Manchester campaigners are currently on a 24-hour fast in support of the detainees on hunger strike in the Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. The detainees had been deprived of medical help and forcefully removed from their children and were left with no choice but to undertake this hunger strike. Yarl’s Wood houses 405 women and children who have come to the UK seeking asylum and is managed by the notoriously disreputable SERCO – yes, they make nuclear weapons and yes they manage the gyms for Manchester City Council too.
Mule Newspaper have reported that the centre is currently in “lock down, meaning that the women are trapped in the communal areas with no access to toilet facilities, food, water or any private space”. Hearing about what has been going on at the notorious Yarls Wood I am reminded of scenes of Nazi concentration camps and Victorian era Workhouses but even in the Workhouse the authorities were prohibited from separating mothers from their children(Glens Poor Law Orders 1849)…these scenes have no place in Britain and we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering taking place on own own doorstep.
The current government seem to use detention as a regular course of action, criminalising women and children fleeing horrific situations; nearly up to 70% of the women in this asylum seekers prison have suffered sexual assaults in their country of origin, they should be deemed vulnerable and given due care; these women and children should have both medical and counselling treatments to help them. It is clear that the treatment of these ‘detainees’ rides roughshod over the European Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Geneva Convention. And given the witness reports from the centre, the staff and authorities may also be breaching the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
I find it disgusting that vulnerable people from some of the world’s most troubled countries are treated so inhumanely. Many residents in this detention centre are genuine asylum-seekers and not illegal immigrants and even if they were morally we a cannot treat people like this. Solidarity with the detainees and the Manchester activists!