Remi Joseph-Salisbury @RemiJS90 on the Yarl’s Wood Hunger Strike
Despite a staggering lack of media attention, there is an ongoing hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood detention centre. The strike, involving around 120 people, mainly women, seeks to draw attention to the inhumane practices of the UK Home Office and its detention centres.
The detainees are quite right to suggest that detention is ‘morally bankrupt’. This is a centre that has faced decades of complaints and accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct against its guards. The detention centre is “overwhelmed, not fit for purpose… [and operating] in a rogue manner”, the protesters point out. The privatized and target driven nature of detention perpetuate the inhumanity at the heart of the system.
The protesters also point out that the UK is ‘the only country in the EU with no time limit on detention’. As members of our network have recalled, to be detained indefinitely compounds what is already a deeply cruel and immoral situation.
That those inside are prepared to go on hunger strike should send alarm bells ringing across the country. Instead, we’ve seen a veritable media blackout and a flagrant disregard for the lives of those inside. The way in which the British state treats those it renders the ‘Other’, many of whom have a range of needs and vulnerabilities, offers a sad and troubling reflection of the state of our society. We must ask, what kind of nation this is – is this not barbarism?
Those inside need our support. As a society we must whole heartedly condemn immigration detention centres and the racist policies and border practices that underpin them. We must demand our media pay attention to those it too often ignores. We must support freedom of movement, and we must support, in any way possible, those fighting from inside Yarl’s Wood.
Read more about the protest here