Haringey Councillors last week voted unanimously to support the ‘These Wall Must Fall’ campaign calling for an end to immigration detention centres, such as Yarlswood, here in the UK.
Councillor Adam Jogee, Labour Member for Hornsey, who proposed the motion, said:
“It is shameful that the United Kingdom has one of the largest immigration detention systems in Europe. I call out this Tory government, the previous coalition that many on the benches were so supportive of and indeed the last Labour Government too.
“All political parties have to take responsibility for the fact that innocent people, many fleeing war and famine, have been waiting left waiting for months and years for the Home office to determine their future. I cannot begin to imagine how distressing it must be to be stuck in such limbo to face such hostility and such uncertainty.”
The motion as follows was passed by Full Council endorsing the campaign:
This council notes:
• That the UK has one of the largest immigration detention systems in Europe, and is the only country in the region without a statutory time limit on length of detention. This means people can be held for months or years at a time, with no certainty about when they may be released or deported.
• At any one time, there may be up to 3,500 people in the eight detention centres that exist across the UK.
• Every year around 30,000 people enter immigration detention centres in the UK. Half of those in detention centres have sought asylum in the UK, fleeing conflict and persecution; others include visitors, workers, family members and students.
• That of 16 families with children who were detained in “pre-departure accommodation” only two were removed and the remainder were granted bail.
• That the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Migration published a report following their inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK and concluded that the UK uses detention
“disproportionately and inappropriately” and that detention is “expensive, inefficient and unjust”.
• That the Home Office has agreed to an independent inquiry into abuse in detention facilities within the UK
This Council believes:
• Detention negatively impacts individuals’ physical and mental health wellbeing and there have been reports of widespread abuse in detention centres. These harms are especially serious, when it is children who are detained. The majority of people held in detention are eventually released, if they are able to access the right support.
• That the government must end immigration detention now.
• Haringey has a duty to speak out against detention practices that breach basic human rights and negatively impact the mental and physical well-being of individuals subjected to it.
• That the ‘hostile environment’ policies are designed to make the UK an unwelcoming place for migrants, and have been condemned as ‘rotten’ and ‘destroying the lives’ of ethnic minority communities in Britain by Tendayi Achiume, a United Nations special rapporteur on racism.
This Council resolves:
• To endorse the These Walls Must Fall Campaign
• To call on the government to implement the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into detention
• To endorse the joint view of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Migrant Workers Committee that “children should never be detained for reasons related to their or their parents’ migration status and states should expeditiously and completely cease or eradicate immigration detention of children” and that “any kind of child immigration detention should be forbidden by law and such prohibition should be fully implemented by practice.”
• To ask our local MPs to support the spirit of the motion, to continue to raise the matter in the House of Commons, and to support changes in current laws and procedures to introduce alternatives to detention
• To seek further support for the motion via the Local Government Association, and by encouraging other Councils in the UK to raise the issue.