21 Mar Treatment of ill and hunger striking detainees in UK IRCs
Today, 21 March 2018 marks a month since women detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre began their hunger strike against inadequate healthcare and other conditions they describe as inhumane, at the centre. On 23 February 2018 Dianne Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary, visited these women to hear their accounts as well as inspect the conditions at the centre. Thereafter she announced in Parliament that Government officials and contractors: Serco and G4S, paid for by the public, had publicly denied reports of the hunger strike, whilst in actual fact, had sent letters to the women stating:
‘The fact that you are currently refusing food and/or fluid: may, in fact, lead to your case being accelerated and your removal from the UK taking place sooner.”
She described the Government’s actions as misleading. Yarl’s Wood is one of several detention centres in the UK where those facing deportation and removal are held by the Government. All those who are detained deserve to be treated in a dignified manner, respectful of their rights as human beings and for the shortest time possible. More often than not, this is not the case. Like the women at Yarl’s Wood many face inadequate healthcare, mistreatment, violence and are detained for years. The 2017 BBC Brook House documentary brought this to the fore.