Please notify of any letter sent to:
solidarity with the detainees!
solidarity wiht the detainees
Can use the model letter below or write your own.
Please notify of anything sent to:
Detainee Support Group c/o LARC
62 Fieldgate Street
London E1 1ES
The Right Hon Jacqui Smith MP
Secretary Of State for The Home Office Fax: 0208 603132
3rd Floor Peel Building
2 Marsham Street E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
London SW1P 4DF
Dear Home Secretary,
I am writing to you concerning a hunger strike that is currently taking place at Harmondsworth IRC.
Detainees say their peaceful protest has been violently repressed.
The detainees were protesting against unjust deportations, without having their cases properly heard due to time restrictions regarding the fast track procedure and bad legal representation. They feel they are being arbitrarily detained without having committed any crime and are subjected to abuse while detained . The detainees believe their human rights are being violated.
The Harmondworth detainees' protest began the 1st April. There are reports that the majority of detainees refused food from 9am, that the courtyard was occupied and that about 120 detainees remained in the courtyard all night.
On the 2nd of April detainees said they resumed eating later in the day, after meeting with Immigration. However, as they felt that no results came from the talks, they said that detainees resumed the hunger strike on Friday.
Detainees reported that on Saturday 5th April between 5pm and 6am, around 50 police in riot gear stormed the center to break the detainees' hunger strike . Detainees say that the police took 30 detainees away and most of them were put in solitary confinement or taken into main-stream prisons, preventing them from communicating with each other and with the outside world.
One detainee, who managed to contact supporters, said he is bruised all over his body, had injuries from handcuffs and a damaged ankle and possibly a broken wrist. He also reported that he saw another detainee being violently 'manhandled' by police.
The whereabouts of most of the detainees who were moved are still unknown. Although the majority of detainees in Harmondsworth have resumed eating after the repression, some are still refusing to eat.
Detainees said they wrote and signed a petition (116 signatures) and sent it to the European Court of Human Rights, the local MP John McDonnell and others.
Some of the hunger strikers say they are torture survivors and that most of them never had a medical examination from a specialist. It is the Home Office's own policy that detainees who allege torture must be referred to a specialist for a visit and that torture survivors should not be detained "except in very exceptional circumstances’".
I am alarmed that a perfectly peaceful protest by people demanding their human rights can be so brutally repressed in a supposedly democratic country, that has signed all human rights international agreements.
I am asking that the detainees whereabouts are made public; that nobody is removed until allegations of assaults are thoroughly investigated; that allegations of abuse in detention are also investigated; that those detainees who have no access to adequate legal representation are given the time to find a legal representative of their choice; that those who have made allegations of torture are taken off the fast-track and referred to a specialist, and are not removed before they have a visit from a specialist and a medical-legal report.
Earlier this month a report by the Independent Asylum Commission found the UK's treatment of asylum seekers was "shameful" and falls "seriously below" the standards of a civilized society.
Secretary of State for the Home Department
3rd Floor, Peel Buildings
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)
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