Yarl’s Wood Women ‘Locked Up And Denied Treatment’

Staff at the Yarl’s Wood migrant concentration camp are beating hunger-striking women and denying them drinking water and access to toilets and sanitation facilities. Some detainees have been locked outside, including one woman with a serious injury who has not received medical treatment, and others are locked up in the ‘punishment’ wing. Their jailers have threatened them, reportedly calling them ‘black monkeys’, telling them they ‘would regret what they have done‘.

Home Office and UKBA officials with their imperialist world view of ‘blacks’ as brute savages and ‘monkeys’, strive for a passive and submissive detainee population to facilitate the efficient processing of inmates away from this country, where, as in any proper Greek tragedy, they can be quietly tortured and murdered off stage.

The Home Office claims everything is in order and while it denies mistreatment of the women, careful reading of the statement confirms the women are being ‘punished’ for protesting against the injustices to which they are subject.

Write to Phil Woolas MP, the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration (woolasp@parliament.uk or http://www.philwoolasmp.org/emailPhil.html) and the UKBA (UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk) to protest against the women’s brutal and dehumanising treatment.

The Guardian and Black Women’s Rape Action Project

84 + Women On Hunger Strike Behind The Wire At Yarl’s Wood IRC

Detention results from political decisions that represent a “hardening attitude towards irregular migrants and asylum seekers (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)

End the Detention of Foreign Nationals Now!

Since the 5th of February 2010, we the residents at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are on hunger strike which involves over 84 + women, who are protesting against the period of time spent in detention and the treatment that they receive while being detained.

The strike was sparked to protest and demand that the frustration and humiliation of all foreign nationals ends now.

We are demanding the following actions

  • End the frustrations, physical and mental torture at the centre
  • Allow enough time and make resources available to residents who need to fully present their cases.
  • To end all false allegations and misrepresentations by the UKBA regarding detainees in order to refuse bail or temporary admissions.
  • Access to appropriate medical treatment and care as in the community, access to edible and well cooked food, phones with good mobile connections, with camera and recording facilities to back up cases.
  • To stop the forceful removal and degrading system of deportation of detainees
  • To put law into practise, European rules governing standard of conditions of detention for migrants and asylum seekers and the length of time in detention.
  • The abolition of detention for asylum seeker and torture victims
  • Detention should be by a standard procedure prescribed by law, authorised by judicial authority and be subjected to periodic judicial reviews.
  • To end the detention of children and their mothers, rape survivors and other torture victims, to end the detention of physically, mentally sick people and pregnant women for long period of time.
  • To end the separation of children from their mothers being detained whether in detention or destitution.
  • To end the detention of women detention after serving time in prison.
  • To abolish the fast track system, in order to give asylum seekers a fair chance with their application, while understanding the particular needs of victims of torture, and access to reliable legal representation which the fast track system denies.
  • To end the repeat detention of women granted temporary admission while reporting or signing after a short period out of detention.
  • To a set period of time allowed to detain women, which should be no longer than 1 month, while waiting decision either from UKBA or court proceedings.

Finally instead of detention of foreign nationals, there are alternatives to detention stated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). ‘The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe’, adopted on the 28th January 2010, extracts below.

9.1.1. detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants shall be exceptional and only used after first reviewing all other alternatives and finding that there is no effective alternative; placement in special establishments (open or semi-open); registration and reporting; release on bail/surety; controlled release to individuals, family members, NGOs, religious organisations, or others; handover of travel and other documents, release combined with appointment of a special worker;

Full Text: Council of Europe – Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1707 (2010) The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe

Please support our concerns, lobby your MPs, Councilors, MEPs, demanding our immediate release and an end to arbitrary detention.

With Thanks,

Women behind the Wire @ Yarl’s Wood IRC

Messages of support/solidarity to: WomenBehindTheWire@ncadc.org.uk

New Migrant And Activist Space In Calais Raided By Police


This afternoon, Sunday 7th February, police raided the Kronstadt Hangar in Calais, smashing glass doors and arresting those inside.

The hangar, a new space for migrants and activists in Calais rented by the No Borders network and the French organisation SoS Sans Papier[1], opened yesterday afternoon to immediate repression from the authorities.

After the opening police blockaded the streets around the hangar and tried to prevent migrants from entering. In spite of this 150 migrants went in to have tea and coffee.

When people tried to leave this lunchtime they were beated by police batons and several of them sustained injuries, including one who was hospitalised. Soon afterwards, police forced their way into the hangar, causing damage to the building and arresting those inside.

London No Borders condemns this repression of migrants and supporters in the strongest terms. Its spokesperson Thomas Hausberg said that “if providing even basic support to homeless and destitute migrants is considered a criminal offence, the state has lost all semblance of humanity.”

