Transnational day of action to close detention centres
We’ve had enough – End Detention Now!
7 May 2016 Assemble 1.30pm, British Library
96 Euston Rd NW1 2DB
On Saturday 7 May, simultaneous demonstrations across the UK and in several other countries (see below) are being held at eight detention centres to demand their closure. 30,000+ adults and children are imprisoned every year – often in an arbitrary and unlawful way and without a time limit. Since 1989, there have been 26 deaths in UK detention centres and since 2007, 2,230 people have tried to kill themselves.
One woman who was released last week from Yarl’s Wood IRC said:
“The worse thing is that you don’t know when you’ll be let out and you live each day with the terror of being sent back. I saw pregnant women who didn’t even have enough to eat. I saw mothers who hadn’t seen their children for months who were being driven mad by grief and guilt. I tried to help others and fought my case so after two months I got out. But I should never have been detained in the first place.”
Racism, rape and abuse from guards have come to light because people have staged hunger and work strikes, gone to the media and taken legal action. These protests by people inside have spurred others to take action – a 2000 strong demo was recently held outside Yarl’s Wood IRC.
The mass movement of people through Europe, the daily horrors of war in Syria and elsewhere that are forcing people to flee and the tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean have also fired up this movement. Even those who walk the corridors of power are taking notice – parliamentary committees, MPs and peers and the prison ombudsmen have all called for change.
For women and mothers in particular, our demand to end detention can’t be separated from demands to end destitution. The government just cut the money for the children of asylum seekers by 30%. Asylum claims are refused despite evidence of persecution and then all support is withdrawn. Many end up homeless, vulnerable to rape and other exploitation, being made to live off charity and food banks or forced into prostitution or begging.
The current Immigration Bill, if passed, will endanger asylum seekers further – see here.
London protest: Assemble at the British Library for a march – destination TBC.
Bring placards, banners and other visuals! At 3.15pm we will join the protesters who are going to Yarl's Wood IRC from Euston Square organised by Movement for Justice and Sisters Uncut.
Actions also take place in Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, United States. The day was called by Leeds No Borders and is widely supported. www.shutdowndetentioncentres.wordpress.com
Organised by All African Women's Group, Black Women's Rape Action project, Payday, Women Against Rape, Women of Colour in Global Women's Strike