Government policy is aimed at destroying hope among detainees.
Tonight, we want to show them that there are people out here who care.
Please join the Campaign to Close Campsfield and Oxford Students to
Close Campsfield/Student Action for Refugees (STAR) TONIGHT, Thursday
the 15th of June, for a vigil 21.45-22.30
Meeting for lifts outside the Taylorian Institute on St Giles at 21.20.
Bring musical instruments, candles, jamjars...
On Monday night a Somali detainee climbed onto the roof at Campsfield House, an immigration and asylum detention centre in Kidlington near Oxford. On the roof he threatened to kill himself with a rope and a plastic bag. He had been a detainee for four months. Since the UK does not deport people back to Somalia, a country without a government, his detention is indefinite, and arguably unlawful The company that took over the management of Campsfield House on the 29th of May asked the police to leave when they arrived on the scene, and we do not know what happened to the Somali man after that. He is not
now in Campsfield House.
On Wednesday over 100 detainees began a hunger strike in protest at their being locked up indefinitely and without trial. Below is a
letter they would like you to read.
Statement from Campsfield detainees, Wednesday, 15th May 2006:
"WE ARE DETAINEES at Campsfield removal centre in Oxford. Most of us have been here for a long while now. There are people who have been detained for up to two years and down to three months. We are cramped in here like animals. We are treated like animals and moved around different detention centres like animals. The immigration service have taken husbands from their families and taken people who ran away from persecution in their various countries, and dumped everyone in here.
Once you are put in here the immigration service forget you. There
are detainees who have applied to go back to their own countries that are still being held here for months without any news about their cases, just so that the private security companies get more money.
Detainees are asked to seek asylum and then refused. The immigration service also ask detainees to apply for bail. When you get a bail hearing date all of a sudden they serve you with removal papers that
are not valid. There are many of these situations. In most cases the
immigration service don't take you to your court hearings. And then
they tell the judges you refused to turn up, just so the hearing goes
ahead in your absence. Many detainees have been served with removal papers and travel documents but nothing happens on the removal day.
Campsfield has become a slave house. We detainees are treated like slaves, to do odd jobs for officers. Detainees are handcuffed to see doctors or dentists in hospitals or clinic appointments. We have some racist security officers who make racist comments to detainees and go out of their way to make you feel like committing suicide. Detainees have to be at the point of death before they get to see the doctors.
The food is not worth eating. Even dogs would refuse to eat what we eat. But we don't have a choice; every single day we eat the same food (the food we eat is rice, chicken, sandwiches, and left-over eggs)".
Notes to editors:
1. Campsfield House holds a maximum of 189 male detainees, asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision or have had their claim denied, and immigrants without visas.
2. GEO took over the running of Campsfield House on the 29th of May this year from GSL, after winning the contract from the government.
3. The law states that people should only be detained as a last
resort, and not if there is no prospect of their being removed.
4. Campsfield House is one of around 12 detention centres across the UK. In total there are approximately 2,500 spaces for men women and - since 2001 - children.
5. Amnesty International reports that 25,000 innocent people were
locked up in such centres last year, for between a few hours and 3