It seems that this police repression and violence has been officially sanctioned. French Immigration Eric Besson has branded the Kronstadt Hangar “unacceptable” and in recent days Calais mayor Natasha Bouchart said she was prepared to use all means to prevent the space from opening. “Bouchart”, commented Rosie Young, another No Borders activist, “seems to have a personal vendetta against the migrants”.

This Tuesday London No Borders and No Borders Brighton are calling for a protest at 12.30pm outside the French Consulate in London.

London No Borders

For further comments please call 07535 319119 or e-mail noborderslondon@riseup.net

[1] At a press conference hosted by London No Borders last Thursday, it was explained that the aim of the Kronstadt Hangar is to provide a safe space for migrants and supporters to meet, to make the migrants visible and give them a voice of their own. For more details on the press
conference see: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/4265

See also Guardian article from Thursday.

Former UKBA Employee Blows Whistle

There are no ‘fair’ or ‘just’ or ‘humane’ immigration controls. Immigration controls are implicitly racist, unjust and cruel.

The notion that a human being is or can be ‘illegal’ is absurd. The concept was invented as a divide and rule distraction to protect the power and privilege of the lords of the capitalist elite, to set workers against one another.

It is no surprise that racist laws attract racists to administer those laws.

asylum seekers are mistreated, tricked and humiliated by staff working for the UK Border Agency, who express[ed] fiercely anti-immigration views and take pride in refusing applications [...] One method used to determine the authenticity of an asylum seeker claiming to be from North Korea was to ask whether the person ate chop suey. [...] interviews were conducted without lawyers, independent witnesses or tape recorders [...] Only cases raised by MPs appeared to be dealt with properly [...] one manager said of the asylum-seeker clients: “If it was up to me I’d take them all outside and shoot them.” Another told her this was to be expected, adding: “No one in this office is very PC. In fact everyone is the exact opposite.” [...] “I witnessed general hostility, rudeness and indifference towards clients. It was completely horrific. I highlighted my concerns to senior managers but I was just laughed at.” [...] One of her cases involved a Congolese woman who had the right to remain in the UK. Perrett says a superior nevertheless decided the woman and her children should be removed, and asked officials whether there were any grounds to remove them. Frustrated, she approached a member of the legal department. His reply, according to Perrett, was: “Umbongo, umbongo, they kill them in the Congo.”

Home Affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz has called for an investigation into the claims, but New Labour is as much a part of the problem as other parties, running as it does to the dog whistle of the BNP-Daily Mail consensus on supposedly uncontrolled ‘mass immigration’, vying with the Tories to be seen as the most anti-foreigner, ‘but not racist’ party. New Labour is fully committed to Fortress Europe and its network of dehumanising concentration camps, where people declared ‘illegal’ by bureaucratic fiat await deportation to persecution, torture and murder for having the wrong skin colour, wrong gender, loving the wrong person or worshipping their god in the wrong way — all justified on the pretext that there are ‘not enough’ jobs and services to go around.

Are there enough houses being built, or being repaired? Is everybody healthy? Is there plenty of care for elderly and disabled people? The answer to all of these questions and more is an emphatic no. There is a crisis in the public housing and the provision of healthcare. Why is there ‘not enough’ to go around? Is it because there are a finite number of jobs and services? No, it is because the capitalist system is irrational. The needs of people are sacrificed in the interest of profit. The only things that matter in capitalism are the things that turn a profit. Human beings are needed only insofar as they are appendages of machines. The machines do not serve workers — it is the workers who serve the machine.

The working class is an international class. It is divided by nationalism, racism, sexism and imperialism into very unequal groups. We must fight for real equality and in doing so unite our class.

No One Is Illegal

PRC ‘Solidarity’

Xinhua, the official organ of the nominally ‘Marxist’ People’s Republic of China (PRC) has published an article about the race riots in Calabria which calls migrant workers a ‘burden’ and further implies that they are responsible for crime in Italian cities. This is the Chinese Communist Party’s current line on worker solidarity.

Only naive fools and slippery opportunists actually contend that the PRC is ‘Marxist’ or ‘socialist’ in any sense. The PRC was a particularly grotesque deformed workers’ state at its inception and it has evolved into a capitalist military-industrial complex, with a few trappings of ‘Marxism-Leninism’. China is engaged in imperial adventures of its own in Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe and elsewhere, supplying weapons to brutal dictators and warlords and exploiting cheap sweatshop labour in exchange for oil and natural resources; while in China, the state security apparatus relentlessly harasses Africans students and workers. The image of Africans as burdensome criminals serves the Chinese Communist Party’s imperialist agenda, which differs only in detail from the British, French, Portuguese, Belgians and others that went before them. As the Americans like to say: Get some!