in Detention should walk freely these are human lives being put at risk by other Human being.
Down with IRC
Down with immigration Detention
This is INHUMANBryan, trustee Wakefield and District City of Sanctuary, campaigner with Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees and These Walls Must Fall
The closure of The Immigration Removal Centre is a huge and significant step. Sadly some inmates are not being released but transferred to other detention centres. The closure of this facility should be accompanied by the immediate release of everyone detained there. Those people in there are not offenders. If at all there are immigration detainees with offences, they would have served their sentences before being sent to Morton Hall. Everyone should be released into the community instead of being relocated.Victor, campaigner in South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire, and These Walls Must Fall, who was detained in Morton Hall in 2019
Indeed, it's a great news for the immigrants and the campaigners, concerted efforts bears fruit.— SHAHZEB HASHMI (@hashmi_shahzeb) July 23, 2020
Today should be celebrated, but we should also remember the names Carlington Spencer, Lukasz Debowski, Bai Ahmed Kabia and Rubel Ahmed, killed by the border regime in Morton Hall, whose deaths are the responsibility of the Home Office. We mustn’t forget them as we keep fighting.— Andy Lockhart (@theurbanfix) July 23, 2020
Closure of Morton Hall Detention centre is a long anticipated and overdue news! At last our many years of relentless campaigning has produced the desired fruit. Eventually the politicians we elected are beginning to listen to us; sadly after the loss of so many lives in the Morton Hall. But I will not be satisfied until every single immigration detainee is freed, and all Immigration Removal and Detention Centres closed!Phillis, campaigner in South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire, and These Walls Must Fall
That is good news honestly! Our message is going forward. The people that are free, that is good. This is what we are fighting for – for all of them to be closed. It’s not about only detention for immigration but detention for anyone.Anonymous campaigner from Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees Yorkshire and These Walls Must Fall Sheffield
We have collectively played a role in the highlighting of abuses within MH and the hostile environment it sits within. Closing it doesn’t remove the damage it has already done to countless people and families but we will use this as encouragement to push for the ending of immigration detention in all it’s forms.Bussa, campaigner from Nottingham
Incredible news that there is one less immigration detention centre on this godforsaken isle. Huge well done to @SYMAAG 👏— beth redmond 🇵🇸 (@redbethmond) July 23, 2020
Here we are last year making some solidarity with those in there w @wallsmustfall, and remembering and honouring those who we’ve lost ✨ pic.twitter.com/Uk4jemgFso
Whilst there’s still a lot of work to do, this news certainly makes the efforts done in organising and protesting against the centre feel worth it – shouts out to everyone who’s played a part in that. It feels like a big win in the fight against detention as a whole and hopefully we can focus efforts on the remaining centres as soon as possible. This fight is winnable and we can do it together!James, campaigner with Student Action for Refugees Sheffield and These Walls Must Fall