Today I attended a demonstration in London, organized by the Movement for Justice, calling for the closure of Yarl’s Wood and for a full public inquiry into the abuse of immigration detainees. I hope that the public and the media pay attention.
We heard harrowing stories from a number of women formerly detained at Yarl’s Wood. This is a detention centre where male guards regularly enter the rooms of women detainees unannounced, denying them basic privacy and dignity, and where sexual harassment of women detainees by guards is commonplace. The living conditions are substandard and the medical care grossly inadequate, and seriously ill detainees have been offered paracetamol instead of proper medical attention. Detainees are expected to do menial labour for far below minimum wage. Many of the people detained at Yarl’s Wood are people who have experienced trauma and horror in their home countries, and when they come to Britain, they are victimized a second time by the immigration enforcement system. It’s time that the British establishment started listening to their voices.
For more on the institutionalized abuse of detainees at Yarl’s Wood, see my post at The Feminist Hivemind, “The horrors of Yarl’s Wood: why immigration justice is a feminist issue”. I would also encourage you to support the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, and follow them on Twitter at @followMFJ.