Campsfield House is an Immigration Detention Centre at Kidlington, six miles from Oxford. It is a prison run for private profit by Group 4, supervised by Home Office immigration officials. It used to be a youth detention centre, but it re-opened as an Immigration Detention Centre in November 1993. The local parish council was opposed to it, but their wishes were overruled by the Home Office.
There are 200 detainees in Campsfield House. Most are political refugees fleeing danger, torture and even death from countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Turkey, India and Zaire. They are held without charge, without time limit, without proper reasons given, and without proper access to legal representation. Amnesty International report that these are breaches of internationally recognised human rights. The former Chief Inspector of HM Inspectorate of Prisons (Judge Stephen Tumim) and The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture have condemned conditions at Campsfield House.
People who come to Britain fleeing persecution and wars are being locked up in escalating numbers. Britain was one of the first European countries to detain refugees, and it is still the European country in which refugees are detained for longest and with least judicial control. In addition, people who may have lived here for many years and have families, jobs and houses are being picked up for minor infringements of the immigration rules, detained and deported.
"Campsfield is an abomination to human rights in that it presumes guilt from the outset. Today those loyal protesters who have been branded as cranks and soft-centred do-gooders have been proved right."
From the Oxford Mail, 17/4/98