Category: No Borders

Mid-Sussex migrant prison protest announced

Croydon No Borders are organising a demonstration against the opening of a new family immigration prison  (euphemistically referred to by the Home Office as  ‘pre-departure accommodation’) on Saturday 30th July, 1pm at Muster Green park, Hayward’s Heath.

Hayward’s Heath is where Mid Sussex District Council, the local authority which approved planning permission for the new asylum prison is based.

G4S who will be running escort and security services at the new prison is still under investigation for the alleged manslaughter of Angolan Jimmy Mubenga who died while being restrained by three escort officers on a flight from Heathrow in October 2010. This shocking case is also being investigated by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Meanwhile, G4s ‘corporate partner’ and ‘Play facilities’ provider at the prison will be children’s charity Barnado’s against whom an active campaign is running involving the disruption of fundraising events and the picketing of Barnado’s shops and head offices.

Saturday’s demonstration will also provide an opportunity to protest against the opening of a new high security child detention unit at the expensively refurbished Tinsley House near Gatwick Airport, and G4S’s ‘distressing and objectionable’ practice of arresting and forcibly escorting ‘reserve’ detainees to bundle on to deportation flights if the intended victims are unable to fly. See Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prison’s investigation of the G4S operation at Tinsley House reported in The Guardian 26 July 2011.

Please rememver to bring your banners, placards and instruments and demand an end to detention and deportation.

Barnardo’s Telephone Protest Announced

Campaigners against the opening of new family detention facilities which are to be jointly provided by the global security and prisons corporation G4S and the UK children’s charity Barnardo’s have announced a BARNADO’S TELETHON for Tuesday 26 April 2011.

London NoBorders are urging opponents of Barnardo’s involvement in the brand new detention facility at Pease Pottage in Sussex, which has the capacity to detain in excess of 1,400 people per year, to call their nearest Barnardo’s regional office on Tuesday 26th April to protest against the charity’s involvement in the detention and deportation industry.

Below are the contact numbers for all the Barnardo’s regional offices:

London and South East       020 8551 0011
South West                  0117 937 5500
Yorkshire                   0113 393 3200
Midlands                    0121 550 5271
North West                  0151 488 1100
Scotland                    0131 334 9893
Wales                       0292 049 3387
North East                  0191 240 4800
Northern Ireland            0289 067 2366

For more info about the pre-departure accommodation see:

Major expansion of family detention facilities planned by UKBA

No Borders Brighton is urging Crawley Borough Council to reject plans to turn the Mercure Hotel on Povey Cross Road into a removal centre, writes Miranda Wilson in IRR News.  The group claims the design of the 254-bed hotel means it could only be converted to house families. It strongly opposes the detention of children who it says: ‘are especially vulnerable to the physical and psychological effects of imprisonment and many end up suffering from illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, effects suffered even after a brief period of detention.’

Electric House Reporting Centre and Short Term Holding Facility, Croydon.

This news confirms the view of End Child Detention Now and fellow anti-detention campaigners that the UKBA continues to use detention of children and families not as ‘a last resort’ but as an instrument of policy with a view to removing as many asylum claimants who are initially refused leave to remain as possible, while ‘deterring’ any would be refugee or asylum seeker with the threat of destitution, detention and deportation. A policy that a recent Refugee Council research report has shown to have no significant impact on the destinations of would be asylum seekers.

Despite the overwhelming medical evidence that detention does long term harm to children who are already vulnerable and traumatised, it is clear that the planned expansion of the vastly expensive UKBA detention estate will require thousands more children to suffer what the Royal Colleges of Medicine have described as ‘signficant harm‘.  An assessment which is backed up by the Chief Inspector of Prisons recently published report of an unannounced inspection of the Short Term Holding Facilty, Electric House in Croydon in June last year which discovered from the logs

that the four-yearold, who had been brought in out of hours, had not been accompanied by an adult. In addition, these out-of-hours logs did not record how long the person was detained or where they were sent afterwards.

The report also noted that ‘[i]nformation about the detention of children was not properly monitored, and although there was a child protection policy…it had not been agreed by the local safeguarding children board.  While ‘i]mmigration staff had received child protection training’ – ‘Group 4 Securicor staff were not sufficiently trained in child protection issues and there was no child protection coordinator for the facility’. Suicide attempts are so common that the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons recommends that detention staff carry ‘anti-ligature’ knives at all times.

If these findings were published in relation to the running of a local authority children’s home the chances are it would be immediately shut down, but because these children are ‘in the care’ of the UKBA and their private contractors, the local authority child protection system either turns a blind eye, or in the case of Yarl’s Wood, actively cooperates with a child detention regime which the Children’s Commissioner has declared to be harmful to children. Not only should local authorities be denying planning permission for new immigration prisons, under national and international child protection law they should be demanding that the existing facilities are immediately closed.

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