Want to find out more? A 'guided tour' of the nearby detention centres (prisons for migrants) can be organised on request from the Climate Camp!
Interested? Call 07933 309853
We referred all the rape and torture survivors we came in contact with to Medical Justice, a voluntary organisation that provides free medical help to detainees. All those who were visited were found to have scars consistent with the violence the reported.
Torture survivors are supposed to be detained "only in very exceptional circumstances," according to Home Office guidelines. Unfortunately, there is no effective mechanism to report allegations of torture, torture survivors are routinely detained and often deported without even getting a medical examination.
Thousands of men, women and children are deported every year to war-torn countries and to countries with appalling human rights records. Often they lose their asylum cases because they cannot get access to adequate legal representation, due to cuts in legal aid, or because they are put on the fast track with 5 days to prepare their cases and 2 days to appeal. The drive is to meet government targets of numbers to be deported, not to assess whether people are in real danger of persecution.
An Ugandan woman who was deported with her three children was arrested on arrival by the Ugandan authorities and her children were taken from her. At a 'safe house' she was raped and tortured. She managed to escape and, amazingly, made her way to Britain again, her back covered in wounds from the beatings she received. She is living under threat to be deported again. Her children have been traced and they are severely traumatized.
Four men are known to have been killed after being deported from Britain, but the real number is certainly much higher. As there is a political willingness to deport people at all costs in order to meet targets, nobody monitors what happens to people after they are deported, apart from some human right activists and small NGOs. We have been able to help documenting some cases of people imprisoned and tortured after being deported, and numerous cases of people beaten and injured by escorts in attempts to force them on airplanes – understandably many people are reluctant to go so they use violence to force them. Civil solicitors are handling hundreds of claims regarding harm on removal , and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Injures include broken bones especially fingers, severed nerves as a result of being dragged by the handcuffs and sexual assaults.
Some people are so scared of being deported that they try to kill themselves. They are put on suicide watch and deported all the same.
If hard evidence is produced about somebody being tortured or killed, the Home Office say that it is an isolated incident and therefore they will continue deporting people to that same country. When two men deported to Sri Lanka were murdered, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne's only comment was that deportations to Sri Lanka would continue.
Recently 69 Tamils from Sri Lanka went on hunger strike in 4 detention centres, asking for their deportations to be put on hold until a new country guidance case is heard.
Often, deportees "disappear." One 19-year-old was deported to DR Congo from Britain. A visitor drove his teenage girlfriend and their new-born baby to the detention centre, so that he could see the child. He was deported shortly after. It is known that he was arrested on arrival, but nothing else is known about him, not where he has been taken, nor what happened to him.
It was on the basis of evidence of torture after return that the High Court ordered deportations to Zimbabwe to be halted. Despite the lower courts ruling for deportations to resume, they haven't been able to deport people to Zimbabwe, thanks to further legal challenges.
Another more recent success is the High Court's ruling to stop deportations of Darfurians to Sudan because 'unduly harsh'. Until this ruling, genocide survivors from Darfur were routinely deported and dumped in refugee camps where they could die of malnutrition, disease and violence, such as rape and murder from the camp guards. Hary, a survivor from Darfur we visited, developed serious mental health problems while in detention, refusing to talk to anybody. After many months in detention he disappeared all of a sudden from the centre. He had no solicitor because due to his illness he could not instruct one. We can guess he was deported.
Ejder, a Turkish Kurdish man suffering from long term mental health problems, tried to commit suicide by setting himself alight while detained in Colnbrook. He was rescued by guards, briefly hospitalized and brought back to the detention centre. From there he was swiftly deported. Nobody knows what happened to him afterwards.
Many HIV-positive and other very sick people, including children, are deported to countries where they have no access to the drugs that can keep them alive.
The building of a new detention centre with 500- 600 capacity near Gatwick airport is under way near to the existing prison camp, Tinsley House. There is a campaign to stop the new centre being built. No Borders groups are organising a protest camp near Gatwick in September, 19th to 24th.
Local groups are active in supporting refugees and migrans including detainees, organising demonstrations such as the demostrations against Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, campaigning against deportations.
other links: www.ncadc.org.uk
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one of noborders
Homepage: http:// http://noborders.org.uk
At current rates, the number of people forced to leave their homes due to environmental degradation reaches 10 million per year, while it is feared that increasing environmental pressures due to climate change will lead to as many as 200 million forced migrants by the end of the century. As with all refugees, the burden of environmental refugees is borne disproportionately by the poorest sectors of the international community, mainly Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China and Central America.
The growing numbers of individuals whose lives are put to risk due to environmental strain are increasingly viewed in the context of security by the research community followed by international bodies and governments. The link between environmental degradation and conflict is continuously being stressed, while the consequences of increased environmental burden to the countries receiving those refugees are abundant in international literature. In comparison, studies addressing the plight of these people and measures for their protection are very limited. Professor Norman Myers, a leading figure in environmental security issues states that the only solution to the growing crisis is to ‘export the wherewithal for sustainable development for communities at risk – or import growing numbers of environmental refugees’. Governments of the developed world, however, have chosen to address the issue by further tightening border security. It is argued that people fleeing their countries in the face of environmental degradation do so to escape poverty and are viewed as ‘volunteer migrants’ who move to the developed world in the hope of abusing the asylum system. Environmental refugees throughout the world have no rights to protection, whether their homeland is consumed by rising sea levels (as in the case of Tuvalu, an island of the Pacific Ocean) or whether they are forcibly displaced by ‘development’ work (as in the case of the two million people being forced from their homes to make way for the construction of the three Gorges dam).
The vast majority of environmental refugees are created by the effects of climate change, and rising sea levels and expanding desertification will see millions more displaced individuals in the near future. The developed world is and has been almost entirely responsible for green gas emissions, that are the primary cause of climate change. However, it is the developing world that suffers the greatest consequences of climate change, while not having benefited from the technology that induced it. The time has come to address the ecological debt of the developed North to the rest of the international community. It is also the time to revisit the Geneva Convention and redefine the concept of refugees in order to recognise rights to asylum to those that will increasingly need it in the future: environmental refugees.
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