Everyone should read this expose of Australian detention conditions by a former employee of Serco, the private company which runs Australia’s immigration detention facilities.

The same dehumanising and brutal culture prevails in Britain, where Serco runs Yarl’s Wood, detaining hundreds of women – many of them rape survivors, torture survivors, and sufferers from physical and mental illness – in appalling conditions, exposed to sexual and physical abuse by male guards and denied adequate health care. Most are asylum-seekers who have been through the hell of the asylum claims system, forced to relive their most traumatic experiences and treated as though they were liars. This is the true effect of anti-immigrant laws. Yesterday evening I attended a rally outside the Home Office in solidarity with the women detained at Yarl’s Wood, and had the privilege of listening to refugee women and their supporters speak out against the institutionalised abuse of women detainees.

The only solution to abuse in immigration detention is to end immigration detention; to end the iniquitous system in which some people are labelled “illegal” and treated as less-than-human by the state. No one’s civil rights should depend on the accident of their birth, and no one should be locked up for seeking sanctuary outside the country of their birth.

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