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Churches' network calls for cap on immigration detention

27 March 2015


Turmoil: Heathrow immigration removal centre, in Harmondsworth. Earlier this month, detainees began a series of rolling hunger-strikes in protest against conditions and threatened deportations. Strikes reportedly spread to other centres 

Turmoil: Heathrow immigration removal centre, in Harmondsworth. Earlier this month, detainees began a series of rolling hunger-strikes in...

VOTERS are being urged by the Churches' Refugee Network to demand that candidates sign up to a 28-day cap on immigration detention in the UK.

The network is urging voters to ask all General Election candidates to back the recommendations of an All Party Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the UK (News, 6 March), which demanded the end of the indefinite detention of migrants and asylum-seekers.

A statement released by the network said that many who came to the UK came from countries where decisions made by the British government had contributed to their plight.

"Successive governments in Britain have seen huge deterrent measures placed in the way of those who get here, creating detention centres little different from prisons, refusing opportunities to work and find dignity in work, providing meagre sustenance, and erecting a caseworking climate of disbelief, in which those seeking asylum must first prove their credibility, with scarce resources."

A conference held by the network last Friday also called for those seeking asylum to be given adequate support, and the right to work and have a dignified standard of living.

The keynote speaker, Dr Alexander Betts, director of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre, said that the legal framework for claiming asylum no longer fits a world in which there are so many survival migrants: while countries neighbouring Syria are giving hospitality to millions of refugees, fewer than 30,000 Syrian refugees have reached Europe.

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