Detainees held at Campsfield House, Oxfordshire, are understood to have been on hunger strike for 4 days now. 66 detainees, mainly Turkish and Kurdish, were logged as having skipped meals on Monday and are consuming only sugared water and coffee. They are protesting against the lack of information on how long their cases would take to be processed.
Recent detainees hungerstrikes: Families on Hungerstrike in Yarl's Wood Detention Centre | Hunger Strike in Colnbrook Detention Centre
photo by Stalingrad O'Neill
one of noborders
Ismet Aydemir, a 29-year-old Turkish detainee told the Gazette on Tuesday: "We have been on hunger strike for three days. Everyone here has been held for a minimum of two months with no idea of when we will be released and where to. We are kept in primitive conditions, denied basic rights and freedoms, and our only crime was to apply for asylum."
However the number of detainees refusing meals was in dispute when the Gazette went to press, with new information suggesting the groupís supporters had depleted to 40 by Tuesday night.
Mr Aydemir claimed that the mainly Turkish and Kurdish detainees being held at the Immigration Removal Centre were protesting against the lack of information on how long their cases would take to be processed. He added that a number of his fellow detainees had been denied bail despite having friends to stand surety.
He said: "There is even an 18-year-old boy among us, being kept here alongside former criminals, and we are all facing the prospect of spending Eid and New Years Eve away from our families and loved ones. We are all under a lot of psychological pressure from months of being separated from them."
The failed asylum seeker, who has been living in the UK for six years, complained that the detainees are not permitted to receive packages from their families, even those containing food and provisions. "We have to buy everything, from biscuits to shampoo, from the detention centre," he said. "Those who have no money get nothing."
He added: "Itís a horrendous situation and is effecting our families on the outside as much as it is us, but we will keep up the strike until our voices are heard. We will not even eat if we are released so as to secure better conditions for future detainees."
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We are unable to force people to eat or drink as it would be against their wishes and classed as an assault. We do ensure, however, that they receive close medical treatment as and when is necessary."