Campaigners managed to make contact with detainees in the notorious Moreton Hall immigration detention centre yesterday after one refugee scaled a 20 foot fence to talk about conditions inside. The unnamed man said:
We are not criminals! We are asking for asylum here. People here need medical attention and social care”” (two people have died within six weeks). People are coming in here normal and going out mental. They gave us ice cream and played loud music so we wouldn’t hear your protest — I’m the guy who turned it off. We get treated like animals or children.
I have got no release date. In my country I’m a professional. I have a life. Nobody listens to us. They don’t allow camera phones, so I can’t see my family when they call. They don’t allow camera phones because they have things to hide. They arrange family visits for people then cancel them. My family is not in this country. Today you are my family, we appreciate it.
Ex-detainee Kingsley used a megaphone to tell people he was recently detained with “don’t allow anyone to be carried out for a deportation flight.”
Around 50 people had showed up at the site, which is run by multibillion-pound outsourcing contractor Mitie for UKBA and has seen monthly protests on the outside, as well as hunger strikes on the inside, chanting “Tear down the walls! Morton Hall must fall!”
There are up to 392 detainees in Campsfield House at any one time, many fleeing danger, torture and even death from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia but whose cases are still “under consideration.” 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. Campaigners want it closed, saying: “It’s part of the hostile environment in the UK that if you come here you’ll be treated appallingly.
At the end of the protest the detainees lead a chant of “this world is for everyone”.
Shut Yarls Wood Down is also gearing up for its next big rally on April 13th and is currently raising money for coaches and free seats for asylum seekers and detainees.
Pic from Close Campsfield, for more go to @CloseCampsfield